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Crum to Lead Animal Control

Animal care director offers people, animal skills.

With four dogs, two cats and a penchant for public relations, Timothy “Tim” Crum has found his passion.

On Feb. 4, Crum will take over as director of the county’s Department of Animal Care and Control, where he will work with people and animals at the Animal Shelter on Charles Town Pike, or Route 9. Crum is replacing Robert Montgomery, who served in the position for the past six years before retiring in October 2002 with nearly 31 years of service with the county. Montgomery agreed to continue working part-time while the county searched for six months to fill his position and to help train Crum, who is 34.

Crum “strikes me as someone who can deal with people as well as animals,” said Ann Gallus, chairman of the Animal Advisory Committee.

Crum originally found his passion in 1998. Crum, who was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pa., had other plans when he started at the University of Pittsburgh. He wanted to be an architect, so he earned a bachelor of arts in the field, losing interest by the time he graduated in 1992. In the meantime, he worked at the university’s development office from 1986 to 1993 and realized he wanted to pursue a career in marketing, public relations and fund raising. That year, Crum took a job at York College at Pennsylvania to serve as director of development, remaining there until the mid-1990s when he returned to Pittsburgh to continue work in public relations and development for the university and hospital.

IN 1998, Crum found a “dream job” with the Animal Rescue League of Western Pennsylvania, also in Pittsburgh, as director of development and public relations. “It was a combination of what I was good at professionally and what I liked, which were pets,” he said, adding that he was getting “paid to do a hobby.”

“It was the first time in my professional life that I enjoyed all aspects of what I did,” he said.

In 2001, Crum and his wife Kristen Crum, moved to Bel Air, Md., where he was named executive director of the Humane Society of Harford County in Fallston. While he was at the Humane Society, dog adoptions increased by 107 percent and cat adoptions by 75 percent, while the pet euthanasia rate dropped 18 percent.

This year, Crum took Loudoun County’s directorship position for a “better opportunity,” he said, adding that the fast-growing county offers a “good opportunity to promote the adoption of pets.” He plans to increase the county’s animal adoption rate, the quality of animal care at the shelter and the shelter’s community presence, possibly by extending the hours the shelter is open and holding auxiliary adoptions out in the community.

“We were looking for someone with a proven track record in the community where he worked,” said Candy deButts, deputy county administrator, adding that the county sought a director who could increase the animal shelter’s visibility, build relations with other groups that work with animals and be “thoughtful” when determining the adoptability of animals by considering other options, such as behavior training, foster care or use of animal rescue leagues.

“The only tough situation is coming in on the heels of Rob Montgomery. He’s done a great job. I have tough shoes to fill,” Crum said. “I want to take what he’s done and continue with that.”

CRUM ALREADY likes where he will be working, he said. “The shelter environment is a great environment that is psychologically and physically comforting for the animals and staff,” he said. “I like the staff. You want to be surrounded by people who are talented, compassionate and skilled, and I saw that.”

“He showed right up front he was concerned about the staff and how they felt about him,” Gallus said.

Montgomery mentioned Crum’s plans to come to work in blue jeans while he learns the jobs of each staff member. “He’ll be a very hands-on person and will understand how things are being done,” he said. “He seems to be very warm and outward focused, a good PR-type person.”

Crum plans to move to Loudoun with his wife and their pets, a chocolate Labrador retriever, a black Labrador, a golden retriever and a mixed breed, along with two cats. Crum adopted one of the dogs and the two cats, and Kristen adopted the mixed breed.

“There’s the intrinsic award you get knowing your work saves lives of animals that don’t have a say,” Crum said. “There’s something more meaningful to knowing you saved a life or helped improve a life of a pet that didn’t have a chance.”