After more that 24 years at the reins of the Days End Farm Horse Rescue, founder and Executive Director Kathleen Schwartz-Howe is retiring, the organization announced Friday.
According to a news release, Schwartz-Howe will step down on Sept. 15 and will be replaced by Assistant Executive Director Erin Ochoa, who was unanimously appointed by the organization's Board of Directors.
"I am leaving the organization in excellent hands - I truly could not ask for a better group of individuals and have full confidence in their ability to carry on the mission of Days End Farm Horse Rescue,” Schwartz-Howe said.
"(I am) looking forward to resting, spending time with my family including my many grandchildren and traveling with my husband Jerry.”
Schwartz-Howe helped build DEFHR from an idea into a nationally recognized, all-breed equine rescue that works closely with Animal Control professions on the rescue and rehabilitation of horses, according to the release.
Beyond her work with DEFHR, Schwartz-Howe was involved in establishing the Maryland Horse Council’s Minimum Standards of Care for Equines and advocated for the enactment of the state law that holds people legally accountable in Maryland when they abuse and neglect horses in their care, according to the release.
“(I am) proud to have witnessed all that Kathy and the organization have accomplished for horses, the community and the state of Maryland," said board member Carolyn Ratliff, who is also the executive director of The Humane Society of Carroll County.
"DEFHR is priceless, and has been a key component in almost every severe equine cruelty investigation in Maryland for the past 20 years.”
Ochoa, Schwartz-Howe's replacement, first joined the organization in 2005 as Equine Programs Director, according to the release. As part of her responsibilities, she has profiled equine investigation cases throughout Maryland and has acted as lead coordinator on numerous cruelty cases involving legal proceedings. She has been managing DEFHR's programs for the last five years and overseeing the organization as a whole for the past year.
"We chose Erin because of her strong technical and leadership skills and long, close association with DEFHR," said Suzanne Schooler, chair of the board of directors. "She has the passion, motivation, energy and strategic vision to carry out DEFHR’s mission going forward.”Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun