Kate Webster smiles for the camera with a furry friend from the Animal Care Center.
After running a zoo in her hometown of Buffalo, New York, St. John Animal Care Center’s new shelter manager Kate Webster will surely be able to handle anything that comes her way.
The Niagara County College graduate studied animal management and worked with everything from anteaters to giraffes during her last job.
“I was a zookeeper back in Buffalo and I worked with South American rainforest animals like monkeys, anteaters, cayman and tons of different kinds of birds,” said Webster.
“And I also worked with bigger mammals outside like rhinos, giraffes and bears. It was a pretty small zoo, so I worked with pretty much everything.”
Webster and her boyfriend have spent time vacationing on St. John over the past two years and even adopted a dog during their last trip in January, she explained.
“We found the ACC during our last vacation in January and we adopted a dog from here,” said Webster. “I kept in contact with people from the ACC and when the position was available it was brought to my attention.”
The ACC is the island’s sole animal welfare organization. It runs the no-kill shelter in Estate Enighed, coordinates cat feeding stations across the island and oversees cat neutering programs. ACC is funded largely through private donations and fundraisers with scant funding from the Virgin Islands government to cover its annual costs.
An ACC committee conducted a thorough search for candidates to take over as shelter manager since Sally Nelson stepped down from the post several months ago.
“It took everyone a long time to get finalize the position,” said Webster. “But as soon as they hired me, I was down here three weeks later.”
Webster has been loving her new job, likening it to a zoo with much more hands-on responsibilities.
“I love it; it’s so much fun,” said the new ACC shelter manager. “It’s kind of like the zoo, but more personal and you get to handle the animals. I like that a lot.”
Webster officially took over her new post on June 13 and has been busy overseeing adoptions and coordinating volunteers, she explained.
“I am doing the managerial things like adoption approvals, coordinating with volunteers and working with the day-to-day operations,” said Webster. “We had our black cat party this month which was fun too.”
Webster has also had a crash course in the St. John community, meeting new people each day.
“I have met tons of new people,” she said. “It’s hard to keep everyone straight.”
Moving forward, Webster plans to host events and gatherings, but is first making changes starting from the inside of the ACC.
“I’m trying to fix things from the inside out,” Webster said. “I’m trying to get things set here in the office first and then I’ll branch out and come up with some fun, new things.”
Webster is hoping her dog and boyfriend will be joining her shortly, she added.
“My boyfriend is an eye doctor and he has to re-certify in order to work here,” said the new ACC shelter manager. “He’s inseparable from our dog, so they’re both back in Buffalo. But we’re working on getting them both here soon.”
For more information about ACC, stop by the shelter in Estate Enighed Tuesday through Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or call 774-1625.