The Wisconsin Humane Society is deeply saddened to announce that Victoria Wellens, the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Humane Society, lost her battle with cancer early Saturday morning, the 28th of March, 2009. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Victoria’s husband, Jim, her stepchildren, Aaron and Elizabeth and grandchildren, Morgan, Mia and Mya.
Victoria was an amazing human being and her commitment and dedication to the Wisconsin Humane Society and the animal welfare field was unparalleled. For 15 years, her outstanding leadership transformed the humane society into a beacon of hope for not only homeless animals, but for people who strive to make the world a kinder place for animals. She set the highest standards for animal care and was nationally recognized for her valiant efforts and remarkable leadership.
When Victoria came to WHS in 1994, the shelter was literally sinking into the ground and staff members were desperate for better resources. In just five years, thanks to her brilliant efforts, Milwaukee boasted one of the best shelters in the country, a place where animals receive excellent care in a nurturing and loving environment.
Victoria pioneered so many innovative programs. Education was a cornerstone of her vision, ensuring that compassion and respect for animals would endure in future generations. The wildlife department moved out of the dark basement at the old facility and into an illuminated, spacious center that annually treats more than 5,000 wild animals. Victoria ardently fought to end the suffering of dogs in puppy mills and continued to campaign for the welfare of feral cats in our community until her last days. She was determined to expand the same amazing programs and services offered at WHS into Ozaukee County, laying plans for a state-of-the-art facility that will better serve the needs of animals and citizens in Ozaukee County. Armed with the knowledge of her vision for the future, we hope to see these dreams realized in her honor.
“Words cannot express how much we will miss Victoria’s presence, leadership and vision,” said board president Tony Enea. “Her impact on animals’ lives cannot be measured. We are fortunate that she left us with an incredibly strong management team and structure and her legacy will serve as a foundation for the continued growth and outstanding efforts of the Wisconsin Humane Society to save lives.”
Victoria Wellens Memorial Service
The Wisconsin Humane Society is hosting a public Memorial Service to celebrate the life of this remarkable leader and friend on Monday, April 13, 2009 at the Pfister Hotel, 424 E Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, (414) 273-8222. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. and the service will begin promptly at 6:00 p.m. A special block of rooms has been set aside for out-of-town guests; please contact the Pfister for reservations. Special thanks to Marcus Hotels and Resorts and the Pfister Hotel, who have graciously donated the space for the memorial service.