Our Staff

Our staff is a unique blend of dreamers, idealists, and optimists committed to being change agents in our community. To learn more about our staff, read the bios listed below. Further down the page is our Board of Directors.

 Jennifer Bitner, Executive Director

I have spent the last 17 years as an advocate for others in various non-profit organizations. From mothers and babies to cancer patients and now to animals in our community at large, I have a heart and passion for those that need a little help along the way. Pets have always been a part of my family, and I look forward to leading the Pensacola Humane Society to adopt the shelter pets into loving homes and families. Heart, Paw, People is the foundation for what we will continue to promote as we work towards the goal of our area becoming a No-Kill community and increased adoption numbers of the animals in our care. I am both privileged and humbled to have been chosen as the Executive Director of the Pensacola Humane Society. I know the passion and commitment of the staff, the Board of Directors, and our loyal volunteers will provide and enable us as an organization to not only meet but exceed or goals and expectations. I look forward to partnering with our community to expand our pawprint, grow our programs and services and find a loving home for every animal that finds it's way to the shelter.

Emily Shelton, Volunteer Coordinator

Emily grew up in Navarre, FL though traveled from North Carolina to California to Germany. Family brought her and her husband back to the Pensacola area and they wouldn’t have it any other way. She has always had a love for animals and now is able to help animals full time! Emily has three cats and one dog, all of which were rescued from animal shelters or off the streets. Her passion is to see the continued growth of the Humane Society’s mission in the community. Additionally, she looks forward to serving the wonderful volunteer family at the shelter.



 Darra Flanagan, Event Coordinator

Darra comes to Pensacola Humane Society with a 25 year background in producing events, both as an Artistic Director for pre-professional and professional dance companies and as an event coordinator for multiple American Cancer Society campaigns. Darra moved to Pensacola in 2014 with her husband, Leo, and their resident miscreant, Turbo. It’s true, Darra was a foster fail as the 2 year old, 7 pound Chihuahua/Chinese Hairless Crested mix, who still had his dew claws and a pellet lodged permanently in his chest, came into her home and took over her heart. Eleven years later Turbo is still the star of the home (and Doggie Camp!) and loves living the Florida life, as do his faithful servants, Darra and Leo. Darra is excited to bring her enthusiasm and abiding love for animals to PHS as well as her talents in creating events that the animal loving community will love and support locally.

Kendra Harris, Lead Kennel Technician Supervisor

Kendra Harris is a life-long resident of Florida and could not imagine living anywhere else because of all the beautiful creeks, ponds and rivers. Kendra is happily married with two boys who also share her love for animals.  She has 8 animals : 2- Chiweenie mixes,  a Golden retriever, a Pitbull mix, a Shih Tzu Dachshund mix, 2- FIV positive cats and one stray cat.    All are rescue pets.  As you can see, her passion for animals is evident and there is no other job in the world that would make her happier than working at the Pensacola Humane Society.  She has a special touch with dogs that are aggressive or shy, so she’s a great addition to the team.


Melina Messenger, Lead Adoption Counselor Supervisor

Melina is from Pennsylvania but relocated to Florida to be closer to family and because of an intense dislike of snow. Her background is a Bachelors in Geography with a concentration in Environmental Studies but her passion is animals. At home, she has an 11-year-old cat named Slimer, a 7.5-year-old Catahoula/Dane mix named Max, a 7.5-year-old Norwegian Elkhound mix named Kahlan, a 2-year-old Ragdoll cat named "Sully" who was born without eyes, a 2.5 year old German Shepherd/Husky mix with severe anxieties, a 5-month-old Persian mixed cat named Mazikeen, a 5-month-old cat named Lucifer, and one outdoor 'feral' named Voldemort. Her hobbies center mostly around reading, fostering innumerable kittens, and volunteering at the Pensacola Humane Society on her time off.


Andrea Melendez, Adoption Counselor

Andrea moved to Pensacola from the San Francisco Bay Area in 2014 to attend the university of west Florida to pursue a bachelor's in computer science. She only had one cat when she moved here but now she has a dog, two cats and two ferrets. She planned to move overseas after finishing her schooling, but after living in Florida for a couple of years, she's decided she would not mind staying here.




Jessica Gehres











 Celina Seibert, Adoption Counselor

Celina moved to Florida from Pennsylvania with her husband, Matt, and their two dogs named Mowgli, a little Bishon, and Ayla, a hound mix. Matt is in the Air Force which is why they moved to Florida. Celina's hobbies include reading, learning as much as possible about dog training, and being outdoors. On her days off Celina makes time to come to the Pensacola Humane Society as a volunteer to help work with some of the dogs that need training.




Matthew Cowan, Weekend Kennel Supervisor

Matthew moved from Pennsylvania with his dog Kahlan, a 7.5 year old Norwegian Elkhound. His background is extremely diverse but his family has always been animal lovers. His parents bred and showed dogs when he was younger so he has experience with many different breeds. Matthew's hobbies include SCA, online games, D&D, geology, and anything pirate.


 Aurora Fajardo, Weekend Adoption Supervisor

Aurora was raised in Alaska and moved to Pensacola with her active duty military husband in 2015. They have 3 dogs total. They moved down with a small dog and a large dog and adopted a medium-sized from Pensacola Humane Society. It is important to her that her dogs feel loved and safe, and she extends this to all pets that she works with. When she's not at Pensacola Humane Society, Aurora is pursuing a bachelor's degree in nursing.




Claire Martinez, Foster Coordinator

Claire was born and raised in Pensacola, FL. After graduating from FSU--go noles!--she moved to Nashville to explore music and writing for several years. Recently, she and her husband moved back to Pensacola permanently to be near family. After rescuing her dog, Taco, she knew she wanted to help homeless animals find their forever homes. When she isn't working at the Pensacola Humane society she enjoys reading, going to the beach, and attempting to cook new recipes. 




Liana Rathbun, Adoption Counselor

Liana comes to us from Alaska and her husband is in the Air Force. They moved with their dog, Abigail, and cat, Edward. Liana's hobbies include playing fetch, going hiking, and swimming with Abigail and then cuddling with Edward in the evenings.







Jasmine Noffsinger, Kennel Technician

Chicago native, Jasmine moved to Pensacola in 2015. Jasmine has been a lover of animals all of her life and has always had dogs, cats, rodents, snakes and many other critters around. She plans on being a k9 handler for the Escambia County Sheriff’s office. Currently, she owns an American Bully named Cerberus and a polydactyl Hemingway cat named Luna. She rescued Luna at 6 weeks old out of a ditch in 2014 and Cerberus is a show dog. 




Mark Sortino, Intern Volunteer Assistant

Mark is the volunteer coordinator intern at PHS.  Working here since Last September, he trains new volunteers and helps manage the online volunteer database.   He is a senior at UWF and is majoring in supply chain logistics. He has three cats: Yoda, Roxy, and Eve. His hobbies include running, kayaking and hiking.





Meet our medical staff HERE.


 Board of Directors

The Board of Directors are passionate advocates for community change and embody the Pensacola Humane Society’s vision and principles. They are elected into office annually. Below are the members of our current Board of Directors.

  • Joshua Carter, Board Chairman
  • Paul Silivos, Vice Chairman
  • Ceil Reese, Secretary
  • Barbara Sawyer, Treasurer
  • Eloise De Varona, Board Member 
  • Sandra Porras, Board Member
  • Skip Vogelsang, Board Member
  • Kat Denkler, Board Member
  • Danielle Mullet, Board Member
  • Hank Gonzales, Board Member
  • Sally Fox, Board Member
  • Tara Peterson, Board Member
  • Kacee Bidnick, Board Member
  • Reid Torgersen, Board Member
  • Cici Sekhon, Board Member