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New head of Erie County SPCA coming from Toledo, Ohio

The new executive director of the SPCA is coming to Buffalo after heading a similar agency in Toledo, Ohio, for the past three years.

Gary Willoughby II will lead the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Serving Erie County, upon the retirement of Barbara Carr in March.

Prior to his work in Toledo, Willoughby was president and CEO of the SPCA Albrecht Center in Aiken, S.C., for six years. Willoughby led both organizations through capital campaigns, and oversaw new facilities for each group during his tenure.

Both organizations also were named as Humane Society of the United States’ top 10 Emergency Placement Partners.

Willoughby holds a certificate in nonprofit management, a bachelor’s degree in communications and journalism from the University of Mobile in Alabama, a graduate certificate in gerontology and a master’s degree in public administration, both from Florida Gulf Coast University. Additionally, he is an active member of the Society of Animal Welfare Administration and the Rotary Club of Toledo.

From 1993 to 2007, Willoughby served as a volunteer and/or board member for various animal welfare organizations in Florida while working in the senior services field, and also served as a board member for the Florida Council on Aging and was a regional representative for the Meals on Wheels Association.

Willoughby developed a four-county Meals on Wheels for Pets program, and served as an advisory council member for the Southwest Florida Center for Positive Aging.

Willoughby and his wife of 25 years, Meghan, a North Tonawanda native, have three rescue dogs and two rescue cats, are vegan, and enjoy antiquing and traveling.

“Barbara Carr, her staff, volunteers, and the board of directors have obviously worked tirelessly to help so many animals, whether they be companion animals, wildlife, or farm animals,” Willoughby said. “I hope to do my best to follow in Barbara’s footsteps and continue all of the great work that has been done by this team.”

Carr announced in November that she would retire after 23 years with the second-oldest humane society in the country.

Her departure date is March 18.

“While I will no longer be leading this incredible organization, I will continue for the rest of my life to love the SPCA Serving Erie County,” she said in a statement.

“My heart will always be with this organization, with the animals, the volunteers, the staff, and the public, who all support the great work of creating a more compassionate community.”

email: citydesk@buffnews.com