Regina Humane Society (RHS) Executive Director Lisa Koch has dedicated the past 30 years to improving the lives of animals and people in Regina.
Lisa joined the RHS on August 6, 1991, as a young educator and very quickly demonstrated her passion and professionalism towards the improvement of animal welfare, advocacy and humane education, particularly with youth. She quickly became a popular visitor to Regina schools as she brought her message of compassion, empathy and caring.
Lisa’s dedication to our community and never-ending compassion led her to the position of Executive Director in June 2007, where her understanding of the power of education and engagement transformed the Society into a relevant, professional and community-leading organization. Lisa is now recognized across Canada as a leader in the animal welfare movement, and under her leadership, the Society has grown, matured and become one of the most respected organizations of its kind in Canada. In fact, in 2012, the RHS was awarded the International Summit for Urban Animals, Animal Sheltering Award recognizing the organization’s successful strategies in building healthy communities for pets and people.
Within a year of taking the reigns of the RHS, Lisa forged a fair funding agreement with the City of Regina for the provision of City bylaw enforcement and impound services – an agreement that is still in effect today. She formed partnerships with local retailers to become adoption centres for shelter pets and blazed new trails by opening the province’s first humane society in-house animal hospital in 2008 and acquiring Canada’s first mobile spay and neuter clinic that same year. She also worked with the City of Regina to create a subsidized spay/neuter program so that socio-economic challenges were not barriers to pet ownership and solutions to the over-population of pets were supported.
Powered by a deep sense of integrity and caring, Lisa’s guidance has meant that tens of thousands of animals have been saved from homelessness, neglect and abuse and her work has resulted in the creation of more new pet families than can be counted. She has championed animals, provided a voice to those who had none and given rise to a community built on caring for one another, integrity and inclusion.
Almost ten years ago, Lisa recognized that the RHS facility was worn, outdated and was costing lives every year. She began developing a vision and strategy to construct a new facility that would be industry-leading, safe and comfortable for the animals and the hub of animal welfare where the bond between animals and humans was celebrated every day. That vision is coming to life, as the design of the new Animal Community Centre is underway, with construction expected to begin by spring 2022.
While Lisa’s individual efforts and leadership have been remarkable, she has never lost sight of the fact that it takes a community to effect change and growth. She is never to busy to speak with a donor, volunteer or someone who is taking their new furry friend home for the first time and she knows that we are stronger together. No matter how happy or sad a situation might be, she always takes on each day with determination, empathy and grace.
Lisa, on behalf of the thousands of animals and families whose lives you have touched, thank you. You have truly built families and made our community a better place to be.
RHS Board members, staff, family and friends marked Lisa’s anniversary with a surprise celebration on August 6, 2021.