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 Marvin, an adopted Boston Terrier.
Maddy Barranco
Animal Care
Maddy’s very first word as a toddler was “cat” and she’s been obsessed with them ever since! Like some of her co-workers, Maddy was in 4-H as a young adult and raised sheep and chickens. She’s also been a pet sitter for over 17 years! After graduation she worked as a park naturalist caring for snakes, turtles and other wildlife. “I like getting to know the cats here at the shelter,” Maddy says. “It’s a privilege making sure they are as comfortable and happy as possible during their time with us.” Maddy enjoys hanging out with family and friends, going on country drives and discovering new places to eat or shop, and travelling to national parks. Her own pets include 6 chickens and 3 cats named Big Boy, Bebe and Kelly.
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!
Reed Casson
Animal Care
With a passion for animals that took root as a child, Reed is a great addition to our dog team. He brings experience working as a dog trainer and at a local doggie daycare. Both positions allowed him to explore his interest in animals and learn dog behavior, but he still felt something was missing. At the shelter, Reed is able to use all he has learned to help the dogs blossom and realize their full potential. “I like working at HSHC to help the dogs find homes and work in a field that I’m passionate about,” he explains. “My dream job would be to own my own rescue organization!” Outside of work, Reed enjoys anime, playing fighting games and tournaments, writing, and spending time with his own dogs, 2 Huskies named Botan and Luffy and a Border Collie/German Shepherd mix named Nami.
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.
Liz Corbin
Animal Care
Animal Care is the job’s name, but providing the absolute best care for our dogs is the game, and Liz plays the game well! “Growing up with dogs, I knew from a young age I wanted to work with animals because I truly enjoyed caring for them and helping them any way I could,” she says. “From working at animal hospitals, to owning my own pet sitting business, to now working at HSHC, I have enjoyed getting to know all types of four legged fur friends.”  As part of her job, Liz helps introduce prospective adopters to their new dog as part of the meet and greet process. “To be able to take care and love all the animals here until they find their forever home is the best feeling.” At home Liz and her husband Scott have 3 cats (Leroy, Emily & Willow) and a Shih Tzu named Lil Susie Cream Cheese who runs the house. Since moving here from California 2019 the family enjoys taking drives and exploring their new home state.
Patty Di Marzo
Adoptions Counselor
Patty is one of the friendly faces at our busy front desk. She helps make adoption matches, answers questions and helps with surrenders, among many other tasks. “I grew up with pets and can’t remember a time in my life when an animal was not a part of it,” she says. Prior to working at the shelter, Patty was a volunteer. “What I like most about working at HSHC is the dedication that each staff member brings to ensuring animals are cared for and adopted to their forever homes.” When she’s not at work, Patty enjoys yoga, sitting by her pool, and walking with her dogs, brothers Miko and Cooper, and a spoiled Chihuahua named Lilly. “Even on my worst days, seeing a wagging tail or an animal getting to live its best life is more than I could ask for.”
Sarah Esbenshade
Animal Care
Sarah’s career with animals started early. “I’ve grown up with pets being a huge part of my life,” she remarks. “I followed in my sister’s footsteps and did a lot with 4H like raising goats and rabbits.” But Sarah says her favorite and most rewarding volunteer gig was raising and training puppies to serve as guides for the blind for the nonprofit, The Seeing Eye. “After graduating from vet tech school, I went to work in TN for a few years and started fostering dogs for the local humane society. I loved every bit of it!” Outside of work, Sarah loves hiking, camping, and kayaking with Captain, her 4-year-old pit bull mix. Her other pets are Yuki, a 6-year-old Golden Retriever; a 1-year-old cat named Chaos; and 2 Nubian goats, Woody and Jessie.
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.
Danielle Holbrook
Animal Care
To say that Danielle has oodles of animal care experience is putting it mildly! And it all started as a child. “I grew up working with animals,” she says. “I competed in rodeos and trained horses all through school, and I also raised cattle, lambs and rabbits for showing at the fair.” Her list of former jobs is impressive as well with stints at the New Smyrna Beach Humane Society, the Humane Society of St. Thomas, the Central Florida Zoo, and Silver Springs Theme Park as the wildlife education coordinator and lead of the reptile/entertainment department. And if that wasn’t enough, she’s also fostered for many different rescue groups when she lived in Florida and Texas. When Danielle isn’t at work, she enjoys hiking and being outdoors in her garden; taking care of her 5 Poison Dart frogs, 2 Leopard geckos and veiled Chameleon; and cuddling on the couch with a good book and dogs Stewie and Roger. “My husband and I love to travel the world and see wildlife. We have traveled to Costa Rica, seen the elephants and tigers in Thailand, gone on safari in South Africa, snorkeled with the sea turtles in the British Virgin Islands, and trekked through the Amazon rainforest in Peru.”
 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, since 2006. Erin holds a BA in Communications from Elizabethtown College with dual minors in Business Administration and Visual Arts.
  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.
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.
Diana Roark
Volunteer Coordinator
Diana has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to caring for animals and introducing them to prospective new families. “My job experiences include many years of customer service-related jobs. I guess you could say I’m not only an animal lover but also a people person.” She once served as the operations manager at a tourist attraction in Lancaster, PA called The Amish Farm & House. She was in charge of caring for the farm animals there as well as giving German/bilingual tours of the Amish countryside and a whole host of other managerial duties. Most recently, she was with Furever Safe Rescue where she evaluated dogs, provided for their needs and interviewed potential adopters. “It’s become a passion of mine to help dogs and people live together in harmony and be the voice for animals in need.” Diana enjoys spending time outdoors with her children, dogs and fiancé, going on motorcycle rides, and hanging with friends. Her own pets include Geneva the perfect mutt, Brandy a red nose pit bull, and Ellie a Staffordshire terrier mix.
  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 Troutman
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!