From the Summer 2019 Issue
Mandy Evans is not afraid to bring innovation to animal welfare, which has proven to benefit our shelter, along with other shelters across the nation.
As executive director of the Panhandle Animal Shelter in Ponderay the past eight years, the tenacious Evans has challenged traditional practices and thoughts.
“We believe helping animals starts with supporting their owners. This means bringing empathy, understanding, and resources to our community that reach far beyond our shelter walls.”
Evans created the Home to Home program, allowing pet owners who need to surrender to the shelter another option. Bypassing the shelter reduces stress for both the animal and its family. Her influence has spread and now this program is used in 10 states. She often consults with shelters throughout the nation.
Surprisingly, Evans has an identical twin sister named Melanie who runs an animal shelter in Pleasanton, California, and they consult each other frequently. “Growing up they called us the ‘M and M’ twins,” she said.
Evans left California, where she was chartering cruise ships, for Sandpoint, drawn to a better way of life and a stronger sense of community. She describes herself as a “passionate influencer,” which observers might describe as a generosity of spirit for others. Her passion is demonstrated in the amazing work the shelter is accomplishing.
The organization has increased the animals helped annually from 1,200 to more than 5,000. The majority of their work happens within the community, either through their Pets for Life program, where a staff person is knocking on doors to assist owners and their pets, neutering pets through their low-cost voucher and community cat programs, or helping community members keep their pets or rehome them through their Home To Home program and helpline.
When she is not working for our community’s animals, Evans needle felts, enjoys her time with her family (which includes a dog), and serves on the Sandpoint Waldorf School Board.
“I believe in people and I feel so blessed to be a part of this community,” Evans said.