ANDERSON — Sitting in a crammed, narrow office she shares with other employees and a dog at 613 Dewey St., Maleah Stringer recalls how she ended up in charge of Anderson’s animal shelter.
It’s far from the animal sanctuary Stringer imagined as a little girl. Back then, she didn't realize the importance of money in helping animals.
“It was never in my vision to be the shelter director of Anderson,” she said. “That was not something I thought, ‘Oh gosh, that’s the job I want.’”
Stringer said being the executive director of the Animal Protection League is one of the hardest jobs she’s had. Since taking over management of the Anderson Animal Shelter in 2009, she has worked closely with animal advocates, abusers and donors, all while constantly searching for money to aid the cause.
Because of her hard work and advocacy for animals, as well as the key role she played in initiating a tougher local animal protection ordinance, Stringer has been selected as The Herald Bulletin's Community Person of the Year for 2013.
The award, along with a check for $1,000 to a charity of the award-winner's choice, is given by The Herald Bulletin’s editorial board, which considers nominations from readers. Stringer chose the Animal Protection League to receive the $1,000 donation.
Her love of animals was nurtured during her childhood, much of which was spent in Anderson. As a child, she had a cat, a dog and rabbits. She witnessed animal abuse and neglect and vowed to do something about it.
Stringer graduated from Madison Heights High School and Indiana University, with a degree in English/liberal arts. In 2003, she founded the Animal Protection League, and in 2006 she directed the Indiana chapter of the 2nd Chance at Life greyhound program in five prisons.
When the City of Anderson had management and operations problems at its animal shelter it turned to her in 2009 to manage the facility. Two years later, the Animal Protection League, with Stringer as director, assumed operation of the shelter.