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Animal shelter director resigns

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POLSON — Mission Valley Animal shelter is operating without the leadership of an executive director. Former director Filip Panusz’ last day at the shelter was Oct. 15. He started working as shelter director in April 2017.

Operations manager Steve Reynolds said the team of kennel attendants and animal caregivers is well established. The employees are able to run the shelter without guidance from a director.

MVAS posted a message from Panusz on their Facebook page until Oct. 16, which was the day after Panusz left the shelter.

“The past 18 months have been the most inspiring and touching time of my life, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to have saved and touched so many lives,” Panusz wrote of his time as head of the shelter. He stated that he made the decision to resign with “a very heavy heart.”

During his time at the shelter, Panusz planned and fundraised for a significant expansion of the dog area of the shelter. MVAS Board of Directors President Russ Cruickshanks credited the community’s support for funding the recent expansion. Panusz also implemented a number of innovative additions to the shelter’s operations, including establishing the advisory council for Community Canines and planning the first and second annual “Puppy Party” fundraisers.

Cruickshanks said the board is “mulling over” what kind of staff member would be best to fill the role that Panusz performed. “We’re thinking about what the right job description might be,” Cruickshanks said. “It probably won’t be the same role as the executive director previously.”

He said the board has considered hiring someone to manage fundraising, grant writing and the online presence of the animal shelter as an alternative to a full-fledged executive director.

Cruickshanks said the shelter would begin the hiring process for a new member of the MVAS team in 2019. He said the shelter is operating smoothly in the absence of a director. He added that the shelter’s greatest challenge is the large number of cats awaiting adoption at the shelter. Those interested in adopting or volunteering at MVAS can reach the shelter at 406-883-5312. 


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