Humane Society Director committed to improvements

Kim Nock has been serving as Executive Director of the Humane Society since August.

Kim Nock is settling in to one of the community’s most difficult and high-profile jobs. Her deep local ties and intense love for animals could help her succeed.

“I want every animal to be loved and cared for as if this was their home and ultimately reduce the number of animals that need to come into our facility,” said Nock, who has served as Wicomico Humane Society Executive since summer.

The Salisbury native had volunteered with the organization three years before she was hired to serve as its director.

“I walked into the (Humane Society of Wicomico County facility three years ago,” said Nock, “and I knew the moment I entered the doors my life had changed.”

Nock was born and raised in Salisbury, and has deep roots here on Delmarva.

 “I have my parents here and could not imagine being anywhere else,” she said. “I love our coastal area and summers spending time at the beach.” 

Although she felt that immediate connection with the Humane Society, she quickly sensed some tensions within the organization.

“I did notice a sense of unhappiness among the employees but chalked it up to them being witness to so many unhappy situations,” she said. “However, the more I was here, the unhappier I was with how things were handled with the staff, animals and public.”

In recent years the Humane Society has been through a torrent of troubles.

Its former Executive Director Aaron T. Balsamo, pleaded guilty last fall to felony theft for stealing of tens of thousands of dollars from the organization. After being placed on administrative leave in August 2018, former director Kevin Usilton stepped in to serve as interim director prior to Nock’s elevation.

Nock said despite the tensions and seeing the shelter go through some rough times while she was a volunteer, she never considered abandoning it.

“Something in my heart told me this place and these employees were worth fighting for,” she said. “But the only job I ever would want here is the director’s position, because it is the only job where I could truly make a difference.”

Nock brought to her new position 25 years of managing her family’s photography business.

“I am not a job hopper,” she said. “Once I commit to someone, I give them 110 percent and have always left on a positive note. I treat every business as if it were my own.”

She attributes her carefully honed people skills to her experience running a local restaurant before moving into the corporate restaurant business for a time.

“I think this was a very appealing trait when I applied for my position,” she said. “They knew I would be someone who was good with the public and would be in it for the long haul.”

Nock said she aims to have a Humane Society that the community, staff and volunteers can be proud of.

She said everyone asks her how she keeps herself from taking all the animals at the shelter home with her.

“It’s easy when you have upwards of 70 that you live with from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” she said. “My little ones at home don’t play nicely with others, but in the future, I will have two or more ‘pitties’. I adore them and their personality.”

Nock shares her home with two “chiweenies” — a cross between a chihuahua and a dachshund.

Her biggest challenge she said, is living down past issues the shelter faced.

“When you lose the pubic trust, it is hard to get it back. I want people to know this is not the same shelter, and we are going above and beyond every day to show that,” Nock said.

The Humane Society of Wicomico County is not a no-kill shelter, but its primary function is to help pets find new forever homes through adoption.

The facility’s live release rate, Nock said, was 54 percent when she took over in August, but is now, six months later, 86 percent.

“We have achieved that through building relationships with other shelters, rescues and cat organizations,” Nock said. “We are all a team here and I am proud to be a part of it.”

Nock is mindful of the codes and laws governing the facility in Wicomico County, but is also working to tighten up some codes she believes need to be addressed.

She asks patience from county residents because it cannot all be fixed overnight.

“It is a process,” she said. “I welcome everyone to come out and visit, to see for yourself. We have a huge volunteer base and are always happy to welcome new people.”

The Humane Society also has a “foster to adopt” program that allows animals to be placed in the best possible homes and is also working to provide Wicomico residents with affordable services, including spay/neuter events.

For anyone who is planning to acquire new pets, Nock has some advice.

“Adopt, don’t shop,” she said. “Treat your animals like they are your family. You wouldn’t put your family outside to spend days alone, so you shouldn’t do that to your animals. If you are in need, don’t make giving up your animal the first option. We are here to help.”

The Humane Society will hold a fashion show fundraiser — “Struttin’ Our Mutts” — at Green Hill Country Club in Quantico on Sunday, April 26. Call 410-749-7603 for more information.

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