Hawaii Island Humane Society appoints new CEO after unexpected resignation

  • Elizabeth “Beth” Jose. Photo via HIHS.org/Special to West Hawaii Today
  • Charles Brown

KAILUA-KONA — The Hawaii Island Humane Society has a new CEO following the unexpected resignation of Charles Brown after just four months on the job.

Brown, who took the position in early August following a national search and restructuring of the organization, “unexpectedly resigned” over the Thanksgiving holiday, HIHS Board of Directors President Adam Atwood said.

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“While Charles Brown’s tenure was short, we appreciate his contributions and commitment to the HIHS mission and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” Atwood said in a prepared statement Tuesday afternoon.

Prior to Brown’s appointment in August, the organization went without a leader for months after Donna Whitaker stepped down in December 2018 after more than a decade as executive director. That’s not the case this time as a new CEO has already been named.

Atwood said the society’s board met over the Thanksgiving weekend and selected veterinarian Elizabeth “Beth” Jose, DVM, as CEO of the nonprofit organization that operates shelters in Kailua-Kona, Waimea and Keaau.

Born and raised on the Big Island, longtime HIHS board member Jose went to St. Joseph School and the University of Hawaii at Hilo and Oregon State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. She is married to fellow veterinarian Dr. Aaron Lorshbough and is mother to a young boy.

“Hawaii Island Humane Society has been in existence caring for pets and animals and serving the community for over 50 years. Caring for pets and animals is my passion. I’m committed to improving our operations and look forward to working with management, staff and volunteers in the implementation of national shelter standards and best practices to serve our island community,” Jose said in the statement.

Attempts to reach Brown were unsuccessful as of press time Tuesday.

Upon Brown’s hiring this summer, the humane society said he brought with him a wealth of shelter experience overseeing shelter operations and animal control services as a director of shelters in Indiana, Tennessee and Maryland. He’d previously served as a member of the board of directors for a humane society in Idaho and has worked closely with law enforcement agencies to investigate animal cruelty complaints.

Brown’s departure will not result in a delay to the under-construction Animal Community Center in Keauhou Mauka, the statement said.

“The construction team is making great strides and HIHS plans to host an Open House for major donors in January to reveal the near completion of phase two of the 12-acre campus,” the statement read.

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The Hawaii Island Humane Society is awarded a $2 million contract from the county annually for animal control on the Big Island. According the humane society’s 2016-17 annual report, the most recent available, an additional $1.3 million came via fundraising, grants, fees and other sources.

The report also states nearly 13,000 animals came through the organization’s three shelters. All “adoptable dogs and cats” that entered shelters that year were adopted.

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