Megan Webb, director of Oakland Animal Services (OAS), resigned as of February 26, 2013. Webb, who has been director since 2009—and served the shelter in other capacities for more than ten years—has accepted the executive director’s position with the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, Virginia.
“This has been the most difficult decision of my life,” Webb said in announcing her resignation to staff and volunteers. “It is extremely difficult to leave OAS after so many years, so much hard work, and many wonderful connections with so many people.”
Webb emphasized that she hoped that her leaving would not derail any of the good work that staff and volunteers have accomplished in recent years. Beginning with former director Adam Parascandola and continuing with Webb, OAS’s reputation as a humane, progressive shelter has grown stronger; staff and veterinarians are sought-after speakers in the animal care field; and, best of all, practices set in motion during Webb’s tenure have changed industry practices—starting right here in Oakland.
In her resignation letter, in discussions with staff and volunteers, and in final meetings with Oakland police department supervisors, Webb was quick to point to staff, volunteers, and rescue organization partners for the success of the shelter.
“I have been privileged to work with an incredible team of volunteers and staff,” she said. “Together, we’ve made huge improvements at OAS. We have a strong, nationally recognized volunteer program with volunteers donating more than 20,000 hours to the shelter every year. We have implemented best practices in the care of our animals, modernized our animal housing, created a large spay/neuter clinic, given OAS animal control officers the skills to investigate criminal cases of animal abuse and crime, increased adoptions and transfers of animals, and significantly improved our relationships with community groups.”
Without a doubt, Webb has made inroads in animal care for OAS and other animal welfare organizations both local and nationwide. “All of us remember OAS before Megan Webb became the director,” said Linda McCormick, founder of local nonprofit Fix Our Ferals. “Megan’s progressive changes have been life-saving and precedent-setting, and, hopefully, have set the bar high for the future at OAS.”
The city of Oakland will begin a search for Webb’s replacement immediately. In the meantime, animal control officer supervisor Lorena Arreola, who has been with OAS since 2011, has been named interim director. Prior to joining OAS, Arreola served ten years as an animal control officer and, before that, worked as a veterinary technician.