Animal-welfare activist joins Humane Society

November 26, 2008
The Humane Society of Indianapolis has appointed Christine Jeschke, an animal-welfare activist and a former opponent of the organization, as director of operations.

Jeschke has served on the board of Move to Act, which fought the Humane Society in court over its 2003 plan to use the Mary Powell Crume Trust as collateral against a $2.3 million line of credit.

A judge eventually allowed the Humane Society to go ahead with its borrowing plan, but Move to Act continued to play watchdog, devoting a section of its Web site to Humane Society practices, including the number of animals it euthanized.

Executive Director John Aleshire said he hired Jeschke because of her experience helping set up low-cost spay/neuter clinics - something the Humane Society plans to do at its Michigan Road location in the first quarter of 2009.

"I hope this will send a message to the community about how serious we are," Aleshire said.

Jeschke was appointed to the Humane Society's board of directors this fall. Announcing her hiring yesterday, Aleshire said she would immediately step down from her board role.

Jeschke's exact start date hasn't been determined. Jeschke, who is vice president of human resources at Liquid Transport Corp., a local chemical transportation company, was not immediately available for comment this morning.

Jeschke is president of Spay-Neuter Services of Indiana, Inc., a not-for-profit that sponsors low-cost service. She also has volunteered with the Alliance for Responsible Pet Ownership and Indy Pit Crew.

The cash-strapped Humane Society will pay Jeschke $77,000 a year. Aleshire, who has cut several positions since taking over in September, said he'll accommodate her salary on the payroll by eliminating a different job in shelter administration, and through a pay cut and reduction in duties for Dr. Janet Gray, the organization's longtime veterinarian.

Aleshire said his goal is to free Gray of administrative work, in keeping with shelter practices across the country. "It's surprising to the public how complex shelter management is," he said. "To get the right people to do the right job is sometimes a bit of a juggling act."

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