Tony Schendel, a Minneapolis Animal Care and Control field operations and investigations manager who will have been with the agency 10 years this summer, has been named as MACC's newest director.

He was the most veteran MACC staffer named to a short list of finalists for the job that included local and national animal service professionals and a former elected official. As a manager, Schendel oversaw the animal control officers who investigate cruelty cases, which MACC absorbed from the police department in 2022. He also supervised administrative staff who process adoptions and issue permits on a daily basis.

"We had so many talented people that stepped forward, and ... my mind just kept going back to Tony and all the programming he's done, his level of engagement with the staff, the connection and partnerships he already has with community members," said Regulatory Services Director Enrique Velázquez, who oversees MACC.

Schendel will be taking over the animal control unit at a time when it is still dealing with a post-pandemic surge of pet surrenders and a spike since 2023 in neglected and starving animals requiring intensive refeeding care.

MACC is also facing staff and space capacity problems. In addition to Minneapolis, it accepts strays found in surrounding cities that lack their own animal impound, including St. Louis Park and Crystal, and has outgrown its headquarters at 212 17th Ave. N. A search is underway for a second facility in order for the city to better react in a potential natural disaster, incorporate a dedicated surgical suite (as opposed to the cordoned-off hallway area where surgeries are currently performed twice a week) and provide some separation between animals seized and those being adopted. A suitable location has not yet been found, though City Operations Officer Margaret Anderson Kelliher said the former Third Precinct building was briefly considered.

Earlier this year Mayor Jacob Frey announced MACC would receive $600,000 to hire a few more staff.

MACC has come to rely more heavily on its volunteer army in recent years, and Schendel said that's an asset he'll continue to cultivate in order to free professional staff to focus more on animals in need of advanced rehabilitation.

His other goals include: expanding the Animal Safety Net boarding program for victims of domestic violence to also serve people experiencing homelessness, and reinstating low-cost vaccination appointments.

"I'm excited about this new opportunity and continuing to advance MACC, take it to the next level and explore ways to remain a public safety, animal welfare and livability issues division," said Schendel. "I'm excited to continue this journey."