Stray Hearts Newsletter

Stray Hearts Newsletter

 April 2017

I want to introduce myself to the supporters, donors, volunteers, and staff of Stray Hearts Animal Shelter (SHAS). My name is Jennifer Gfeller and, as of April 24th, 2017, I will be the new Executive Director for the organization.

I am so happy to be here. My entire career has been spent in the animal welfare field. For the past three years, I was the Animal Shelter Director for Junction City, Kansas. Before that, I spent three years as a trainer at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, UT. I am a graduate of the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior and hold a Bachelor's Degree from Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS in Animal Science and Industry.

The 24th cannot come soon enough. I am so anxious to get started. Diane Padoven, the acting Executive Director for the past nine months, laughingly describes her tenure at Stray Hearts this way. "We were the MASH unit who stabilized the patient. Now we are ready for the surgeon to take over!" What a compliment to me. But in those nine months they accomplished the following:

  • On August 15th, 2016, the shelter housed 115 dogs (31 over capacity) and 80 cats (30 over ideal). We have averaged 72 dogs and 20 cats since October 1st, 2016.
  • In August 2016 our average Length of Stay (LOS) for our animals was 62.2 days. From September 2016-March 2017 the average LOS was 31.7 days
  • Even more exciting; from Dec 2016 through today, LOS was just 17.8 days.
  • Our current Live Release Rate is 94%, (3% from euthanasia)
  • September-March- Adoptions=572, Transfers=391, Return to Owners=127
  • Every animal in the shelter has beenSpayed or Neutered
  • Animals are no longer allowed to leave the shelter without being altered, and we have caught up with the over 350 animals in the old Foster-to-Adopt Program.
This is such a great start. As I create my initial six-month goals, the main focus will be to continue to shorten the average length of stay for the animals in our care.  This will be accomplished by transporting animals to no-kill rescues, developing a foster care program and reaching a wider adoption audience.

But I won't be successful without your help. A major priority for me must be fundraising. I have learned that the Stray Hearts budget is $56k per month. And the impressive results from the most recent Radiothon campaign ($75k) in reality only equals two months of operating income (including the government contract fees.) We have two months before our next major fundraiser and our cash flow is running low. There is so much that I want to do, so many ideas I have that I want to implement.

It is only through your generous gifts that Stray Hearts Animal Shelter is able to be there for the lost, abandoned & unwanted animals of Taos.

Please, if you possibly can, send a gift for the animals today and give me the resources necessary to do my job.

We’ll put your gift to work right away saving innocent lives and ensuring the shelter operates with excellence—that’s my promise!

We remain grateful for all of your support and accept donations whichever way is most convenient for you: you may click here to use the Paypal link on the home page of; phone our office at (575) 758-2981 with a credit card; mail a check made out to Stray Hearts Animal Shelter at PO Box 622, Taos, New Mexico 87571; or through your company employees' community giving program.

Thank you in advance for your generosity for the animals! I hope to meet you very, very soon.
Jennifer Gfeller