HAC staff

Henderson Animal Center has many new faces and a new director following some new changes by City Manager Jay Abercrombie. HAC staff pictured, from left, Sydney Bradley, Ashlei Owens, director Charissa Pool, full time employee Elizabeth Thomas, Kaitlyn Arnold and Sandra Yandel.


There are five new faces now at the Henderson Animal Center along with a familiar face as the new director.

City manager, Jay Abercrombie, announced at the July 9 City Council meeting that the new director of HAC would be Charissa Pool. 

“We are excited about the changes made to this point with our animal center,” Abercrombie said. “Charissa Pool has been a great asset to our center and an outstanding liaison between the volunteer groups, rescue groups and adoption homes.”

Pool has worked at HAC for four years and took time to learns the ins and outs of the center. 

“It was a blessing that I got chosen,” Pool said. “I’m really excited, I feel like all my roads have lead here and I feel like this is where I need to be. I think that all the years of training with animals and understanding every aspect of the job, I feel like I’m now where I need to be.”

“It’s exciting to be able to see positive changes coming around and be able to facilitate that,” Pool said. “Having the knowledge of every aspect of this job has really helped me to lead my staff in the direction they need to go, to make everything go efficiently and to get all these babies out as quick as possible. Having the knowledge there helps tremendously because I know how every little piece works and then I’m stepping into some new unknown areas.”

In the past, the center has had three full time employees and now the center has two full time and four part-time.

“We would not be able to sustain the numbers of animals we have here without at least that many employees, so that has helped to also allow us to have more animals,” Pool said. 

In the past, the number of dogs accepted were always full but cats are now being maximized now, too.” 

“I have five people back there now which allows us to get done in a timely fashion in the mornings, normally two to three hours,” Pool said. “Without them we would be cleaning all day.” 

Keeping the center clean is a huge priority for the health of the dogs and full clean up processes take place twice a day with spot cleaning through out the day. In the past the three employees would be cleaning all day between going out on calls, doing adoptions and anything else needed.

When Abercrombie started as City Manager, one of main priorities was the animal center and fixing the problems the community had with it. 

“More changes are to come soon that will help the City make it’s goal of a “no kill” shelter,” Abercrombie said. “I’m always impressed with the Henderson community and its spirit towards animals.”

Another change Abercrombie made was adding four part time employees to be kennel techs and hire one full time to help Pool. He also moved former director Becky Jeffus from the center to the police department, where she is now the Animal Protection Officer. 

HAC has continued to grow its partnership with Rusk County Pets Alive to help get sick animals out of the center and to minimize the number of animals euthanized.

As always, the center is need of donations such as: Clorox Bleach, Dawn dish soap, Purina Kitten and Puppy Chow, Pedigree Puppy chow, paper towels, blankets, scrub brushes, toys and much more. 

Those looking to do volunteer work should reach out to Rusk County Pets Alive to see where help is needed.

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