The Guilford County Animal Shelter just got some bad news: It’s losing its medical director – who was also the shelter’s only veterinarian.

Before the county hired Animal Services Medical Director Megan McAndrew in July 2016, it had trouble finding and keeping full-time vets, and now shelter officials and supporters are hoping the shelter can find a quality new medical director soon.

Guilford County Animal Shelter Director Jorge Ortega said this week that the Animal Shelter is currently searching for a replacement.

According to Ortega, the shelter has strategies it can use until a new full-time medical director/veterinarian is found.  For instance, much of the work will be contracted out.

“We currently have three hourly veterinarians that will continue to help us with Spay/Neuters and vet care,” Ortega wrote in an email.  “We will also continue to work with our community veterinary partners to help provide any veterinary care needed.”

Ever since Guilford County took over the operations of the shelter in mid-2015, it’s had a tough time keeping the shelter fully staffed, especially when it comes to the very top position – Animal Services director.  Before the start of 2018, when Ortega took that job, the shelter went through a string of short-term directors with Deputy County Manager Clarence Grier filling in at that position when the shelter was directorless.

McAndrew, who’s been making $108,000 a year in the position she’s now leaving, was well received by Guilford County’s animal advocates.  She was affectionately known by many as “Dr. M,” and state inspectors had positive things to say about her as well.  When the shelter was inspected in the spring of 2018, one inspector wrote, “The new director and veterinarian were very cooperative and open to suggestions about how to resolve these issues.  We look forward to working with them to bring the shelter into full compliance with the state’s Animal Welfare Act.”

Before coming to work with Guilford County, McAndrew was the medical director for the Washington Humane Society in Washington, DC.  There she was responsible for the care of about 7,000 animals, compared to a few hundred held on most days at the Guilford County Animal Shelter.