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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Maui Humane Society boss sees potential

Associated Press

PU'UNENE, Maui — The new executive director of the Maui Humane Society says he's looking forward to working with his staff in Hawai'i as he also tries to reach out to the community to win support for the organization that is dealing with a falloff in financial backing.

Joseph J. Olsen, who came to Maui from upstate New York, where he worked with the Society to Prevent Cruelty to Animals, said he's "impressed by the extreme amount of growth potential within the organization, and the great foundation already established in a highly dedicated and knowledgeable staff."

Olsen, 49, takes over for Keith Pocock, who resigned in August, saying he hadn't been able to generate the kind of financing he would have liked.

For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2003, the agency's budget is about $1.7 million, Pocock said, adding that the agency also fell short at its biggest fund-raiser of the year in June, garnering $23,000, half of what it netted the year before.

Pocock said donations have been affected both by the economic downturn that followed Sept. 11 and a negative public reaction to the $48,000 rescue effort by the Hawaiian Humane Society on O'ahu of a dog stranded at sea.

Olsen, who has been on the job since Nov. 20, said despite the financial downturn, he has been able to set goals such as getting more information out about the humane society's many roles.

Other goals are to expand efforts to have owners spay and neuter their pets, and to increase adoptions of animals brought into the shelter.