Executive Leadership

Kirk Putman

Interim Executive Director

Kirk Putman joined the Lawrence Humane Society (LHS) as Interim Executive Director in June 2019. Kirk, a longtime senior finance executive with Hill’s Pet Nutrition (“Hill’s”), will serve as the leader of LHS while the organization continues a nationwide search for an executive director.

Prior to joining LHS, Kirk held several Director of Finance positions at Hill’s providing financial leadership to groups including Corporate Accounting, Customer Supply and Logistics, US and Global Marketing, and finished his career with Hill’s as the Senior Finance Officer for the Europe and Middle East regions. Prior to working at Hill’s, Kirk was employed as a Senior Manager in the International Accounting firm Arthur Andersen LLC.

Since retiring from Hill’s at the end of 2015, Kirk has spent his time volunteering for several Not for Profit organizations in the Kansas City area including Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas, El Centro, Shalom House and Connecting for Good.

Kirk is a CPA and a graduate of the University of Kansas.

Kirk and his wife are proud owners of the best shelter dog ever, Harper, who looks like a small German Shepard but is more likely a mix of many breeds.

Contact Kirk

Dr. Luke Pickett, DVM

Chief Veterinarian

Dr. Luke Pickett joined the Lawrence Humane Society in February 2017 after serving 10 years as the Chief Veterinarian at Wayside Waifs in Kansas City, Missouri and a tenure at Mixed Animal Practice in Platte City, Missouri. Dr. Picket holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Emporia State University and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University. Dr. Pickett is thrilled to be working for the Lawrence Humane Society, and looks forward to making a positive impact in the lives of homeless, injured, and abused animals in the community. When he’s not caring for homeless animals, Dr. Pickett enjoys spending time with his wife and three adorable children.

Contact Luke

Paul Marksbury

Director of Operations

Paul Marksbury joined Lawrence Humane Society in December 2016. Prior to this role, he served as Affiliate Services Manager for Youth Volunteer Corps, a nonprofit that creates service projects for 11-18 year olds. He was with YVC for more than 10 years, starting as a Team Leader before becoming the Kansas City Program Director and finally joining the national office to train, support and evaluate a network of dozens of affiliated YVC programs across North America. Paul holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Kansas State University (but he still loves Lawrence).

Contact Paul

Michael LaFave

Director of Development and Communications 

Michael LaFave grew up with a mother who had her own petting farm, a grandfather who showed Irish Setters and an Aunt who runs an all-breeds dog rescue. His initial career was in journalism, as a producer for his hometown television station in Central New York. He worked his way up the ranks in television news management, plying his trade at various stations. Michael then began using the communication skills he developed in newsrooms for the non-profit world. Development responsibilities were soon added to his communications role. After traveling the country for several years, Michael, his wife, Meredith, their black cat and basset hound, settled down in the Midwest, where he helped young non-profits craft strategic, development, programming and communications plans. That long road has led Michael to the Lawrence Humane Society where he is excited to raise the funds necessary to ensure every pet has the second chance at the home, health and happiness they deserve.

Contact Michael



Liz Adams

Animal Welfare Manager

Liz Adams joined the Lawrence Humane Society in August 2007 as an Animal Care Associate, and has held a variety of positions including Canine Care Coordinator and Shelter Supervisor. Currently, Liz serves as the shelter’s Animal Welfare Manager. As a Lawrence native, one of Liz’s favorite parts of her job is helping the community she loves. Liz shares her home with her husband, Ryan, and two Lawrence Humane Society adoptees, Ennis, an 8-year-old Shar Pei mix, and Jade, a 5-year-old Boxer mix. In her free time, Liz enjoys camping and spending time outdoors.

Contact Liz

Alisa Farinelli

Community Programs Manager

Alisa’s first personal dog was Frankie (a bully breed, who lived 16 years). Frankie sparked a passion for advocacy and education which started her journey in animal welfare by volunteering with Game Dog Guardian. She became an active volunteer for the organization through fostering and coordinating events. Her passion, inspired by her time with GDG, led her to professional track when she accepted a position with a privately owned boarding facility in Olathe, KS, working her way up to Co-General Manager. After three years, she was ready to jump into animal welfare where she became the Manager of Petco Adoption Center for Kansas City Pet Project. Alisa, a Lawrence resident, is now excited to be working for her community animal shelter, and looks forward to increase awareness and implement community programs at the Lawrence Humane Society. In her free time, Alisa enjoys cooking, spending time with family, and working with her fur babies, Ernie and Winnie (GDG alumns!), using positive reinforcement training. She really really wants a cat to complete her fur-family, but Ernie and Winnie totally disagree.

Contact Alisa

Tia Ezell

Pet Resource Center Supervisor

Tia Ezell grew up in the small town of Yoder, KS with her four siblings (her best friends!), as well as a multitude of cats, dogs, chickens, and her horse, Janga.  After obtaining a degree in sociology from Wichita State University and working with kids for 5 years, Tia moved to Lawrence in 2012 and, shortly thereafter, started working at the Lawrence Humane Society.  Prior to beginning her current role as the Foster & Transfer Coordinator in early-2016, Tia worked as an animal care associate, client care associate, and medical staff member. She absolutely loves working with both people and animals, and has been thrilled to be able to combine these passions in the ever changing, exciting field of animal welfare.  At home, she surrounds herself with furry friends, including Lillian the pitbull, Zeke the Schnauzer, and three chatty boy cats, Lovett, Neil, and Ruben.  In her free time Tia enjoys obsessively cleaning her house, roaming around outdoors and downtown with her dogs, cooking with friends, and visiting home as often as possible.

Contact Tia

Alicia Godwin

Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator

Alicia Godwin joined Lawrence Humane Society in May 2017 as a volunteer, and then quickly moved on to become an Adoption Counselor in June 2017. Alicia was part of the Adoptions team for almost two years, and she is currently serving as the shelter’s Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator as of April 2019. Alicia misses working with the animals as directly as she did during her time on the Adoptions team, but she still makes time for animal play breaks throughout the day. Alicia graduated from the University of Kansas in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, with a focus in Textiles and a minor in Art History. Alicia has always had a love of animals, and likely would’ve gone to school to be a veterinarian if she was any good at math and science. Unlike most of her coworkers, Alicia doesn’t have any pets of her own, but she does have two family dogs back home, an 11-year-old Golden Retriever, Abby, and a 1-year-old Pitbull, Theo. Alicia was Theo’s foster when he was rescued as a puppy, and convinced her parents to adopt him after losing their 12-year-old Golden Retriever, Ellie, a few months earlier. In her free time, Alicia likes to work in her garden, take naps, and knit or embroider.

Contact Alicia

Megan Herman

Clinic Manager

Megan Herman joined LHS team in 2013 as an Animal Care Associate. Over the years, she bounced around several other areas of the shelter while finishing Vet Tech School. Upon graduation, she joined the brand new medical team, eventually working her way up to Clinic Manager. Megan considers this role as her absolute dream job and loves that she is able to put her education and compassion to use, helping the people and animals in our community. In her free time, Megan enjoys spending her time with friends, fostering neonatal kittens as well as a variety of other medical anomalies, and spending time with her cats, most of which are previous LHS fosters — Monty, Sol, Crahes and Toby.

Contact Megan

Ethan Hrabe

Behavior Coordinator 

Ethan Hrabe joined Lawrence Humane Society in May 2013 as an Animal Care Associate. Prior to taking on the role of Behavior Coordinator in April 2018, Ethan had served as a Behavior Associate since October 2014 and implemented several enrichment programs including canine playgroups. In April 2017 he attended and graduated from Pat Miller’s Peaceable Paws Canine Behavior & Training Academy in Fairplay, Maryland and has applied the skills learned there to his role at Lawrence Humane Society. Ethan currently shares his home with his shepherd mix, Momma, his highly food motivated cat, Maritza Pizza, and his blind poodle (and former foster dog) Chicken Lillie.

Contact Ethan 

Michele Thompson

Donor Experience & Grants Coordinator 

Michele Thompson joined Lawrence Humane Society team in July 2017 following her graduation from the University of Kansas with a degree in Political Science. A Maryland native with a passion for nonprofit development, Michele began her career with LHS as a Development Specialist, and was promoted to Donor Experience and Grants Coordinator in late-2019. Michele focuses her time planning major events and fundraisers, managing donor experience, and directing our grants program. Outside of her job duties, she spends time with her extended family based out of Topeka, planning future SCUBA dive trips, and video-chatting her dog and cat back home, Godric and Nikita.

Contact Michele

Rikki Swearengin

Customer Care Supervisor

Rikki Swearengin has had a love for animals for as long as she can remember. As a child Rikki had many pets and was constantly trying to bring home every stray that crossed her path.  At the age of 14, she began to volunteer with the Lawrence Humane Society. The idea to make her passion her career quickly formed soon after. Rikki was hired as a Kennel Technician. In 2003, she left the Humane Society to explore other opportunities, but realized that something was missing in her career. In 2010, Rikki rejoined the Humane Society family as a Client Care Associate and, since then, has held many positions. She currently serves as the shelter’s Humane Investigation Manager and, in June of 2016, was certified as a Humane Animal Investigator through National Animal Cruelty Investigations School. When Rikki is not at the Humane Society, she is enjoying time with her children and pets.

Contact Rikki

Katie Barnett

Animal Welfare Counsel 

Katie graduated from Missouri State University and received her Juris Doctor from the University of Kansas School of Law.  She was awarded the Walter Hiersteiner Outstanding Service Award by the law school faculty, which is given to the student whose service to her fellow students, university, and community, demonstrates the greatest promise for contribution to the legal profession and to society.  Katie is the Founder of the KU Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, founded the Animal Cruelty Prosecution Clinic in conjunction with the Lawrence Humane Society, and worked for Best Friends Animal Society while in law school, and upon graduation as a legislative attorney. Katie operates her own practice in Lawrence, focusing on animal law and municipal law; representing pet owners, as well as cities, and training law enforcement on animal issues. The Lawrence Humane Society has been a client since the practice opened. Katie works as our Animal Welfare Counsel and liaison for legislative and legal issues on a state and local level. Katie is licensed to practice in Kansas and Missouri, and is a frequent speaker and author regarding animal law matters. Katie is a member of the Lawrence Human Relations Commission and a board member of the Symbiotic Behavioral Treatment Center. She lives in Lawrence with her husband Anthony, their two daughters, and four dogs, including Liam and Leonidas, who are registered therapy dogs with Pet Partners.

Contact Katie

Board of Directors

As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, the Lawrence Humane Society is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. The Board determines and defines the organization’s mission, identifies its purpose and goals. The Lawrence Humane Society Board acts as the overall governing body, voting on major policy issues and playing a role in fundraising and community outreach.

The Board of Directors meets on the fourth Wednesday of each Month at 6:00pm. The first 15 minutes of each meeting are open to the public for questions, comments, and suggestions. If you would like to attend, please email us so we can provide sufficient time in our agenda.

2020 Board of Directors

John Olsen, Westar Energy
Vice Chair
Sandra Gautt, Community Volunteer
Dale Finnestad, Hill’s Pet Nutrition
Charlotte Tritch, University of Kansas


Hilary C. Edwards, Willdan Performance Engineers

John Hanley, Equity Bank

Paula Hatcher, Community Volunteer

Dakota Loomis, Law Firm of Dakota LoomisAlice Karakas Neumann, Community Volunteer

Kirk Putman, Interim Executive Director of the Lawrence Humane Society

Jolisa Buchner, Community Volunteer, Former Capital Campaign Co-Chair

Al Horning, Hill’s Pet Nutrition (Retired)

Judy Hintzman, Ransom Memorial Hospital