Board of Directors
Melita Hauge – President
Melita has been a member of PAWS for 6 years and became President in February. In addition to the duties of the President, she works as the Dog Adoption Coordinator helping to make sure the dogs are adopted into a good furever home.
Having been a life long resident of Pierre, Melita was originally involved with the Pierre Humane Society when they were located down by the current softball fields in a small shack. PAWS is now in a full service building that can care for dogs and cats in a clean, climate controlled environment until they can be adopted to a loving family.
In order to keep our Shelter doors open, Melita and the many volunteers at the Shelter host fundraising dinners 5-6 times a year. The monies collected from these dinners and the many donations that the community of Pierre/Ft. Pierre make to the Shelter, help to keep the dogs and cats in food, medicine and care. If you have a love of cats and/or dogs and want to become part of a great volunteer organization, the PAWS Animal Rescue can use your help. We are always in need of volunteers to help care for our animals.
Jen Uecker – Vice President
Jen and her husband Cole are longtime residents of Pierre. Her busy household also includes 2 teenage boys, a Rat Terrier, a 100lb Pit/Lab, a two year old German Shepard, 4 cats, and a bearded dragon. She became involved with PAWS when her family returned to Pierre after a few years of living in Yankton and was elected to the board in March 2017. She and the boys were active volunteers at Heartland Humane Society in Yankton. Jen is firm believer that the community must come together to take care of all living things. Her favorite moments so far have been watching the compassion of all the volunteers and witnessing the joy as animals find their forever homes. Jen can be found spending most of her time as General Manager of Dairy Queen. She expresses her creative side by sharing sweet concoctions through her specialty cake shop, Sugar Momma’s Custom Cakery. She also serves on the board for Pierre Swim Team. In her spare time, she’s working with Cole on any one of the continuous remodeling projects on their home. Jen is excited to share her event planning and fundraising experience with PAWS!
Betty Truax – Treasurer
Betty became a member of PAWS around 25 years ago. She has been actively involved including Canine Coordinator and various positions on the Board. Dogs were her first love, but cats have also worked their way into her heart and home. Betty currently has two dogs and four cats which she came to own, “Not really on purpose. They needed me or I needed them”. She continues to take in foster dogs that need special attention until they are ready for adoption, taking great joy in seeing them recover and flourish. Betty has also taken in stray pets on her own. From a litter of kittens that she caught on the causeway, kittens and cats at Oahe Damn, dogs from reservations and outlying areas. These pets get thorough vet care and are re-homed.
Angie Taylor – Secretary
Angie has a full time job as an Insurance Agent at Bankwest. She is married and has two boys that also volunteer at Paws. Spencer is 15 & Jacoby is 11. She grew up with a love of animals because we always had cats & dogs! Her family currently has 3 spoiled dogs. We started volunteering late last summer because we knew there were dogs that needed someone to love them, and we have plenty of love to give.
Molly Jahraus – Board Member
Lynn Valenti – Board Member
Lynne Valenti lives in Pierre and has four kids; two live in Sioux Falls and two are in Riggs High School.
I have been a volunteer working with our cats for about two years. I became a volunteer after adopting three cats from PAWS and seeing how great the Organization is and how committed the volunteers are to saving and caring for our area’s homeless cats and dogs. I have always had a deep love for animals. It came to me at an early age from my dad, who was a police officer. He would often bring home strays that he had picked up when the City Pound was full. Some we would keep, while others we would care for until we could find them a home for them. I can’t imagine my life or family without the furry, four-legged members in it.
Kristi Thompson – Board Member