The board of Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary is setting a new direction.
In a statement, the board said it underestimated the challenges of starting a new no-kill shelter in Sussex County.
“It also became clear that our needs had changed, and our director did not have the all of the skills we needed to manage our fast-evolving operation,” the statement said.
“Unfortunately, she did not move quickly enough to fill key staff positions which resulted in performance below the standard of service we had set for ourselves.”
Hal Dukes of Safe Haven's board said the board hasn't taken any steps yet to begin searching for a new director.
The board removed Anne Gryczon last week after five years of service. Safe Haven Director of Medical Operations Cindy Woods is serving as acting director as the board searches for new leadership.
“We definitely plan to conduct a national search for a new executive director, and we plan to add additional members to the board,” said Rick Kirchhoff of the Safe Haven board. “We have not yet settled all of the details.”
In response to charges that Safe Haven dogs housed at another kennel were losing weight, Gryczon said her staff took action to test them for worms and treat them.
“The dogs tested positive for whipworms, hence the rapid weight loss,” she said.
Gryczon said the dogs were taken to Safe Haven for treatment, and all the dogs in the kennels were being de-wormed again.
Gryczon said 80 to 95 dogs are boarded at private kennels and 85 to 95 dogs are housed at Safe Haven.
She said adoptions, which had been slow, were starting to increase.
Gryczon said her achievements at Safe Haven included getting the organization through a lengthy site-planning and construction phase. She also worked with staff to host off-site adoption events every weekend.
“I partnered closely with PetSmart to set up the adoption center at the new store to open in Millsboro in the spring,” she said.
The board has set new goals and hopes a new director and key staff members will help the shelter become a model no-kill facility.
“As we commence our search for new executive leadership, the board wishes to emphatically reaffirm our commitment to the no-kill ethic,” the statement says. “We will also look for opportunities to partner with animal-rescue organizations and other shelters. For the sake of the animals, we need to move beyond internecine warfare.”
For more information, go to www.safehavende.org.