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Mel Stack: Animal Lover

by Barry KuKes

On Wednesday, December 6th, the 14th Annual Fur Ball was hosted by the Halifax Humane Society at the Daytona Beach Ocean Center. Mel Stack, who has been president of the board of directors for the last twenty-seven years, has been instrumental in helping thousands of animals find their forever homes.
Here are some excerpts from the video script written by Nancy Lohman that was presented to celebrate Mel’s life as a board member for the last thirty years.

“Animal lovers are a special breed of humans, generous in spirit, full of empathy, perhaps a little prone to sentimentality, and with hearts as big as a cloudless sky.
This evening, we recognize and celebrate our community’s ultimate animal lover, Mel Stack. Mel has spent his life dedicated to our community’s animals. He has been an animal lover all of his life and a relentless and passionate animal advocate throughout his career.
Mel was once quoted saying, “I had at least one dog and one cat from the very beginning. That was part of my upbringing; it was just a part of my life.”
In his personal life, he and his wife Susan, along with their daughter Shannon and son Mel Jr., have often extended their family members to include three, four, and five dogs at one time. There is always an open door for more to join the Stack Pack in their home!
Dedicated and committed to the mission of the Halifax Humane Society, Mel has given his time and legal expertise to better serve our community—pet parents, animal advocates and, of course, our forever friends—our furry four-legged family members.
Knowing how critical multiple funding sources are for the shelter to operate, Mel supported event fundraisers throughout the year and also supported the opening of the Halifax Humane Society Thrift Shop, which first opened in 1998. The Thrift Store re-cently opened its permanent location in 2022 at 385 S. Yonge St. in Ormond Beach and continues to provide additional financial support.

Under his leadership, he championed two main campus facility grand openings, the first in 2,000 with the opening of a new, large-dog adoption area, followed by the creation of the Mary Motley Courtyard, an exercise area dedicated in 2003 with the generous support of Ms. Motley.

Through those years, Mel held steadfast to the Halifax Humane Society’s continued commitment to Open Admission: No dog, no cat, no animal would be turned away no matter how old or how badly they needed medical attention. When asked what some of his most important accomplishments have been, Mel is very clear about what he is most proud of—getting the adoption rate to 90 percent. That is a major accomplishment. The Halifax Humane Society is technically a no-kill shelter at this point because euthanasia is below 10 percent. Mel, his board of directors, and the staff are committed to euthanizing only animals that are deemed dangerous or extremely sick.

In 2012, Mel and the entire Halifax Humane Society team celebrated the organization’s 75th anniversary. That year they earned the Classy Award for exemplary operational standards, one of the most coveted awards which can be presented to an animal shelter organization.

Also in 2012, the Halifax Humane Society opened the Redinger Clinic, committed to low-cost spay and neuter surgery so that our community had a humane solution to the over-population of feral cats. Since its opening, the Halifax Humane Society has spayed or neutered over 70,000 animals. Thanks to the Redinger Spay-Neuter Clinic, the feral cat population has been reduced by hundreds of thousands of cats.

Finally, in 2018, groundbreaking developments took place for the main campus adoption and admission center. A ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony was held in June 2019, and in total, thanks to the leadership of President Mel Stack, the Capital Campaign Committee, and the Halifax Humane Society’s generous donors, nearly $4 million was raised during the capital campaign and the facilities were built debt-free and in budget.

Throughout his tenure, Mel always re-membered to thank the humane society volunteers and provide much-deserved recognition, demonstrating his deep appreciation for the organization’s leadership team, staff volunteers, and his board of directors.
Under Mel’s leadership, the Halifax Humane Society has grown to an organization that provides care and shelter to over 30,0000 animals each year.

We recognize Mel Stack for his lifelong work in helping homeless animals. For thirty years, his compassion for animals and his calm and steady leadership style have promoted the tone and direction of the organization initially set over 85 years ago.
Mel Stack’s kindness is limitless, and we are proud to honor him tonight with the Halifax Humane Society Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Having worked under Mel’s vision for more than six years, I would like to personally congratulate him on his well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award. Thank you for all you did for our community’s animals. Mel ended his acceptance speech with a very familiar closing remark. Please, adopt, don’t shop.

Barry KuKes is the former Community Outreach Director of Halifax Humane Society. E-mail him at bkukes@gmail. com View more of his work at minicoop