Panel close to choosing director of Lubbock Animal Shelter

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A panel is close to making a decision on who will take the vacant director position at the Lubbock Animal Shelter.

That panel is made up of five people including the assistant city manager and the interim director of the shelter.

On Tuesday evening, the Lubbock Animal Shelter hosted a meet and greet for the two finalists.

April Moore works for Austin Animal Services, which is a no-kill shelter. She started working in field services 15 years ago and now works as the engagement manager.

"For the vast majority of my career, I worked in field services. In that role, I was with the center pre no-kill, and with the center during our transition to no-kill and certainly I am still with the center as we continue to sustain our no-kill status," Moore said. "As an animal protection supervisor, one of the things I was able to do and really play an integral role in was moving our program from one that was punitive based to one that was engagement based."

The engagement based process promoted pet retention and empowered community members to resolve animal issues, she said. She also worked to reposition the shelter as a resource.

"We are partners with the community animal-related issues," Moore said.

In February, the KCBD NewsChannel 11 Investigates Team requested data that showed Lubbock had one of the highest kill-rates in the state.

KCBD has continued to follow the changes made at the shelter, and Moore said she has too.

"I've been very interested in Lubbock, and I've been following their progression over the past few months. It's rather inspiring actually to see the progression they've made in such a short amount of time," Moore said.

Some of those changes were implemented by Steve Greene, who is also a candidate for the director position.

Greene has worked at the Lubbock Animal Shelter for five years and currently works as the interim field supervisor and lead officer.

"I kind of have done every role here," Greene said.

He said the changes in policies and programs over the past few months have made an incredible difference.

"Our save rate is astounding, this month, it is going to be 98 percent" Greene said.

"We've changed everything internally that we can. Now, it's going to be the community having to get on board with us. I want Lubbock to be the example. Right now, everyone points to Austin as the best in the nation. I want Lubbock to be the best in the nation," Greene said.

Camelia Wierzba is one of the community members who attended Tuesday's meet and greet.

Wierzba said she wanted to attend the event so she could interview the candidates herself and see if they meet her list of qualifications.

"Complete transparency. The people need to know they are equal partners, trusted and respected partners. Inclusiveness, accountability and 100% determination to make it work to be no kill," Wierzba.

Wierzba is familiar with both of the candidates.

She heard Moore speak at the American Pets Alive! conference in Austin earlier this year.

"April was one of the keys speakers there. She was probably one of the most instrumental in turning Austin around," Wierzba said.

Greene also attended that conference.

"It was a life changing event for me. I had a lot of ideas and thoughts I wanted to implement and when I went to Austin that reinforced those beliefs and those ideas," Greene said.

Assistant City Manager Bill Howerton said he spoke with community members on Tuesday to get their input on the candidates.

He said he will take their opinions back to the panel to discuss before they make the hire.

Howerton said he hopes they can make a decision within the next two weeks and take that recommendation to the city manager for approval.

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