Kim Janzen said she’s always had a passion for animals and a calling to help them. Now she leads an organization celebrating 50 years of doing just that.
Janzen began as a volunteer at the Kansas Humane Society. She would later become its CEO before moving to North Carolina to become president and CEO of the SPCA of Wake County four years ago.
Now the SPCA of Wake County is celebrating 50 years of life-saving service appropriately with puppies, kittens and cake on Wednesday, with help from the first daughter of North Carolina, Hilary Cooper, and the first dog, Ben. To watch the celebration, go to Facebook.com/spcawake to see a livestream beginning at 10 a.m.
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The SPCA of Wake County, at 200 Petfinder Lane in Raleigh, is the longest running animal shelter and rescue in the Triangle, according to spokeswoman Tara Lynn.
“For us it is not as much of a celebration of the SPCA of Wake County as it is our entire community,” Janzen said. “No organization makes progress alone, and everything the SPCA has accomplished in the last 50 years for animals and for people has been because of the efforts of so many.”
The SPCA has helped rescue and find homes for more than 320,000 animals in its 50 years, Janzen said, and it’s looking forward to doing even more in the next 50.
“It’s so exciting to think about the impact not only on the animals we were able to save but on the people who needed our services,” Janzen said.
It’s not just happy beginnings for pets who find their families that the SPCA counts among its accomplishments.
“It’s the families these pets found homes with, how that changed their lives,” Janzen said. “Or cutting down on the number of unwanted and homeless pets through our spay and neuter programs.”
The SPCA changed its mission statement earlier this year to reflect its goals and new focus on serving both pets and people.
“To transform the lives of pets and people through compassion, care, education and adoption,” Janzen recited. “We really wanted it to encompass the full gamut of what we’re able to provide for our community and what we’re able to accomplish together.”
The 50-year mark is an accomplishment to celebrate, but it’s also a time to reflect.
“We spend so much time focused on the animals right in front of us,” Janzen said. “What this animal needs, what’s going to happen, what about the next 15 coming in, what about those that need to get adopted? But sometimes we need to take a step back, take a moment to celebrate the progress we’ve made for animals in our community.
“It’s such a great feeling to think about all those lives saved and how much less suffering there is. And how many happy pets and happy families there are.”
As the SPCA looks to its next 50 years, Janzen said she’s excited about what it has in store. The SPCA plans to lend a hand to meet the needs of communities outside Wake, with expanded spay and neuter programs along with the pet retention program, community cat program and more.
“The next 50 years will be a time of growth and expansion and looking at expanding our service not only in Wake County but in surrounding counties as well,” she said. “We’ve made great progress in Wake, but some of the rural counties around Wake are very poorly resourced and we want to play a role.”
For more information on the SPCA of Wake County or to donate, go to spcawake.org or find the SPCA of Wake County on social media.