St. Augustine Humane Society: A story of service


The story of the St. Augustine Humane Society begins in 1946, in a small, wooden house built on land donated by Eugenia Genovar. She and Margaret Nemo sheltered animals in that tiny structure and kick-started the St. Augustine Humane Society’s history of compassionate pet care in St. Johns County.

The Genovar family’s involvement didn’t stop with Eugenia’s land grant; her granddaughter, Sonya Genovar Jensen, recently retired after 10 years of invaluable service as a member of the Humane Society’s Board of Directors.

Since its inception, the St. Augustine Humane Society (SAHS) has focused on the needs of pets and their owners. Still in its original location, but with an expanded building and outreach, SAHS has evolved over the years, foregoing the shelter component and becoming instead a comprehensive animal-welfare care and resource center.

Notably, SAHS has accomplished all this without government assistance, relying solely on grants and community support. Critical to its success has been an active, involved board of directors. The ability to anticipate change, offer guidance, and adapt to the demands of a growing and changing population are the hallmarks of a dynamic board. Effective board members assume fiduciary obligations for an organization, provide integrity and balance, build trust throughout their communities, establish goals and objectives and help mitigate risk.

At the most recent annual meeting, the SAHS Board of Directors elected lead officers Lynne Catoggio of La Rosa Realty, president; Kristin Sebastian DeShazo of Sebastian Cleaning, vice president; Christina Bentley of La Rosa Realty, secretary; and Bill Gregory of Gregory Tile, treasurer. While Jensen remains on the board in an advisory capacity, SAHS has announced the addition of Thomas Buckhalter, owner of Greg's Auto Collision, to the board. Buckhalter brings valuable experience in fostering business growth and is enthusiastic about applying his expertise to SAHS.
Thanks to community support, diligent leadership and the astute guidance of an involved and proactive board, the St. Augustine Humane Society continues its more than 75-year history of care for the St. Johns County canine and feline populations.

To learn more about the St. Augustine Humane Society, go to and access the “Get Involved” page.