"I was actually approached a few weeks ago by a couple of the board members to see if I would be interested in assuming the director's position out here," said Canty, who succeeds Dorothy Wissler, who served as the EVHS director for more than 10 years. "They knew of my organizational skills and thought that it could be a mutually beneficial relationship. So after they met with the other board members they scheduled an interview with the hiring committee and I guess at that point they liked what they heard.
"That was on a Thursday and I started the following Monday. I look at [this] as a challenge. I'm always interested in pursuing new avenues. I've never done anything like this before and I just thought it would be something interesting, and I think I have the necessary skills for what [it] required."
Canty's past and current work and volunteer resume reinforces his business background and community involvement, which are aspects that EVHS Board Co-chair Carrie Thomas feels will benefit the Cartersville nonprofit.
Along with presently being a reporter for WBHF AM-1450 and co-hosting two talk shows, he served as the general manager of Kingston Capital Corp., which helped restore and revitalize downtown Kingston, from January 2009 to December 2009; maintenance supervisor of Bayrock Corp. from July 2002 to December 2009; and co-owner of Moore's Gourmet Market from 1998 to 2002.
In addition to being the president-elect of New Frontier of Bartow County Inc., he also currently serves on the boards of trustees for several nonprofit organizations, including Advocates for Children, Cartersville-Bartow County Library System and Crime Stoppers.
During the past two weeks at EVHS, Canty felt it was important to observe and evaluate current operations before implementing any procedural changes.
"I don't want to overwhelm myself with change here," Canty said. "I want to be systematic about it. One of the things we want to do is make sure the animals are properly cared for. That's job number one -- to make sure they are properly immunized and tagged with a microchip. Also to get their images posted on the Petfinder website and just to provide a clean, well-maintained and friendly environment, not only for the animals but for prospective adoptive parents for these animals."
Open since 2006, the 4,928-square-foot shelter at 36 Ladd's Mountain Road in Cartersville costs about $120,000 per year to manage. The shelter consists of two staff offices, a quarantine room, two visitation rooms, 14 temperature-controlled kennel runs, a cat room with 24 cages and two condos, and a puppy room with 10 cages.
While funding currently is strictly through private donations or animal adoptions, Canty is looking to pursue other avenues such as state and federal grants. Several fundraisers also are planned this year, including a motorcycle poker ride Aug. 28; boot drive and coupons at Applebee's, both on Sept. 15; and Casino Night Oct. 2.
In addition to financial support, Thomas said the nonprofit is in need of volunteers and in-kind donations, including newspapers; cat litter; food for adult dogs and cats, puppies and kittens; and gift cards to local businesses for office or cleaning supplies.
Looking forward, Thomas said pet adoptions will continue to be at the forefront of EVHS's operations.
"They had gotten really low," Thomas said, about animal adoptions. "People had lost their homes, lost their jobs and we have seen an increase in the number of animals that are being turned into animal control. So the amount of adoptions, we want to see that increase. ... Our goal is to have all of our animals online, have our website updated and have our new staff in place and the shelter running fairly smooth and organized within about a month.
"We just put a lot of new things in place along with the new staff," she said, referring also to the hirings of Linda Gentry, animal adoption coordinator, and Lori Cagle, animal coordinator. "I think the thing that I want people to know is that there are some friendly people that want you to come in and volunteer and adopt."
For more information about the EVHS, call 770-383-3338 or visit www.etowahvalleyhumane.org. Closed Monday and Tuesday, the shelter is open Wednesday and Thursday noon to 7 p.m.; Friday noon to 5 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Sunday 1 to 4 p.m.