San Diego Humane Society Announces First Vice President of Behavior Programs
We're happy to announce our first-ever Vice President of Behavior Programs, with a goal of expanding our impact as a regional and national behavior and training resource. Amanda Kowalski, MS, CPDT-KA, CAWA, has specialized in behavioral care in shelters for more than 13 years and will be entrusted with leading the way in changing lives for thousands of animals who need behavior intervention to safely and soundly enter new homes — and stay with the families who love them.
“We know that behavior and medical rehabilitation are both critical elements in allowing us to not just stay at zero euthanasia of healthy and treatable shelter animals, but to ensure we’re doing all we can to provide a second chance to some of the most challenging and deserving animals we take in,” said Gary Weitzman, president and CEO of San Diego Humane Society. “We are excited that Amanda has accepted this opportunity to lead her talented team in setting a national standard of excellence for behavior and training in a shelter environment, thereby continuing to expand our behavior programs and save even more lives.”
For the past five years, Kowalski has been leading our Behavior Center, which has helped more than 4,000 shelter animals — who otherwise would have been out of options — since its beginning in 2013. Kowalski also played a crucial role in designing the new home of the Behavior Center, which opened in 2019 as the first of its kind in California. Her dedication to the animals and passion for research, education and collaboration led to her promotion as Vice President of Behavior Programs.
“Our vision is to expand the impact of our Behavior and Training program by enhancing critical behavior support to animals, pet owners and shelters locally and across the country,” said Kowalski. “If we can share what we have learned not just here locally, but nationally, we can help more animals.”
While our talented Behavior staff and volunteers will continue to lead its internal efforts to help the thousands of animals the organization takes in each year, the Behavior and Training program will begin a journey to:
- Expand and enhance resources to treat animals in care at San Diego Humane Society, giving more shelter animals a second chance;
- Create resources for regional shelter and rescue partners, helping other organizations save lives;
- Expand community Behavior and Training services so that these resources are accessible to more animals and pet owners in need;
- Conduct applied behavior research and share the results with shelters nationally;
- Develop and launch the Behavior Center Academy to train shelter behavior professionals within the organization and around the country.
Amanda Kowalski, MS, CPDT-KA, CAWA, holds a master’s degree in Animals and Public Policy from the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. She is a certified animal welfare administrator (CAWA) through the Association for Animal Welfare Advancement, a Fear Free Certified Professional Trainer, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) and the Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Amanda also consults with other shelters and rescues on creating and implementing behavior programs that support their animals and communities, and participates in national collaboration efforts through the Human Animal Support Services and ASPCA Learning Lab. When she is not working, Amanda loves spending time baking, hiking or at the dog beach with her 5-year-old terrier mix, Mozart. Mozart was rescued from a hoarding case and now helps to socialize other puppies who need behavior intervention!
Published: February 7, 2022