Sandra J. Strong, a Certified Animal Welfare Scientist, has been chosen to serve as the next director of Orange County Animal Services.

Strong currently serves as Chief Veterinarian and Senior Manager of the Wake County Animal Center. According to county manager Bonnie Hammersley, Strong was chosen from a “competitive field of candidates through an interview process that included representatives from the Towns, Animal Care professionals, County Attorney’s Office, department directors that work closely with Animal Services and staff from Animal Services.”

Strong replaces Bob Marotto, who retired in March after 16 years leading OCAS.

“Sandra has the experience and vision needed to lead Orange County Animal Services,” said Hammersley. “We were fortunate to find such a well-qualified candidate who is familiar with Orange County and the region.”

Strong has worked with the Wake County Animal Center since September 2013. She recently became board certified in Animal Welfare from the American College of Animal Welfare. She earned her undergrad (Zoology) and doctorate (Veterinary Medicine) degrees from NC State and a certification in Public Health Leadership from the UNC.

At the Wake County Animal Center, Strong leads and manages the intake, husbandry, medical and surgical treatment for approximately 10,000 animals annually. She manages 23 shelter employees and is responsible for the development, training and continual process improvement for shelter operations, veterinary programs, and staff.

“I am committed to advancing the health and welfare of people and animals,” Strong said. “I am honored to build upon the excellent foundation that exists in Orange County.” does not charge subscription fees. You can support local journalism and our mission to serve the community. Contribute today – every single dollar matters.