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Kitsap Humane Society hires new executive director
Sean Compton isn't afraid to get his hands dirty.
The new Kitsap Humane Society executive director regularly walks dogs, pets cats and even cleans up dog poop at the Silverdale facility.
"Anything we can do to help the animals," he said.
Compton relocated from Pittsburgh to become the newest KHS executive director in May. The 33-year-old previously worked as the operations director of Animal Friends, the largest no-kill animal shelter in Pennsylvania.
"I'm certainly thrilled to be here," Compton said. "I think there's much more here than in my previous position."
Compton left an electrical computer engineering career, which included a stint at NASA, to work with animals. He first became a veterinary technician and worked his way up at the Pittsburgh animal shelter.
"I left everything behind to work with animals," he said. "I wouldn't go back to the other job."
Compton, who now calls Bainbridge Island home, never had pets growing up and his wife, Aimee, is responsible for his love of animals. The couple now has six dogs, four cats and two turtles.
Compton said KHS was highly recommended by one of his mentors, so he did a little research on the organization and felt he'd be a great fit.
"I was so interested in the company, I spent my last dollars to come out here for an interview," he said. "I was looking to find an open-door shelter where I could really make an impact."
The KHS staff and community won him over and he packed up his family and belongings to move to the Pacific Northwest.
"These guys have been doing such great things even before I got here," he said. "These guys were truly awake and trying to make a difference. That's what I was hoping for."
Compton said KHS has had a "tough history" with executive directors and he now has an open door policy and encourages his staff to speak with him whenever necessary.
"We've had some years of bad management and change is difficult for everybody," he said.
Compton said he hopes KHS will one day be called a no-kill shelter, meaning only 6 percent of the shelter's animals are euthanized each year. KHS currently euthanizes 12 percent of its animals.
"I think we're well on our way to achieving that in a few short years," he said.
Compton and the KHS staff are working on a new mission statement and vision for the organization. He also said county budget cuts may affect the animal shelter in the near future.
"I believe we're in a bit of danger in the next three to five years," he said. "In three to five years, you're going to see a completely different humane society."
Compton said KHS staff members now must walk dogs and pet cats every day as part of their duties. He also said more volunteers are needed to socialize the animals.
"I don't think the shelter will solve all of our animal problems, but partnering with the community will certainly help," he said. "Part of our reinvention is focusing on the positive life changes we can provide to humans and animals."