July 22, 2009
Pioneer Animal Abuse Investigator Heads Florida Wildlife Center
For 30 years, Sherry Schlueter was the top "animal cop" of the Broward County Sheriff's Office. She led the sheriff's office's Special Victims and Family Crimes section and was an an expert on the connection between animal cruelty and human violence. When someone wanted to know what to do to help an abused animal, Schlueter was their woman.
Long before that, she helped rescue and care for orphaned and injured animals at the home of a local rehabilitator, Bea Humphries. When the operation outgrew her home, Humphries founded the SPCA Wildlife Care Center in 1969. In 1979, it moved to Fort Lauderdale, where it still thrives today.
Fast forward to late June 2009, the center joined forces with The Humane Society of the United States, and as of July 20, Schlueter is onboard as its director.
"I am delighted to be joining The Humane Society of the United States and grateful for the opportunity to lead the effort to protect and care for wild animals in South Florida," said Schlueter.
"The SPCA Wildlife Care Center is a special place with a dedicated and talented staff. I am privileged to have the opportunity to work with them and with the leadership of The Humane Society of the United States."
Schlueter has served as vice president of the board of directors of the center for many years.
Today, the 4.1-acre Ft. Lauderdale property has a staff of 60, including veterinarians and veterinary technicians. The staff is supported by 600 active volunteers who care for 400 to 900 animals at any one time. The property contains habitats and rehabilitation centers where animals are treated and prepared for release.
The center serves the South Florida Tri-County region with rescue, rehabilitation and release services for wildlife and selected domestic animals, including certain farm animals. Each year, approximately 14,000 injured, orphaned, abandoned or abused native wild animals or exotic domestic animals come through the center's doors.
The SPCA Wildlife Care Center will retain its management, distinctive programs and local identity while joining The HSUS' family of animal care and protection programs.
"I've been an admirer of Sherry Schlueter for years for her law enforcement work and her work on the relationship between animal cruelty and other criminal behavior," said Wayne Pacelle, The HSUS' president and CEO.
"We are thrilled to have her on full time now, running the center and representing The HSUS on a broader set of issues in south Florida."
Broward County Sheriff Al Lamberti said, "Sherry Schlueter pioneered the field of animal abuse investigation right here in Broward County. She got the Broward Sheriff's Office started in terms of special victims' investigations when she started her career. This is a great opportunity for her. She has had a stellar career and our loss is definitely HSUS' gain."
The SPCA Wildlife Care Center becomes the fifth animal care center under the auspices of The HSUS, now one of the largest and most diverse providers of direct care for animals in the United States.
The HSUS directly cared for more than 70,000 animals in 2008 through its sanctuaries, rehabilitation centers, spay and neuter services, mobile veterinary clinics, disaster response, and other programs.
The other animal care centers—operated with The Fund for Animals—include Cape Wildlife Center in Massachusetts, Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Texas, the Wildlife Center in Ramona, Calif., and Duchess (horse) Sanctuary in Oregon.
The corporate combination is the latest in a series of strategies to increase The HSUS' portfolio of programs and affiliates. In 2005, The HSUS joined with The Fund for Animals. In 2006 The HSUS joined with the Doris Day Animal League. In 2007 The HSUS joined with the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights to create the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association.