All Paws On Deck

Anna Payton grew up dreaming of being a veterinarian. But while majoring in animal science at University of Illinois, she got an internship with DuPage County Animal Control, and from that moment on, her passion turned to animal shelters. Most recently, she was the director of Kendall County Animal control.

“Animal control is a little bit different from the humane society,” said Payton. “In addition to sheltering, we also did investigations, and registered dogs for rabies tags and did bite investigations for the county. But the shelter in itself is very similar. We took animals in, we assessed them, neutered them and then put them up for adoption.”

Payton officially became executive director for the Humane Society at the end of May, and in just one month has already seen a lot of changes.

You may immediately notice the switch from glass window squares to one massive front window that brings in natural light to help the building look bigger. There was also a facelift on the inside, from removing chipping paint and rust stains to adding new flooring and energy efficient lighting.

As for the animals, they’ve seen some changes too. The dog kennels are updated with new locks and a comforting interactive space. And the replacement of an old window gives the dogs a lot more fresh air.

The first order of business for Payton is to expand on the humane education programs already in place, such as the summer camp and the after school club. She also hopes to develop animal outreach.

“I certainly want to push past Naperville, since the name is Naperville AREA Humane Society, I don’t want to just pigeonhole ourselves to Naperville. I want to really be helping the outlying areas as well,” said Payton.

Payton hopes to make the Naperville Area Humane Society the first place people think of when adopting a dog or cat.

“I’ve been familiar with the organization for about ten years, so I knew going in that it was going to be a really great place to work, and I haven’t been disappointed! So I’m really excited to be here and I think we’re going to be doing some really great things in the next couple years,” said Payton.

For more information about the humane society or their animals up for adoption, visit

The Humane Society’s next event is the “Putts for Pets Golf Outing” at the Bolingbrook Golf Club on Monday, July 28.


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