Angie Arnold, a native of Germany, has spent the last seven years in Texas running a private animal control company that contracted for five counties.
"We had pretty much the same level of animal problem that you do here," Arnold said. "I dealt with 3,300 animals per year, including a lot of cows and horses."
Arnold has spent the last two weeks working with the shelter's previous director, Barbara Yarborough, who retires Friday, so the transition is seamless.
"It's a lot of stuff to try and cram into two weeks," Yarborough said. "That's not a lot of time to boil down 27 and a half years on the job."
Despite the daunting task of distilling her years of experience into two weeks, Yarborough is confident that Arnold is up to the challenge of running an animal shelter that has more than 20 employees and sees thousands of animals a year.
"I definitely think I'm leaving the shelter in good hands," Yarborough said. "It helps that she loves the area and was considering moving here anyway."
Arnold was hired March 19 and she beat out a pool of 60 other applicants.
"We interviewed four of the 60 applicants that applied here in Farmington," said Parks Director Jeff Bowman. "We're sorry to see Barbara leave, but we believe that we have someone to replace her who is going to continue moving the shelter forward in the right direction.
Prior to moving to Texas, Arnold spent 11 years with her own veterinary practice in Germany. Because she went to a German veterinarian school, as opposed to an international one, she is unable to practice veterinary medicine in the United States.
"What's important is that she still has the training of a veterinarian," Bowman said.
Arnold tries her best not to euthanize animals if at all possible, and she is bringing that philosophy to her new position.
"I tried to avoid it as much as I could," she said. "I managed to put a lot of animals with different rescue groups in Kansas and Louisiana. I have a lot of connections."
Along with becoming the new director, Arnold is also taking online classes to get her veterinarian technician certification, something that will take a back seat to her new duties.
"I can't say how long it will be "til I finish now," she said, gesturing around at the shelter full of barking dogs with a smile. "We will see what time permits."