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For Immediate Release

Contact: Natacha Valmont;, 616-635-6228

Bellwether Harbor Animal Shelter

Hires Kyle Gilbert as Next Executive Director

Bellwether Harbor Animal Shelter has named Kyle Gilbert as its first ever paid Executive Director to lead the organization, ensuring it will continue to grow and serve the community for years to come.

Gilbert will focus not only on the shelter’s day-to-day operations but marketing, relationship building, and fundraising that will continue the mission of protecting and nurturing abandoned, abused, and neglected homeless animals, and educating the people looking to adopt our dogs and cats for their forever homes.

Gilbert brings over eight years of experience in public relations, marketing, communications, and leadership to this role.  Previously, he has served as the Engagement Manager at Galapagos Marketing and the Director of Communications and Public Relations for Forest Hills Public Schools.

“We are excited to welcome Kyle,” said Natacha Valmont, Board Chair.  “He brings a collaborative leadership style and a strong focus on relationship building and marketing.  He has a great vision for what is next for Bellwether Harbor Animal Shelter.”

As was announced last fall, current Executive Director and Founder, Dani Merrill, has decided to retire but remained in her role while the Board of Directors lead the search to find her replacement.  Merrill’s retirement date is yet to be set as she will continue to support the Shelter to help onboard and transition the leadership role.

“I have realized it is time for me to step back and let this amazing organization grow and expand to its best capabilities. Bellwether is my gift to our community,” shared Merrill.  “Although it will be bittersweet to retire from the Shelter, I am excited for what Kyle will bring to this position and the future of Bellwether.”

Gilbert will officially begin his role on May 13.  “I’m truly honored to step into the role of Executive Director at Bellwether, where I can bring my passion for communications and animal advocacy together for the community. As we work together to deepen the human-animal bond, I’m excited for the opportunities we’ll create to make a lasting, positive difference in the lives of both pets and people.”

About Bellwether Harbor Animal Shelter

Bellwether Harbor, located at 7645 W. 48th Street, Fremont, MI 49412, has been in operation since the facility was built in 2002 when the land and facility were donated by Dani Merrill. Since then, the program operating costs have largely been covered by donations by Dani Merrill, the Bellwether Foundation (established by Merrill in 1994), the Dogwood Foundation, along with grants from the Fremont Area Community Foundation, the Gerber Foundation, and other individual, corporate and foundation donors. It sits on 18 acres of land and can accommodate 12 dogs and approximately 30 cats in its shelter. Bellwether provides counseling and adoption services, training of dogs with their owners, and has a small retail store with needed supplies to help pet owners. Volunteers are always needed. For more information see


Bellwether Harbor