Janet Adrian Smith brings years of experience as former Associate Director with the Central Nebraska Humane Society with her, and she previously taught in Hannibal schools from 1987 to 1992.

The NEMO Humane Society’s (NEMOHS) newly-appointed executive director is setting her plans in motion to expand community interaction and seek a new facility.

Janet Adrian Smith brings years of experience as former Associate Director with the Central Nebraska Humane Society with her, and she previously taught in Hannibal schools from 1987 to 1992. She said she was happy to come home — and participate in community outreach programs with local schools and organizations as she pursues new ways to make the shelter the best place possible for the animals, staff members and community. Community donations and grants are the sole source of the shelter’s funding — previous grant writer Drex Rothweiler resigned in June amid claims of problems with previous bookkeeping practices and the need for a financial audit.

Smith said Jessie Dryden is on board as a “very aggressive” new grant writer for the organization — and Smith plans to expand the shelter in various ways through future grants and donations.

“I think that she’s (Dryden) going to be a big asset, because there’s a lot of grant money available, and you just have to know how to write the grant — and that’s an art form,” Smith said.

Community donations were “going to be used in the spirit in which they gave it,” Smith said. She looks forward to future opportunities to interact with staff and students at local schools — including programs where students can read stories to visiting animals. She also mentioned programs to visit with residents at rest homes, hosting birthday parties and inviting Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to come visit for tours and earn badges.

Smith said a new facility would be necessary to provide the space to set all her plans in motion and construct indoor areas for the dogs and private areas for the cats. She stressed that the animals’ safety and comfort are top priorities, but she won’t stop looking for ways to assist staff members and bolster community involvement.

Smith said her past experience with the Central Nebraska Humane Society offered numerous chances to visit other shelters, attend conferences and work with government entities on issues pertaining to animal rescue and shelters — and she said she’s confident those experiences will help her bolster the facility and services provided through NEMOHS. She said she is eager to receive input from staff members and strengthen the connection between NEMOHS and the community along the way.

“We can’t do it alone, and we need the community, we need their support — not necessarily just financial, but in every aspect,” Smith said. “This is their shelter, and I just want to make it a better one.”

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com