The Employee of the Year Selection Committee recommended Ms. Victoria L. Riles as the 2019 Employee of the Year.
“Victoria has been with Animal Services for just under two years, but in that time has made a significant impact on our Division and the City as a whole.” said Marli Drum, Superintendant, Animal Services for the City of Columbia.
While still fairly new at our Division over a year ago, Victoria was tasked with building our fledgling Foster Program and other outreach efforts. Fostering is critical to any animal shelter program to save the number of lives needed to assist in becoming a No Kill Community. Neither she nor our Division knew for certain the amount of work it would take, the commitment involved and the sheer number of pets that would eventually cycle through this program. Since it started in mid 2017, over 800 kittens/cats & puppies/dogs have been helped and their lives even saved. 734 of those were helped in 2018 alone. This is no small effort for one individual.
Countless times a box of weeks old kittens would arrive at 4:50pm on a Friday afternoon, or a mama dog and newborn puppies would come in, sometimes multiple litters in a single day. All would need a foster home and need it practically right away. Without that foster home in a matter of hours, many of those tiny babies might have been euthanized due to being unable to care for themselves.
Victoria works endlessly to find new foster parents reaching out via social media, encouraging family and friends to tell more family and friends and networking with anyone she can, to find more volunteers. Phone calls can be the norm late into the evening, troubleshooting, reassuring new foster parents or just answering a question. To help them all, she created a group network so they can all reach out to each other if needed to share ideas and tips.
In addition to this outstanding Foster Program, Victoria has worked with many businesses around town for off-site adoption events, created flyers for fun in-shelter adoption events and spearheaded a meet and greet gathering at the shelter to educate potential new foster parents and collect much needed supplies to get ready for spring when the next round of large scale fostering begins.
Without someone as dedicated as Victoria, this important, life-saving program, would not be nearly as successful. Her efforts have literally meant everything to hundreds of adorable kittens, puppies, cats and dogs. Animal Services and the City of Columbia are fortunate to have such an employee.