Midcoast Humane in Brunswick announced Wednesday that Jess Townsend has been appointed as the organization’s newest executive director, as part of the latest in a number of ongoing changes at the animal shelter that serves dozens of Maine communities.

Townsend was appointed interim executive director in October following the resignation of Midcoast Humane’s first president Mary Sundeen.

The newly appointed Midcoast Humane Interim Executive Director Jess Townsend. Courtesy of Midcoast Humane

Sundeen took on the role in December 2019.

According to a news release on Wednesday, Townsend has worked as an animal welfare professional for 15 years.

Townsend was originally hired as the director of operations in August 2021. That same month, a new finance director was hired, and a new director of development started in June.

Since taking on the role of interim executive director, Townsend has added eight new staff members, reopened the Edgecomb shelter to adoption appointments, taken steps to modernize operations and revitalized the organization’s building campaign.


“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead and be a permanent part of Midcoast Humane,” Townsend said in the release, adding “with myself and the new board of directors in place, Midcoast Humane is poised to strategically advance its vision while providing stability to our community for years to come.”

Midcoast Humane also announced Wednesday the appointment of five new board members: Beth Chiquoine of Harpswell, Jennifer Jones of Falmouth, Kathy Hirst of Harpswell, Mason Palmatier of Brunswick and Julie Beane of Brunswick.

“The five new members of our Midcoast Humane Board of Directors bring to our organization a range of vital skills in fundraising, business management, communication and strategic planning,” said Midcoast Humane Board of Directors President Bill Muldoon in the release.

The new leadership comes as Midcoast Humane prepares to move its Brunswick headquarters into a newly renovated, 24,000 square foot shelter on Industrial Parkway. The move is scheduled for the second quarter of 2022, and the shelter on Range Road will be sold.

According to a 2019 financial statement, Midcoast Humane had roughly $2.8 million in total revenue that year, $2 million of which was sourced from contributions like gifts and grants and roughly $174,000 from town contracts.

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

It rebranded itself in 2018, changing its name from The Coastal Humane Society and Lincoln County Animal Shelter. That same year, it stopped using its Edgecomb facility for animal adoption placement.

In 2021, Midcoast Humane found permanent homes for 1,372 animals. The organization, which serves 39 municipalities in the state, is currently caring for 141 animals.

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