Marin Humane is celebrating the very special anniversary of one of its most notable employees, Animal Services Director Captain Cindy Machado.

Years of employment: 35

First job at Marin Humane: Animal Services Officer

First animal cruelty case: “I was involved in the rescue of a horse who had been severely abused. That case made me determined to always protect animals from their abusers.”

On the changing role of animal services: “There were many more stray dogs running around Marin in the 1980s and more cases of animal cruelty and neglect. But thanks to visionary leadership, things have significantly changed for the better in Marin. Paramount have been our efforts to educate the community about responsible pet guardianship and respect toward all animals. In 1973, Marin Humane opened the first subsidized spay/neuter clinic in California. And in 1988, we were the first shelter to mandate that all shelter animals be microchipped. Considered pioneering at the time, these actions have paved the way in significantly reducing pet overpopulation in our community.”

On becoming a national expert on animal welfare issues: “I feel lucky to be in a position where I can utilize my years of experience to make an impact beyond our county. I’ve traveled around the country to train law enforcement on circus inspections, I’ve led animal rescue teams in the wake of hurricanes in the south and fires to our north, and I’ve been active in groundbreaking legislation for farm animals.”

Advice for people new to the animal welfare field: “Remember that behind every animal is a person. We have to hone our skills of working effectively with people to best serve animals.”

Future plans: “You’ll have to pull me away from this place when I’m in my eighties. As long as I’m helpful and useful, this is where I will be!”