Animal alliance hires fourth director since 2011

The Companion Animal Alliance, a nonprofit that oversees the parish’s public animal shelter, hired a new director — the fourth since the agency took control in August 2011.

Beth Brewster, resigned from her position as the director of animal services in St. Bernard Parish and is expected to start at the Progress Road shelter on Jan. 21, CAA board President Christel Slaughter said.

“Her experience with an open access shelter as well as the enforcement side of the equation should be very helpful as she is used to working in a regulated environment with a set budget,” Slaughter said.

Brewster has been director of animal services in St. Bernard Parish since 2009, where she helped the agency build a new shelter and applied for and received $200,000 in grant revenue, according to her résumé.

She also has served as the executive director for the St. Tammany Humane Society, where she said in her résumé that she balanced the agency’s budget for the “first time in history.”

Brewster is a past member of the Governor’s Council on Pet Overpopulation and is certified to euthanize animals.

Brewster will replace Kimberly Sherlaw, who was ousted in early December following some highly publicized complaints made by employees alleging that Sherlaw was a poor manager who allowed violations of state laws and veterinary regulations on her watch.

The CAA board denied that administrators were aware of any illegal activity.

Paula Schoen, a CAA board member and the president of Friends of the Animals adoption group, has served as interim shelter director.

Before Sherlaw, the CAA also fired interim director Debbie Pearson and its first director, Laura Hinze.

Hinze left after two months, following an investigation by the parish Animal Control and Enforcement Agency into animal overcrowding allegations.

The CAA lobbied the city-parish for several months to privatize the sheltering operations in an attempt to lower the euthanasia rate and eventually become a no-kill shelter.

This year the agency will take in $573,770 from the city-parish and supplement its budget with private donations.