The City of Salina is accepting the resignation of Salina Animal Services Manager Vanessa Cowie.
During a special meeting Tuesday evening commissioners voted to pay her for accrued unused vacation time.
Cowie, who has been on paid suspension since mid-August, tendered her resignation to accept a similar position at an animal shelter in the Kansas City area. She is scheduled to have a meeting with Interim Salina City Manager Mike Schrage Wednesday morning. Schrage is authorized to accept the resignation. He was not authorized to approve the payment for the vacation time.
The resignation is effective September 30th.
In a move that surprised many people, back in August Cowie was suspended from all of her duties, pending a hearing with Interim Salina City Manager Mike Schrage. That meeting had been scheduled to take place Wednesday.
Supporters had been rallying around Cowie the entire time she was suspended. An online petition calling for her reinstatement had over 4,200 signatures on it.
Cowie first started at the animal shelter in Salina as a volunteer in 2011. She was hired as an animal control officer in 2012. She briefly left in 2013, but returned in 2014 as the shelter manager.
Cowie made many positive contributions during her time at the shelter, and secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money during her time as manager. Some of her accomplishments include:
- Transitioning the facility to a no-kill shelter, meaning that over 90 percent of the animals it receives are saved.
- Securing almost half a million dollars in grant funding to remodel the aging facility and start a low cost spay / neuter program.
- Securing funding for Barkley Park.
- Negotiating live outcomes for pit bulls instead of euthanasia.
- Expanding the kitten foster program to eliminate the automatic euthanasia of underage kittens. Over 400 kittens are fostered annually by Salina citizens.
- Developing a farm cat program and trap/neuter/return program to eliminate the automatic euthanasia of un-socialized cats.
- Starting relationship with Kansas State University which saves the shelter $50,000 annually, and lecturing to KSU students twice a month for the last three years on best practice animal sheltering.
Cowie had been recognized the last 2 years consecutively as one of the top 35 leaders in the industry by the Petco Foundation.