Meet the Ontario SPCA’s new Vice President of Shelter Operations

by | Interesting |

The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society is excited to welcome Sonya Reichel as its new Vice President of Shelter Operations! 

Sonya previously led the Georgian Triangle Humane Society as their Executive Director, demonstrating remarkable dedication and leadership. She successfully launched a capital campaign and has played a pivotal role in growing robust adoptions and volunteer programs, showcasing her commitment to community engagement and collaboration. 

In her new role, Sonya will oversee the shelter operations of the Ontario SPCA’s 13 animal centres and the Provincial Dog Rehabilitation Centre. She will work closely with our Shelter Health & Wellness team to provide care for our animal residents and drive forward our commitment to provide the best possible support for the animals in our care.  

We sat down with Sonya on her first day at the Ontario SPCA to get to know her better. Here’s a glimpse of the who she is! 

What attracted you to the position of Vice President of Shelter Operations with the Ontario SPCA? 

Leaving my role at the Georgian Triangle Humane Society was a very difficult decision. I have formed close relationships with many of the staff and volunteers who work there – it just feels like home! When looking to the Ontario SPCA, I was attracted to the organization’s Strategic Vision and Plan, its values, and its team! 

What are you most excited about accomplishing in your new role? 

I’m excited to meet the folks who work in animal welfare across our province and learn from them. With so many animals that need care and support, I’m curious about the challenges people are facing, and I want to simply listen to those who are deep in the trenches. Once I have done my homework, I’m sure I’ll have a better idea around how to answer that question! 

How will you help animals as the Vice President of Shelter Operations? 

I believe strongly that compassion for animals is rooted in compassion for people. Therefore, my job in supporting as many pets as possible in our animal centres will be to listen to our people and create or support environments in which they can thrive. 

Tell us about a career achievement relating to animals that you’re most proud of? 

I believe strongly that, in our ever-evolving world, you need to be comfortable challenging the status quo to ensure that you are making a marked impact on those that need you. To that end, I am very proud of the Access to Care programs that we launched at the Georgian Triangle Humane Society in 2018, most especially our Emergency Medical Assistance Program. It was a new program, without an existing template to follow, that quite truthfully was a bit scary to launch – even if we felt strongly that it was an essential service for pet parents. To date, hundreds of pets have stayed with their families during emergencies instead of needing to be re-homed – and that just warms my heart! 

Do you have any animals of your own? 

I have two amazing pets – Mara, a two-year-old Northern dog that we adopted in December of 2021. She is the sweetest dog in the whole world. We also have Blinks, a 12-year-old black cat that I found under a porch when he was two weeks old. I bottle fed him for weeks and he is now the boss of the house, regularly telling Mara what to do and ensuring we give him regular cuddles and food. 

Tell us one fun fact about yourself.  

I love horseback riding! I ride four to five times per week at a barn located just up the road from me. It keeps me healthy and happy – helping to ease the stress of difficult days and continue to enjoy the healing power of the human-animal bond. 

We wish Sonya all the best in this new role, and we are thrilled to welcome her to the Ontario SPCA family. Interested in joining the Ontario SPCA team? Visit our employment page to see current job opportunities.  

Sonya with kitten