Mary Blount Mincey

[ Animal lover] [ Rescuer ] [ Mad scientist ]

Most people have animals as pets. Some donate money to organizations that help animals. Fewer still volunteer their time.

Mary Blount Mincey has made caring for animals a career.

The Lone Tree resident has been program director for the Iowa Humane Alliance for three years.

“Our goal is to spay and neuter as many animals as we can,” she said.

Opening a clinic in the area is her main focus at the moment. The group is scouting locations and plans to hire a staff that can spay and neuter as many as 10,000 animals a year. A fall 2011 opening is the plan, and North Liberty is a likely location.

Grants and donations are providing the start-up funds.

“Our focus is to decrease euthanasia,” Blount Mincey said.

While she always loved animals, she wasn’t allowed to have pets as a child. That changed in college.

“I started picking up pets and strays,” she said. “I allowed them to reproduce, and those kittens went to the humane society. I didn’t understand the big picture.”

She began working as an elementary school science teacher, and later worked at New Pioneer Co-op. She also volunteered with the Johnson County Humane Society.

“What really changed it for me was the realization that we’re rescuing animals right and left, but not stemming the flow,” she said. “I’m a solution-oriented person, and there had to be something better than putting out fires.”

So for the last few years, she’s made animals a full-time job. Besides the volunteer work, Blount Mincey and her husband, Neil, operate Safe at Home Pet Sitting. She also owns two dogs and fosters many special-needs animals in her home.

But she sees her work with the Iowa Humane Alliance as her calling. She said she works as many as 80 hours a week.

“It really is the only practical solution,” she said. “It needs to happen.”

— Jon Klinkowitz