THLN is sad to learn of the passing of former board member and longtime animal advocate, Elaine Munch.

Elaine began her career in aviation and then spent decades in marketing. Her lifelong passion for animals brought great change to the city of Dallas and beyond. She served on the boards of directors for Garland Humane Society, the Humane Society of Greater Dallas, DFW Humane Society, and Weimaraner Rescue. But she was an activist at heart: protesting circus cruelty, puppy mills, and hunting of baby harp seals; helping end the sale of animals from the Dallas shelter to laboratories; and working to pass local and statewide laws protecting animals in Texas.  

In July of 2000, she and other advocates founded Metroplex Animal Coalition (MAC), an alliance of over 50 nonprofit animal welfare-organizations working to save as many dog and cat lives as possible. Elaine served as President of MAC from 2000-2013. During that time, they successfully lobbied for the first significant changes to ordinances in decades, including mandatory spay/neuter; a ban on tethering; improved dangerous dog ordinances; and pet limits. From 2000-2013, MAC provided 19,104 low-cost surgeries to Dallas residents in underserved areas, convinced then Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk to officially declare February 27, 2001, as Spay Day, and became a founding partner in the Big Fix for Big D, a 3-year, 3 million dollar spay/neuter initiative. 

She served on the City of Dallas Animal Shelter Commission from 2002-2004, helping launch a successful campaign to obtain $11.5M for construction of a new 52,000 square foot, state-of-the-art animal shelter to replace the City’s outdated, deteriorating, and overwhelmed facility built in the 1950s.  

On May 1, 2013, the Metroplex Animal Coalition, Dallas Animal Advocates, and Dallas Companion Animal Project (DCAP) entered a ground-breaking merger to continue the public advocacy and industry collaboration Elaine was committed to. The merger brought the strength and resources of all three organizations together, moving forward as one to continue fighting to address the animal-related issues that resulted in the needless deaths of so many animals in Dallas.  

In the years that followed, Elaine was instrumental in creating DCAP's metroplex-wide pet resource listing and map, lost pet network, and a state-of-the-art online portal connecting corporate donors with animal welfare agencies. She helped secure community-focused grants for Pets For Life outreach and spay/neuter events and helped acquire funding for Dallas Animal Services' first volunteer and foster program.  

In 2016, THLN was lucky enough to convince Elaine to join our board as she wasn’t really “retired…retired.”  Elaine used her marketing expertise and graciously spearheaded the first and only rebranding of THLN and its logo. It came at a pivotal time when many other animal groups began working at the Capitol. Elaine held close ties with her elected officials and convinced one of them to bring a controversial bill at a time that we knew wouldn’t pass, but it brought education and awareness to dogs in Texas research facilities. Elaine helped pass numerous laws, but including the Animal Cruelty Enhancements law in which she created a THLN Animal Cruelty Awareness campaign that is still used today.

She was a loving wife, an avid gardener, a loyal friend, and a tireless voice for animals. Her big smile and vibrant personality will be missed by the many friends she made during a lifetime of activism. Our thoughts are with her husband, Mel.

Elaine was proud of her work but never failed to recognize those around her. “I'm part of something much bigger than myself or one group alone. We haven't changed the world (yet), we are truly moving forward, and what's more important - we are trying. I sleep better at night because we are still trying...but what's most important is that we are trying on a different level than ever before. That's why it's worth it!”