Skip to main content
Click Here For COVID-19 Vaccine Information
Franklin County Ohio Logo

Commissioners Hire New Dog Shelter Director

Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Tyler Lowry, Franklin County Commissioners, 614/525-6630
Robin Ross, Franklin County Commissioners, 614/525-2392

The Franklin County Commissioners announced this morning that Donald Winstel will be hired as the head of the county’s Department of Animal Care and Control, which oversees the county dog shelter. Winstel was most recently the Chief Operating Officer for the Ohio Wildlife Center, and is a previous director of Franklin County Animal Care and Control. He’ll start work as director of the department and the shelter again on September 6th.

“Don Winstel has a stellar record of working with animals and serving the public, from the Zoo and the Ohio Wildlife Center to his previous time at the Dog Shelter,” said Board of Commissioners President John O’Grady. “We’re really glad to be able to welcome him back onboard.”

The previous director of Animal Care and Control left the department in March of this year to pursue an opportunity to run for political office out of state. Winstel led the agency from March of 2009 until June of 2011. During his tenure, shelter operations were modernized, the department transitioned to a new computerized records system, and the daily dog population was reduced by 30% through active programing to increase adoptions, targeted sales events, and by promoting low-cost spay and neuter options for owners.

“We have selected an outstanding and distinguished leader and manager in whom I have great confidence,” said Commissioners Paula Brooks. “His community service speaks for itself.”

In addition to his stint at the Ohio Wildlife Center, Winstel was formerly an Assistant Director of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, where he was responsible for animal health, education programs, field conservation, and outreach. Winstel was also part of the team that negotiated the loan of Giant Pandas to the U.S. in the 1990s, and has also led African safaris. As director of Animal Care and Control, he will be paid $95,000 annually.

“Don has worked with animals in our community for more than 40 years,” said Commissioner Marilyn Brown. “He’s the right person for our shelter and our staff, and for the dogs they love and care for, and he’s the best person to work hand-in-hand with our thriving animal rescue community.”

The Franklin County Dog Shelter is one of the largest in Ohio, and the only year-round, 24/7 dog warden facility in the state. The shelter is an “open admission” facility that, each year, takes in more than 10,000 dogs and boasts a 90% Live Release Rate. The shelter is open daily, and dogs available for adoption can be found at