PUHI — Newly-appointed Executive Director of the Kaua’i Humane Society Nicole Schafer Crane developed her passion for animals from an early age.
Growing up in Hiram, Georgia, with parents who breed Rottweilers, Crane found her calling.
“They just took an interest in it, like a lot of people when they find a breed they love,” Crane said. “You really love the traits of it and the physical appearance of it. You get attached to your dog and other dogs with similar traits, and you will have a litter. Traits are things the other people are looking for, and you just become involved with the breed.”
Crane also learned some valuable dog-breeding lessons from her parents.
“People can use different breeds for different things. They are great security dogs, great enforcement dogs, great show dogs and fun-loving family dogs. Some dogs sniff out endangered species and cancers, and they are companions for biologists as well.”
Crane began working at first with wildlife before transferring her interest to domestic animals.
“I am an advocate for any animal’s welfare, whether it be a bird, a cat, a horse or a dog, or any animal treated cruelly or wrongfully,” Crane said. “I think most people feel the same way about that. I am advocating whether it’s our pets or anyone’s pets.”
A new era
Crane stated she is pleased with the existing KHS staff and the job former KHS Executive Director Dr. Mirah Horowitz did for the society, which should make her transition smooth.
“I think the KHS has done an amazing job,” Crane said. “I would love to increase our engagement, and I would like to hear from the community and be a better resource for them.”
A wealth of experience
Crane, who was involved in humane societies across the mainland, knows there are several issues related to pets universally.
“Spaying and neutering is always something every place needs to keep working on, especially for our cat population,” Crane said.
“That in itself is something KHS and a lot of people should come together to look at, our feral-cat population, and how we can improve it. Not just for feral cats, but for all the wildlife of Kaua‘i, and find more humane options.”
While working on her second master’s degree at the University of Edinburgh from 2014 to 2016, Crane got involved working with feral dogs. She worked with Humane Society International Saipan in the Northern Marianas Islands on passing legislation concerning animal welfare.
She also worked with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in San Francisco in 2017 and 2018, helping develop a sister shelter that took in over 11,000 animals. That led to an opportunity in Shreveport, Louisiana, to work as an animal-service manager and director of operations.
Crane worked in that shelter that took in about 5,000 animals a year, and her experience is one reason Dan Giovanni, president of the KHS board of directors, is excited. “We are thrilled and fortunate to have someone of Nicole’s experience and passion for animal welfare to lead the society,” Giovanni said. “It’s important to have a smooth and timely transition at the top of the organization, and we have great confidence that Nicole will provide the leadership needed.”