Executive Director, South Florida Wildlife Center
In July 2009, after a more than 35-year career in law enforcement with a special focus on human and animal victims of abuse and neglect, Sherry Schlueter was appointed Executive Director of The HSUS's fifth wildlife care center, following The HSUS's corporate combination with the Fort Lauderdale facility.
The South Florida Wildlife Center serves the south Florida tri-county region with rescue, rehabilitation, and release services for native wildlife, as well as certain in-need exotic and domestic animals (excluding dogs and cats). It annually admits some 13,000 or more injured, orphaned, abandoned, or abused native wild animals or exotic and domestic animals.
For more than three decades, Lt. Schlueter was the top "animal cop" at the Broward County Sheriff's Office. She led the Special Victims and Family Crimes section that she created, and is considered to be an expert on the connection between animal cruelty and human interpersonal violence. She initiated, helped author, and lobbied for the successful passage of, the original felony aggravated animal abuse statute that became law in Florida in 1989.
Long before that, she helped rescue and care for orphaned and injured animals at the Fort Lauderdale home of a wildlife rehabilitator who, in 1969, founded what later became the South Florida Wildlife Center. Schlueter served as Vice President of the center's Board of Directors for much of the nearly two decades preceding her position as its Executive Director.
The 4.1-acre property she runs has a staff of more than 60, including three veterinarians and a team of veterinary technicians, nursery and general animal care staff, wildlife rehabilitators, and adoption and volunteer coordinators. They are supported by 400 active volunteers who help to care for the 400 to 900 animals undergoing treatment and rehabilitation at any given time. The property contains habitats and rehabilitation sites where the 252 possible animal species are treated and prepared for release or appropriate placement.
The South Florida Wildlife Center is the fifth permanent facility providing direct care for animals under The HSUS's umbrella. The others include the Cape Wildlife Center in Massachusetts, the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Texas, the Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in California, and the Duchess Sanctuary in Oregon, which cares for equines.
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