The Humane Rescue Alliance of Washington, DC, and St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center of Madison, announced that the organizations are merging to create the first regional, community-based, multi-state animal welfare organization in the nation.
The combined group will provide direct rescue and care of animals in need, cruelty investigations and local animal control services, robust regional community support programs that allow pets to stay with their families, and a premier transport program that invests in partner communities to solve pet overpopulation sustainably and nationwide. The merger will leverage and export the strengths of its founding organizations, which rest on the professional competence of their staffs and the depths of their roots in their communities.
Lisa LaFontaine, President and CEO of the Humane Rescue Alliance and a nationally-recognized leader in animal welfare, will lead the combined organization as President and CEO.
“By unifying two industry-leading organizations, we are building an alliance that can tackle the systemic challenges facing animals in our region and beyond, with the goal of saving more lives,” said LaFontaine.
In 2016, LaFontaine oversaw the merger of the Washington Humane Society and Washington Animal Rescue League, resulting in the formation of the Humane Rescue Alliance – the first unified organization in a major urban area to provide all the animal welfare programs and services to the community.
“The merger of WHS and WARL was never a final destination. Rather, it was an expression of the imperative that animal welfare organizations must work more collaboratively, and rather than compete, they should share a sense of responsibility for the overall population of vulnerable animals,” LaFontaine added. “The future of animal welfare is about cooperation, consolidation, a deepening of community support, and the sensible balancing of resources and animal populations between partnering animal welfare groups.”
St. Hubert’s WayStation program has emerged as a best-in-class animal transport program, creating unprecedented collaboration among shelter organizations to address animal population disparities between communities, and to provide a critical lifeline in times of natural and manmade disasters. The combined organization will invest further in the WayStation program and will continue to connect communities that have extra capacity for placing and caring for homeless animals with communities where animal overpopulation remains a significant problem. The WayStation program is a vehicle for animal welfare groups to increase their collective capacity to address the challenges facing people and animals in their respective communities.
According to LaFontaine, “By enriching the organizations on both ends of animal transports, we can weave a safety net for animals in every corner of the country. Today is a happy day for HRA, St. Hubert’s, and our 83 partner organizations throughout the nation.”
The merger was initiated by conversations between LaFontaine and Heather Cammisa, the long-time CEO of St. Hubert’s whose vision and dedication enabled the organization to become a regional powerhouse. It has been approved by unanimous votes of both the HRA and St. Hubert’s boards of directors, and the organizations have been working at the leadership level for the past several months to lay the groundwork for a smooth and efficient combination.