Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter Reaffirms Commitment to Being Premier Animal Welfare Community Center as it Celebrates its 50th Anniversary

  • Names Lorri Caffrey as permanent Executive Director and Jessica Garrison, Veterinary Technician, as shelter manager 
  • Caffrey, with over 17 years of non-profit management experience, and Garrison with over a decade of shelter veterinary work, bring the expertise needed to help Mt. Pleasant achieve its mission of building a community of people and organizations working together to save today’s, and prevent tomorrow’s, abused, neglected and homeless animals  
  • New Appointments continue the shelter’s 50-year history of providing exceptional care for resident pets and reaffirming Mt. Pleasant’s commitment to serving the community for many more years  

East Hanover, NJ, February, 2021 – Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter, an East Hanover, NJ animal shelter that promotes the fostering, adoption and care of rescue dogs and cats, today announced that Lorri Caffrey, the shelter’s interim Executive Director since November 2020, will fill the role permanently, effective immediately. Jessica Garrison was also named shelter manager.  

The moves come following Mt. Pleasant joining the Fear Free Shelters movement, the appointment of Mary Altomare, DVM as new resident veterinarian, and the appointment of other highly trained veterinary staff. The non-profit experience of Caffrey and the shelter expertise of Garrison strengthen the shelter’s ability to advance its mission in 2021 and beyond. 

“I am excited to build upon the work we have done to implement our long-term strategy of developing Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter into a community-focused animal welfare center for Northern New Jersey. With our new Fear Free Shelter certified staff and animal-focused protocols, Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter is better positioned than ever to provide the care and support the animals of our community need and deserve,” said Caffrey. 

In addition, the Mt. Pleasant staff recently became one of the few in the area to be certified by the Fear Free Shelters Program. The staff received training to use specialized techniques and practices which reduce symptoms of fear, anxiety, and stress in their resident pets, providing them a better quality of life during their shelter stay. 

These changes are part of an ongoing strategy to better achieve the shelter’s mission to “build a community of people and organizations working together to save today’s, and prevent tomorrow’s, abused, neglected and homeless animals.” As part of its strategic planning process, the Mt. Pleasant board of directors also hired animal welfare strategist and author of the Best Practice Playbook for Animal Shelters, Dr. Sara Pizano. 

These steps strengthen the organization’s 50-year commitment to animal-centered care, including the ability to quickly identify and provide the right care needed for each animal to reduce their length of stay at the shelter, and free up capacity to care for more animals. In addition, Mt. Pleasant is working to expand its community outreach program of providing pet food to struggling pet owners by partnering with pet food pantries in the area.  

“Lorri has demonstrated exceptional leadership in the last three months, taking the helm of Mt. Pleasant at a time when our shelter stood at a crossroads,” said Henry Ristuccia, President of Mt. Pleasant’s Board of Directors. “With Lorri as our new Executive Director, we are confident Mt. Pleasant is well positioned to meet the growing needs of our community as we embark on our next 50 years of helping animals in need.”  

About Lorri Caffrey  

Lorri Caffrey has over 17 years of work experience in nonprofits, spending much of that time working with volunteers, managing fundraisers, and cultivating relationships with the community. Born and raised in Cedar Grove, Caffrey has been a resident of Verona for the past 20 years. She is a co-founder and board member of the SUDC Foundation, which supports people affected by a sudden unexplained death in childhood, and served on the Junior Woman’s Club of Verona, where she helped develop programs like Packs with Purpose, which provides school supplies to children in need in Verona. 

About Jessica Garrison 

Jessica Garrison has over 15 years of animal welfare and management experience with extensive knowledge of veterinary care both in private practice and in animal shelters. Jessica received her veterinary technician education at Penn Foster and received her Animal Control Officer certification from Bergen County Community College. With her love for animals as a driving force to further her education, Jessica also holds many certifications, one of them in animal behavior. 

About Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter 

Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter’s mission is to build a community of people and organizations working together to save today’s, and prevent tomorrow’s, abused, neglected and homeless animals. It does this by delivering the highest level of animal care to prepare today’s animals in need for their future homes, bringing together the cats and dogs who need a loving family with the people who want them, and by providing community services and resources to ensure every animal has a safe and healthy life.  Feedback and suggestions are welcome and should be directed to