Ruggeri is new HSMC director

Deb Ruggeri with Vinny

The Humane Society of Monroe County will be headed by a face familiar to Monroe Countians and animal lovers alike. Debbie Ruggeri has been named its executive director.

“I am delighted to have been chosen as the executive director,” Ruggeri said. “I intend to focus on many growing areas of the organization, most especially the new facility to be built on Hanover Road.”

A capital campaign is under way to raise funds for construction of a state-of-the-art shelter between Waterloo and Columbia. It will include housing for nearly 30 dogs, scores of cats, and perhaps most importantly, isolation rooms.

These will allow animals brought in with contagious, often life-threatening diseases, to be quarantined and treated on-site by veterinary professionals without endangering healthy animals or suffering the additional trauma of being transferred to another facility that can handle such cases.

The campaign is about one-fifth of the way toward its goal of $2.5 million.

Ruggeri previously served as executive director of the Waterloo Chamber of Commerce.

In her nine years there, she more than doubled membership and brought home three Governor’s Hometown Awards. She also completed a host of projects to beautify downtown Waterloo and improve the city’s business climate, all while maintaining the organization’s fiscal health.

The Helping Strays HSMC Board of Directors will remain the same, and Paula Hutchinson, who was one of the founders of the organization in 2002, will remain president.

“The new (executive director) position will relieve the board members of any duties they perform on a volunteer basis,” Hutchinson said.

Helping Strays HSMC holds adoption events every Saturday around the area. Visit online at or call 282-PETS for details on how to adopt, donate, foster or otherwise help one of the county’s worthiest causes.

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