We are extremely proud of the work we do for the animals of Harford County. Our staff is dedicated to providing the best care for the animals we serve, committed to providing exceptional customer service and devoted to finding forever homes for our animals.


Jen Swanson
Executive Director
Jen joined the HSHC team as executive director on August 3, 2015. Prior to coming to HSHC, she served as the executive director of the Baltimore Humane Society, in Reisterstown, MD. She is the current Vice President of the Professional Animal Workers of Maryland (PAWS), and serves on the Baltimore City Mayor’s Anti-Animal Abuse Advisory Commission and the Shelter Advisory Board for Maryland Votes for Animals. In 2015, she was named one of “Harford’s Most Innovative Women” by Harford Magazine, and in 2016 graduated from the Harford Leadership Academy. In 2019, she was voted onto the Board of Directors at Chesapeake Therapeutic Riding. “I love to help people, one animal at a time!” she says. “I feel great joy from serving and working with the community, watching folks meet their new furry family members, and providing comfort and compassion to pet parents who may be in a bad spot in their life. I am so grateful for all of our staff, volunteers, fosters, and the rescue community…their dedication and good humor make every day a joy!” In her personal time, she loves camping and traveling, vegan cooking, photography, terrible reality TV, and enjoying time with her partner, Trent, and her dog Neil, an adopted Boston Terrier.
Dr. Karen Burks
Shelter Veterinarian
Dr. Karen Burks joined HSHC in November 2019 and brings years of experience, with several years in shelter medicine under her belt. She’s a 2008 graduate of Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine and in addition to 2 ½ years in shelter medicine, spent 6 years as an emergency veterinarian in a busy 24-hour, 7-day-a-week hospital. “After initially seeing the animals come in with various health concerns, it’s great to formulate a treatment plan, see them improve, and send them home with their new family,” she says. “And I love working with our team. Every team member has each animal’s best interest at heart.” When she’s not performing surgery or attending to a medical need, Dr. Burks and her husband are devoted parents to two children they adopted through foster care. They also share their home with Ting Ting, a Westie mix; Jimmy Jam, a Jack Russell Terrier mix; and KiKi, the brown tabby cat!
Sarah Certeza
Animal Care
After spending the last 4 years working with the senior dogs at a doggie daycare, Sarah joined our crew in May 2020. And another fun fact: 11 years ago, she was a junior volunteer at HSHC with her mom! “I already enjoy working here a lot,” she says. “I love getting to work with the dogs and getting to know them. Being able to work with such a great team is also a great experience!” Sarah’s own pets include Camden, a terrier mix; Ahri, a husky; Sophie, a Chihuahua mix; and S’mores, a Maine coon mix. When her lap isn’t filled with an animal of some sort, Sarah enjoys reading, playing video games, going on walks with her dogs, and finding new restaurants to try out.
Stephanie Clark
Vet Tech
Stephanie’s career has come full circle after working at HSHC from 2006-2009! Steph helped create the foster and rescue program for the shelter over 10 years ago while also working as a vet tech. She left to be the lead vet tech at another local shelter for 7 years, and then gained several more years of experience at a private veterinary practice until the fall of 2019. “I realized how much I missed being in a shelter atmosphere,” she explains. “Shelter medicine is my true passion, and I like being a voice for those who have none.” Outside of work, Steph and her husband are raising two children, and she enjoys travelling, reading actual books (as opposed to a Kindle or Nook), attending concerts and following the Orioles. “Despite being born and raised in Maryland, when it comes to football, I’m a big Chicago Bears fan!” she says. Steph’s family also includes beagle mix Samantha, two black cats named D’jango and Hilda, and a freshwater aquarium.
Maryanne Domowski
Adoptions Counselor
Maryann joined the shelter in the summer of 2017, and after a brief hiatus, is back at the front desk! “I have always loved animals,” she says. “And I love helping them and sending them to their forever homes.” Maryanne is pictured with her Yorkie mix, Bingo Billy, who she says is a lot of fun and makes her laugh. Together, this duo enjoy going for walks, watching Jeopardy, and rooting on their favorite sports teams…the Orioles and Ravens!
Lauren Frommeyer
Animal Care
Lauren actually started her career at HSHC when she was 12 years old – as a volunteer! Later, she worked at another shelter and is now back as a member of our team. When she’s not providing excellent care to the animals, Lauren enjoys reading; riding her 19-year-old Arabian mare; playing with her cats, Australian shepherd/Boxer mix and Coonhound; spending time with her family and playing video games.
Katie Haines
Volunteer Coordinator
Katie’s diverse background has prepared her well to be a successful volunteer coordinator. From a stint as a volunteer at Tristate Zoological Park and all the way to South Africa to perform an internship at Gitta Martula Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, Katie developed a passion for wildlife. “I was also in the Maryland Park Service for 2 years at Deep Creek Lake State Park,” she adds. “Through their Scales and Tales program I learned how to care for 10 injured or non-releasable birds of prey and educated the public about them as well.” In fact, one of her biggest hobbies is birding. “It’s a fun new adventure each time and you never know what you will see and hear!” Katie also enjoys camping, working out and spending time with family and friends, including her 3-year-old African Pygmy Hedgehog named Chestnut. “I rescued him during college, and he has been my travel buddy ever since.”
Emily Henshaw
Animal Care
Emily joined our Animal Care team in the Spring of 2020 and works closely with the dogs in our care. Previously, she worked at a doggy day care for 5 years and worked her way up to manager there. “I love how we are able to take care of dogs that are desperately in need of love and affection,” she says. “Seeing a dog come from a horrible situation and then end up in a foster home or permanent home where they are finally loved is the most rewarding thing to me!” Emily’s own 4-legged family includes Luffy and Botan, both Siberian Huskies, and Nami, a Border Collie/German shepherd mix. When she’s not saving animals, Emily and her boyfriend enjoy going to anime conventions, eating sushi, hiking with the dogs, and playing video games.
 Cat Kelly Cat Kelly
Shelter Operations Director
In October 2015 Cat joined HSHC to help oversee the shelter’s vast operations. She comes to us from Baltimore County Animal Services where she served as Shelter Supervisor and was instrumental in facilitating many new protocols and programs, and helped strengthen community partnerships. Cat’s animal companion is her cat, Finn, and she says she’ll be “fostering dogs until I find one I can’t give back!” She is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Erin Long
Marketing Coordinator
Erin has been employed at the HSHC since November 2006. She has several cats and dogs adopted from the shelter and several cats who were found as strays near her home and became part of the family. Senior dogs, especially hound-types, are her weakness! Erin absolutely could not imagine working anywhere else. Plus she gets to work with and meet so many amazing people who share her love for animals. Erin also works part-time at the front desk at Pleasantville Animal Hospital. She has been married to her husband, John, for over 13 years. Erin holds a BA in Communications from Elizabethtown College with dual minors in Business Administration and Visual Arts.
Montana Lowe
Adoptions Counselor
Montana makes staying busy and juggling multiple responsibilities look easy. She’s not only a full-time senior at Towson University studying Environmental Science & Studies with a track in Information Environmental Education, but she’s also planning her wedding while raising a puppy! “I rescued my puppy Magnolia (Maggie) from Last Chance Animal Rescue in Waldorf, MD,” she says. “The rescue believes she is a pointer mix, but the vet thinks she is a border collie. She is so smart and loves learning new tricks!” Montana has had a lifelong love of animals, having grown up with dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, fish, you name it. She’s volunteered at both the Howard County Animal Control & Adoption Center and the Maryland SPCA, and last summer, she interned at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore as an education instructor. “My favorite thing about working at HSHC is helping animals find their forever homes! Nothing makes me happier than seeing the joy this brings for both the adopter and the animal. I also love interacting with the animals and making a difference in their lives.”
Annie Lynch
Vet Tech
Annie was already used to caring for many of Harford County’s critically ill and injured animals when she joined the shelter in the Spring of 2020. With 5 years under her belt with the now-closed Harford Emergency & Referral Veterinary Services, Annie saw a lot and gained a significant amount of tech experience. “I love seeing a different side of animal medicine from the shelter end of things now,” she says. “It oftentimes feels more rewarding when we’re treating and helping sick animals that don’t have a home as opposed to the ones that do. I love seeing them get adopted into new homes. And I genuinely enjoy the positive team atmosphere here where everyone works together to provide the best care to the animals.” Annie’s own pets include Angel, her 10-year-old pittie, and 2 cats named Monkey and Poe. Annie tries to spend as much time as possible outdoors and on the water kayaking, swimming, or fishing. She even has her own boat!
Kitana Mercado
Animal Care
Kitana’s 3 years working at a doggy daycare prepared her well for transitioning into animal care at the shelter. She says she met all different types of pups: big, small, crazy, calm, and everything in between! “It was a great experience and taught me so much,” she explains. “My dream is to run a rescue of my own one day and this is a step in the right direction.” Like all of her co-workers, Kitana says she loves helping the animals who need it most and giving back to the community. Outside of the shelter Kitana likes to get lost, literally. “I love exploring random towns and hole-in-the-wall restaurants with amazing food. It’s unbeatable!” Her 2 Chihuahuas are named Suzee (brown one) and Lexee (black one).
  Nicky Myers
Vet Tech
Since childhood, Nicky has raised and fostered animals, so it was inevitable that she would become a veterinary technician, a job she’s been doing for over 7 years.”I love that our jobs make a difference in our community and the animals of Harford County,” she says. “I have the pleasure of working with some of the most passionate people around!” Outside of work, Nicky enjoys crafting, camping, horseback riding, and playing sports with her two young boys. “I love camping and experiencing everything with my family, both furry and human!” Her furry family includes Kayla, a 9-year-old Siberian Husky; Jax, a long-haired dachshund who’s 6; Rocket, a 3-year-old Chihuahua/Dachshund mix; Karu, a 3-year-old cat; and Ducky, a bearded dragon who’s 6.
  Kelly O’Connor
Adoptions Manager
Kelly joined our team in the fall of 2017 and enjoys helping the pets and people that come through the front doors. “I have grown up with pets my entire life,” she says. “From the time I was a very small child, I gush every time I see a cute critter!” It’s only fitting that animals have played a pivotal role in Kelly’s professional life. She’s worked as a pet portrait photographer, at a doggy daycare facility in Portland, Oregon, and at Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS). At BARCS Kelly was an animal care attendant for 2 years, a customer service rep for another 2 years and most recently was the resource coordinator. She also graduated from massage school. “I love to use those same relaxation techniques with dogs and cats in the shelter,” she says. Outside of work Kelly enjoys swimming, photography, camping, tattoos, listening to music, cooking and going out to new restaurants. Her 4-legged family includes 3 cats named Agent, Bishop and Archer; Rambler, a Newfoundland; and a mutt named Hobbs.
Angela Perrera
Adoptions Counselor
Ang is back! After a brief hiatus, Ang has returned to her role as an adoptions counselor to help animals and their people. “I grew up with animals,” she explains. “Being able to work with them only seemed natural to me!” Ang says she has many reasons why she loves working at HSHC, but what she treasures the most is processing an adoption. “I love being part of helping these precious animals find their new forever homes!” When she’s not making matches, Ang enjoys spending time with family and friends, taking trips and spending time with her dogs, all adopted from the shelter: Marlee, a poodle mix; Raegan, a pit bull mix; Millie, a shih tzu mix; and Boh, a spaniel mix.
Andrew Piccirillo
Adoptions Counselor
Andrew joined our team in the fall of 2018 and comes to HSHC after working at the Maryland SPCA for several years in their admissions and veterinary departments. “I love hearing happy adoption stories,” he says. “It’s very rewarding seeing the animals we take in grow and flourish and find good homes.” Outside of work, Andrew enjoys hiking, fishing, catching a new movie or going to concerts. He also admits that he’s a big ice hockey fan. Ultimately, Andrew says, “It’s my dream to travel to all the national parks!”
Erika Ponsiek
Administrative Assistant
Erika began her career with HSHC in April 2019 after a long stint as a volunteer. “I started volunteering in 2010 after trying to find the owner of a stray cat,” she says. “I soon discovered just how many stray cats there are and wanted to help.” Her own family of three cats are named Special Agent Jack Bauer, Dr. House, and Kelly Katpowski. “I also have a newt named Tron that I got as a college freshman because it was the only pet we could have in the dorms. He’s now 18 and would be a freshman himself!” Erika says she enjoys the camaraderie among the staff and volunteers at the shelter. “I love the positivity of everyone and working together to save lives and reunite families.” Outside of work, Erika loves photography and music and therefore goes to as many shows and takes as many photos as she can!
Lindsay Reich
Vet Tech
With a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Behavior and a Master’s degree in Biology from Towson University, 8 years of experience as a vet tech at several private practices, a stint as a zookeeper at a Maryland zoo, and time as a vet tech/keeper at a large cat sanctuary in Texas, Lindsay is more than ready to juggle all the responsibilities in our busy veterinary department! “I have also traveled to Africa on two different occasions to volunteer on wildlife sanctuaries and reserves,” she says. “While I absolutely love working with domesticated species, I have a true passion for working with large cats and various African mammals.” Lindsay has 5 house cats of her own: Ralphie, Banana, Carol, Dragon, and Binky, and all have been rescued in one way or another. When asked what she likes so far about working at the shelter, she says, “I love the diversity of each day and not knowing what will come through the door!” When she’s not at work, Lindsay enjoys spending time with her boyfriend, family and cats; hiking; and just relaxing.
  Clarke Schuyler
Maintenance Manager
Clarke joined HSHC in the spring of 2017 to maintain and repair the shelter’s buildings, grounds, equipment, and vehicles. “I am excited to take over the care of the building so the furry kids and their caregivers have an enjoyable place to be,” he says. Clarke has prior experience working on horse racing farms, and he’s a huge animal lover. “I have a little white Maltese named Iggie Pop Rocks and a wild and crazy cat I named Thumper Trump because when he runs, he sounds like an old Triumph motorcycle. In his spare time, Clarke enjoys spending time with his family and friends, riding his motorcycle and working on Harleys and Triumphs.
Maria Ayres
Animal Care
Maria joined the HSHC family in July 2012. Her own pet family consists of 4 cats, 2 fish tanks, 4 snakes and 1 lizard! Maria has volunteered at the Baltimore Zoo and she loves playing video games and hanging out with family and friends. Obviously Maria is an animal lover and she says she likes working at HSHC because it “feels like I’m making a difference in the lives of all the animals.”
Monica Weber Monica Weber
Animal Care
Since March of 2015 Monica has been helping to take care of all the animals here at HSHC and ensure that their environment is clean and tidy. Monica says that her job fulfills a passion that she’s had her whole life.  “Growing up in the hills of Tennessee, our family always had many different animals to take care of.  We had a raccoon and a razorback pig as pets.” Monica’s own pets include a long-haired guinea pig she calls Hippy Jim!
Bridget White
Foster & Rescue Coordinator
Bridget joined the HSHC family in January 2020 with many years under her belt as a vet tech. “I started my vet tech career at another shelter, then went to private practice. After almost 3 years in private practice, I realized that my heart is in shelter medicine.” When asked what she likes best about working at HSHC, she enthusiastically says, “being an advocate for homeless animals!” When she’s not helping animals, Bridget enjoys karaoke, crocheting and spending time with her husband; granddaughter, Margot; dogs Biscuits, Tyson, Val; and a bunch of rescued cats. “I especially love older cats and every year my husband and I adopt a hospice cat. I love being able to give them the best of everything with the time they have left.”