Our History

The City of Rochester assumed operational control of Rochester Animal Services in July 2000, when the Humane Society at Lollypop Farm discontinued the contractual agreement with the City, which had been in place for the previous 18-20 years. During the transition, Chris Fitzgerald was hired as the City’s first Director of Animal Services along with a staff of animal care technicians, animal control officers, supervisors, and a receptionist. It was immediately apparent that there were limitations that prevented Animal Services from saving more lives and improving care for shelter animals.

Beginning in 2001, Mr. Fitzgerald began researching non-profit organizations that support other government entities including libraries, cemeteries, zoos, and animal shelters. His intention was to facilitate the formation of a similar Friends group for Animal Services and was advised to find a person to volunteer to create the group. Potential committee volunteers and board members were recruited into the discussion but little formal progress was made until the right person arrived to champion the effort.

In February 2005, Jennifer Brown met with Mr. Fitzgerald to find out what she could do to help the shelter and the animals. Mr. Fitzgerald explained the challenges facing the organization, the distinction between Animal Services and not-for-profit animal shelters, and the restrictions in fundraising as a municipal animal care and control agency. Following that initial meeting, Ms. Brown adopted her husky, Nanook, from the shelter and became a volunteer, walking dogs and assisting with special events. Simultaneously, Ms. Brown began the process of forming a separate not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization to provide support and resources to Rochester Animal Services. Small informational meetings began in January 2006 to explain the group’s purpose and to recruit members. Friends of Verona Street Animal Shelter officially formed in May 2006, with the appointment of directors and the election of its first officers. The Friends have been operating under the name Verona Street Animal Society since that time.


The Board of Directors meets at least quarterly to assist in planning strategic efforts to help Rochester Animal Services become the premier municipal animal care and control organization in New York State and beyond. Each director serves a two-year term. Directors also serve on committees such as Finance, Marketing/Communications, and Resource Development, working closely with the City’s Director of Animal Services and a team of volunteer committee members to ensure Animal Services’ mission is fulfilled.

  • Jennifer Brown – Board Chairperson
  • Michael Holvey – Vice Chairperson
  • Angela Krezmer – Treasurer
  • Leanne Fisher – Secretary
  • Chris Fitzgerald – Ex Officio
  • Perry Duckles
  • Amy Warner


Monday – Saturday (as of December 16, 2020)
9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Closed Sundays

To learn about serving the Verona Street Animal Society on a committee or on the Board of Directors, please send an email to info@vsas.org.