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Harry Brown, Animal Rescue League's longtime director, calling it a career

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 30 2013 04:55:53 PM CST

After 24 years, the man at the helm of the Animal Rescue League of Berks County will officially retire.

After 24 years, the man at the helm of the Animal Rescue League of Berks County will officially retire.

You can easily say Harry Brown is a workaholic. He somewhat lived at the ARL in Cumru Township, and he has been known to put in 70-90 hours a week.

Brown came on board in 1989, and his last official day is Wednesday.

"It has grown so much and times have changed so much I figure it's time for some younger blood in here," said Brown.

Brown has left his mark on the ARL. He built and opened a surgery center, which offers low-cost alternatives to the public aiding more than 2,000 animals each year and allows shelter animals to be spayed and neutered. He expanded the shelter to include more capacity for dogs and cats, a larger lobby area, additional offices, an education room and a board room.

"We've almost doubled our capability to hold animals and we have quadrupled the amount of animals that come in compared to what they did years ago," Brown said.

Brown also developed programs like the Grey Muzzle Foster Program, Kennel Companions and the Noel Medical Emergency Fund.

"He's taken it from that little mom and pop shelter to the major municipal shelter it is today," said Ashley Mikulski, who has worked alongside Brown for years.

Brown has been involved in countless cases, but he said the story that stuck with him over the years is the breakup of a major pit bull fighting ring in Exeter Township in 1997. Forty dogs, trained to fight and worth about $250,000, were seized.

"We moved them all around eastern Pennsylvania, up into the Poconos, to Wilkes Barre and Scranton," said Brown.

According to Brown, some of the best friends in his life he met at the ARL. Now, he plans to go fishing, work around the house and relax. He also plans to stay on board part time as a humane officer.

"He's your friend. He's your dad. He's a part of our family and to see him not here everyday will be an adjustment," said Mikulski.

"I look around at this stuff and how it's grown and it makes me feel good. At least I accomplished something in my life," said Brown.