Julie Wittry of Dorchester hired as new Humane Society of Northeast Iowa Director

Julie Wittry of Dorchester is the new Director for the Humane Society of Northeast Iowa. She is pictured above with her own rescue dog, Gabe, who she transformed into an award winner. Submitted photo.

Julie Wittry of Dorchester has been hired as the new director at the Humane Society of Northeast Iowa (HSNEI) Love & Friendship Adoption Center. Wittry replaces volunteer Director Kim Powell, a professor at Luther College in Decorah, who used a sabbatical to spearhead the capital campaign for HSNEI’s new Love & Friendship Adoption Center. Since the Center opened in December, Powell has served as director, along with Julie Kriener who served as interim director when Powell returned to Luther in February.
Wittry, who relocated from Caledonia, MN with her husband, Tom, seven years ago, said her involvement with HSNEI began when a stray dog showed up at their home. “We were trying to research how we could help this dog and I was put in connection with Brenda Flatjord (of Waukon) and it kind of snowballed,” said Wittry.
Wittry said she was so impressed by the work of the volunteers trying to help area animals, she decided to get involved. “My husband and I have been involved since shortly after we moved here. We started attending events and fostering animals. Since then, we’ve adopted two dogs that we were fostering,” she said.
Wittry said one of her rescue dogs, who needed an avenue to channel his behavior, has since earned titles in agility, rally and obedience.

After almost 20 years of planning, HSNEI opened the new Love & Friendship Adoption Center in December. The idea started in 1995 with the People for Animal Welfare (PAW) group, which reorganized into HSNEI in 2008.
The volunteer organization works to help abused, neglected, abandoned and unwanted companion animals in a five-county area, which includes, Allamakee, Clayton, Fayette, Howard and Winneshiek counties.

Wittry said she feels the new Love & Friendship Adoption Center is a testament to so many volunteers who have sacrificed time and money to care for the area’s animals. “It’s important to me that those who have been part of this group for 15-plus years know how much I respect their efforts. There are many devoted volunteers currently working both inside and outside of the Adoption Center, and I truly appreciate everything they do,” she said. “It is an honor to be part of such an incredibly caring organization.”

Wittry said she encourages people to stop by the Center to get acquainted with the organization. “I want this to be a place where people can feel good… They can stop by and we can talk about using their strengths to help us help the animals,” she said.
In addition, Wittry said she is committed to “quality adoptions,” making sure the new owner and pet are the right fit for a forever home. “I also look at this as the opportunity to educate people about responsible pet ownership, one person at a time,” said Wittry, adding they will continue to provide community education and programs such as SNAP, the Spay-Neuter Assistance Program.
“We are also a great resource when someone’s pet goes missing,” she said.

For more information on how to donate or volunteer with HSNEI, call 563-382-0500, visit hsnei.org or Humane Society of Northeast Iowa on Facebook.