J. Mike Freeman has been appointed the new director of the Pike County Humane Society, replacing an embattled former director who left the position earlier this summer.
Freeman has more than 20 years of experience in animal welfare law enforcement in Phoenix and Casa Grande, Arizona.
He said his wife has family living in the area and wanted to return. They were looking for a good place to raise their children. Now with his hiring, the line is drawn.
He stressed that this is a new chapter for the Pike County Humane Society. “It’s a new start,” he said.
Freeman said he has not yet seen the humane society grounds, but looks forward to touring the facility. His goals include, first, sizing up the humane society as it stands now to determine what needs to be fixed and what works. He said he will look into renovations needed to fit the needs of the animals.
He said he is set to begin on Sept. 8.
Freeman said he looks forward to working with the Courier to showcase adoptable animals in the paper.
His hiring follows a tumultuous period in which a humane society employee, Selina McGinnis, accused the former longtime director, Barry Heim, of sexual assault and harassment. In July Judge Kelly Gaughan granted McGinnis an order for protection of victims of sexual violence, stipulating that Heim will not have contact, either direct or indirect, with McGinnis.
The agreement, which expires on Oct. 14, also states that Heim denies all charges and admits to no wrongdoing.
See related article, “Humane society workers clean up.”