Humane Society of Warren County has new executive director

Alyssa Ellison stands in front of the Humane Society of Warren County's dog mural. Ellison has announced her departure from the executive director's job after six months. Max Lee/Daily

FRONT ROYAL — The Humane Society of Warren County has a new executive director.

Alyssa Ellison officially started working as the executive director on Feb. 19. , replacing  Levenda Denney, who left the organization to serve as executive director for the Winchester SPCA.

Ellison, who has worked in a variety of roles in animal shelters and as an animal control deputy, said she took the role from law enforcement because she wanted to get back into working at an animal shelter.

“Sheltering has my heart; it always has, since the day I’ve started,” she said, adding that the Warren County shelter, in particular, stood out to her.

“This, especially this humane society, has done some really amazing things in the last couple of years,” Ellison said. “Becoming no-kill and being able to put out the live-release rate that they do in the short amount of time that they’ve accomplished it is nothing short of amazing.”

Ellison said that her time in law enforcement would benefit the shelter because a lot of the work in animal control revolves around engaging with people in the community.

“There’s a lot of customer service in law enforcement, lots of management trainings, dealing with the public, lots of selling of yourself and soliciting of donations, which is something all nonprofits desperately need,” Ellison said.

In her role as executive director, she said she sees the organization continuing much of the operations that it did under Denney’s tenure. While Denney was executive director, the shelter became a no-kill shelter.

“It’s just continuing with what they’ve already started,” Ellison said.

Ellison does see herself working to improve the shelter’s relationship with community members and its education efforts. She said that she is  working on compiling a list of nearby pet-friendly apartments, in an effort to help people be able to keep their pets.

“We have great community support, but I think it could be even better,” Ellison said. “So I would like to involve our community more in what we do here. Other than that, they’ve been doing a great job.”

And like all nonprofit directors, Ellison is looking to keep increasing the funding of the shelter, so the organization can continue to run its trap, neuter, return program and programs the shelter runs for low-income residents to help them pay for the cost of owning their pets.