Shaina Mugford, who started July 1 as the Ark's new administrator, cuddles on the the kittens housed at the shelter. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY JOHANNA S. BILLINGS

New Ark administrator to guide shelter through changes

CHERRYFIELD — The Ark has a new leader. Instead of preparing for a flood, however, Shaina Mugford plans to recruit helpers for the Cherryfield-based animal shelter.

“One of my goals is to put together a stronger volunteer base,” said Mugford, who began her duties July 1.

Right now, the shelter has about a half dozen people donating their time. Mugford wants to double that number. She is looking for people interested in specific roles such as socializing animals, answering the phone and site maintenance. Information on available opportunities is spelled out on the shelter’s website at

“I got a lot more specific than we have in the past,” she said, explaining the shelter’s volunteer program had been informal and unstructured.

Getting volunteers in place to assist the six-member shelter staff is especially important, considering the shelter’s long-term goals.

“We’re getting ready to build a new shelter and the new shelter is going to have almost double the capacity,” she said.

Plans call for the new shelter to be constructed on the Barber Lane site, across the driveway from the current building. A timeline for construction has yet to be established. The existing building, which currently houses 18 dogs and more than 40 cats, will remain standing.

“We’re not going to tear it down. We’re going to use it for something,” Mugford said.

Before coming to the Ark, Mugford was a teacher at Narraguagus Junior/Senior High School. She saw an ad for the position at the Ark in February and applied because she had the skills the board was seeking, including experience in management, fundraising and grant writing.

“I really enjoy writing and, honestly, I enjoy people,” said Mugford, a Jonesboro resident who is originally from Machias.

She enjoys working with animals, having served as an animal control officer in Machiasport several years ago. She is also a volunteer for the Underhound Railroad, a network of Maine volunteers who rescue, foster and find homes for homeless dogs without the aid of a brick-and-mortar shelter.

“I actually have the passion,” she said. “To be able to go to work every day with people who have the exact same passion as I do is pretty amazing.”


Johanna S. Billings

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Johanna S. Billings covers eastern Hancock County and western Washington County. An avid photographer, she lives in Steuben with her husband and several cats. She welcomes tips and story ideas. Email her at [email protected]

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