New county an­i­mal ser­vices di­rec­tor se­lected

‘My real pas­sion is an­i­mal wel­fare’

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By CH­ERYL MATTIX

cmat­tix@ce­cil­whig.com

— County of­fi­cials an­nounced they have hired the for­mer Bal­ti­more County An­i­mal Ser­vices shel­ter di­rec­tor to as­sume the role of di­rec­tor of an­i­mal ser­vices in Ce­cil County ef­fec­tive May 9.

Abigail Light­ning-Bing­ham said Fri­day that she is al­ready look­ing for­ward to her new job.

She was se­lected for the

ELKTON

new po­si­tion from a field of about a dozen ap­pli­cants, ac­cord­ing to county staff.

“I’m elated to join this dy­namic team as we em­bark on de­vel­op­ing a pro­gres­sive an­i­mal shel­ter op­er­a­tion,” Light­ning-Bing­ham said Fri­day af­ter the county an­nounced its de­ci­sion to hire her.

Ligh­t­in­ing-Bing­ham has 19 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in an­i­mal care ser­vices, in­clud­ing her most re­cent po­si­tion as di­rec­tor of shel­ter oper­a­tions for Bal­ti­more County An­i­mal Ser­vices where she started last July. Prior to that, she served as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Oahu So­ci­ety for the Pre­ven­tion of Cru­elty to An­i­mals in Kapolei, Hawaii, and an­i­mal con­trol of­fi­cer/man­ager for the city of Col­lege Park in Mary­land.

She has a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in crim­i­nal jus­tice with a con­cen­tra­tion in an­i­mal law from the University of Mis­souri. She grew up in the Dun­dalk area of Bal­ti­more County and cur­rently lives in Har­ford County.

She will be em­ployed in the new an­i­mal care and con­trol di­vi­sion within the Ce­cil County Depart­ment of Com­mu­nity Ser­vices led by Di­rec­tor David Tro­lio. This marks the first time the county has not hired a pri­vate con­trac­tor to op­er­ate an­i­mal con­trol ser vices, but opted to make it a coun­ty­op­er­ated func­tion.

“We are ex­cited to start this new chap­ter of an­i­mal ser­vices in Ce­cil County and Abigail brings an infusion of en­ergy and pas­sion to the ini­tia­tive,” Tro­lio said.

“I’m con­fi­dent in her and in the fu­ture of this new pro­gram,” County Ex­ec­u­tive Tari Moore added. “She has a wealth of knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence that will make her a key player in the de­vel­op­ment of this di­vi­sion.”

As the new di­rec­tor of a new pro­gram for Ce­cil County gov­ern­ment, Light­ningBing­ham will be in­volved in pre­par­ing the newly-pur­chased fa­cil­ity, home to the for­mer SPCA of Ce­cil County on a 12-acre site south of Ch­e­sa­peake City on Route

213, for its new mis­sion.

Tro­lio said Light­ningBing­ham will work closely with the County Depart­ment of Fa­cil­i­ties Man­age­ment to out­fit the build­ing and she’ll di­rectly be in­volved in con­tract­ing with a vet­eri­nar­ian, hir­ing and train­ing staff, for­mal­iz­ing op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dures, do­ing com­mu­nity out­reach and ed­u­ca­tion, and

build­ing re­la­tion­ships with res­cues and vol­un­teer-based foster pro­grams.

Light­ning-Bing­ham will be con­duct­ing in­ter­views of po­ten­tial adopters and cre­ate and man­age a shel­ter vol­un­teer pro­gram af­ter the fa­cil­ity opens July 1. She will also be ex­pected to eval­u­ate each an­i­mal for adopt­abil­ity and net­work with res­cue groups, cre­ate adop­tion mar­ket­ing cam­paigns and ex­pand pre­ven­tion ef­forts in the com­mu­nity.

“I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward

to this op­por­tu­nity,” Light­ning-Bing­ham said. “It’s a great lo­ca­tion with so many op­tions for the an­i­mals.”

“My real pas­sion is an­i­mal wel­fare,” she added. “My mis­sion is to in­spire com­mu­nity sup­port as we work to achieve a ‘no-kill phi­los­o­phy’ and im­ple­ment pro­grams to pro­mote and pro­tect the hu­man-an­i­mal bond. This is an ex­cit­ing time for ev­ery­one and I’m ea­ger to de­vote my ex­per­tise and pas­sion to the peo­ple and an­i­mals of Ce­cil

County.”

Moore said that she be­lieved a Light­ning-Bing­ham was the right fit to build upon the county’s ser­vices.

“We rec­og­nize the im­por­tant role that an­i­mal care and safety plays in the lives of Ce­cil’s cit­i­zens and look for­ward to pro­vid­ing trans­parency, ac­count­abil­ity and pos­i­tive pre­ven­tion and in­ter­ven­tion pro­grams in new and cre­ative ways,” Moore said.

LIGHT­NINGBING­HAM

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