The Brunswick-based animal welfare organization Midcoast Humane announced Wednesday that Jess Townsend has been appointed the temporary executive director following the resignation of former president Mary Sundeen.

The new leadership comes at a time where Midcoast Humane prepares to move its Brunswick headquarters to a 24,000-square-foot facility on Industrial Parkway. According to the release, the organization is planning to move once renovations are complete in the second quarter of 2022.

According to Midcoast Humane Marketing & Communications Director Kate Griffith, Sundeen resigned for personal reasons on Friday afternoon. Sundeen was appointed in 2019, and was the organization’s first president since operations began in 1950.

Midcoast Humane provides animal welfare services to 40 municipalities in the state of Maine.

“All of us at Midcoast Humane see an opportunity to improve and enhance the lives of pets and people in the communities we serve, and are thrilled to have Jess lead us in this exciting stage of growth,” said Midcoast Humane Board of Directors Chairperson Robert Jones in the release. “The new facility will allow us to implement a plan of strategic growth in programming and outreach, all while advancing the quality of care for homeless animals and pet owners in need. The organization is primed for tremendous progress, and with Jess at the helm, there is no doubt that Midcoast Humane will achieve remarkable heights.”

In August 2020, The Times Record reported that the new $2.2 million facility covers about 4,000 more square feet than the current location including a larger play yard and agility yard.

Midcoast Humane officials plan to convert a former call center at 5 Industrial Parkway into a new shelter and office space. Hannah LaClaire / The Times Record

According to the release, Townsend has worked in animal welfare for 15 years and has significant experience in nonprofit management. Her previous work experience includes positions at the Maryland SPCA, the Washington Humane Society, and most recently, the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead Midcoast Humane during this period of transition,” Townsend said in the release. “We have not only the kind of dedicated staff and volunteers you can build a future on, but also the boundless potential to have a positive impact on the lives of homeless pets. I look forward to leading Midcoast Humane into its next chapter, one that focuses on the welfare of animals throughout the midcoast, the state of Maine, and the country. The future of Midcoast Humane is bright and limitless.”

The release stated that the current Range Road facility in Brunswick will be sold and the facility in Edgecomb will continue to operate in that region.

In 2020, 1,466 animals were adopted through Midcoast Humane, according to a report in March by The Times Record. In 2019, 2,488 were adopted.

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