Amber Rowland is the new general manager for the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter, which serves the County of Santa Cruz and the Cities of Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley, Watsonville and Capitola. (Contributed)

The Board of Directors for the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter (SCCAS) has unanimously appointed Amber Rowland as the next general manager.

Rowland will oversee shelter, field and outreach operations with an annual budget of approximately $5 million and 30 employees.

With 17 years in the field of animal services, Rowland brings a wealth of experience as a shelter leader, developing programs, facilities, operations and policies to reach and sustain the city of Austin’s animal welfare goals. 

While serving as a program manager with Austin Animal Services, Rowland supervised staff and volunteers, planned and executed major operational changes and events, and served as the public face of the agency. She also has experience as an animal control officer and humane educator for Salt Lake County Animal Services. 

“I am so excited to get started working with the people and animals of Santa Cruz County,” Rowland said. “I am passionate about socially conscious sheltering practices and committed to working collaboratively with the Board, the staff and the community to maintain SCCAS’ position as one of the most respected shelters in California.” 

Rowland was approved by the Shelter Board on Feb. 13 following a nationwide and competitive search. Her first day was March 23, replacing interim general manager Jeff Gaffney.

“We sought someone who would build on our amazing internal staff and operations as well as strengthen our relationships with the community,” Board Chair Chris Clark said. “Amber has the right skills, experience and temperament to make her an excellent choice as our next director.” 

SCCAS is a publicly funded Joint Powers Authority serving the County of Santa Cruz, City of Santa Cruz, City of Scotts Valley, City of Watsonville and City of Capitola. It is an open admission shelter that welcomes every animal in need, with a goal to be a humane resource for the community by providing a safety net and second chance for local animals. 

With locations in Live Oak and Watsonville, SCCAS offers adoption services, low-cost spay/neuter programs available for all resident pets, 24-hour rescue services, and a variety of community programs such as Catio Tours, as well as operating the Benefits Shop.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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