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County Humane Society executive director resigns in fifth month on job

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HSWC Executive Director Alyssa Ellison will leave her position on August 7. Courtesy Photo

The week prior to public notice of this year’s cancellation of the Humane Society of Warren County’s (HSWC) largest fundraising event, the Waggin for Dragons boat race on the Shenandoah River, Humane Society Executive Director Alyssa Ellison tendered her resignation.

Ellison was hired February 27, 2018, to replace Lavenda Denny, who took a job as the Executive Director for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) of Winchester, Frederick & Clarke Counties. Under Denney’s leadership, the Humane Society’s Julia Wagner Animal Shelter achieved “No Kill” status in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Ellison had hoped to carry on that legacy.

But on Friday, July 13, HSWC Board of Directors President Ellen Aders said, “I can confirm that Alyssa Ellison gave her resignation to the board last week. Her final day with the HSWC will be August 7, 2018. She was NOT asked to resign and did so of her own choosing.”

Aders said, who commutes daily from Spotsylvania County, cited “personal reasons” as contributing to her decision to resign after just over four months on the job.

Ellison came to the Warren County Humane Society from a job in Animal Control with the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office. Prior to that Ellison acted as the shelter manager for the Washington Humane Society in Washington, D.C. In her job with the Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office Ellison was a member of the Virginia Animal Fighting Task Force that targeted for arrest and prosecution people operating dog and rooster fighting rings.

If not here, hopefully Ellison will revisit her commitment to animal safety in another venue.

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