Wayne Pacelle may look like a dashing TV reporter — that hair, that jaw: you can just picture him hanging out with Anderson and Sanjay in some trouble spot — but he’s not one. He’s the president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.
His fiancee Lisa Fletcher, on the other hand, is a TV reporter, for WJLA — who looks like a movie star.
Washington, we’ve got a new power couple.
We caught up with the recently engaged duo Tuesday night at a book-signing and Q&A for Pacelle’s new animal-rights manifesto, “The Bond,” for which he’s about to launch on a 50-city promotional tour.
There’s a good story: They actually met 17 years ago, early in both of their careers. She was a TV reporter in Eugene, Ore., he was an animal-rights advocate passing through their town when a mutual friend suggested they meet. Fletcher told us they kept in distant touch after that — “five emails over 15 years” — but hadn’t made much of an impression on each other.
Then in 2008, she was working for ABC News in Los Angeles when she saw his face pop up in campaign ads for Proposition 2, an ultimately successful California ballot initiative to improve conditions for farm animals. Smelling a good news story, she dropped him a line, and they agreed to meet up. They sat outdoors at a cafe and talked until waiters made them leave — “and we’ve been together ever since.” (Oh, and “we did end up doing a story.”) Last summer, after a long-distance courtship, she moved to Washington. No date set yet, but they plan to get married later this year.
About a hundred animal-lovers turned out to the downtown Barnes & Noble to sign their books and ask questions ranging from why birds are dropping out of the sky to whether fireworks are bad for our furred and feathered friends. Asked who the Humane Society’s allies are on Capitol Hill, Pacelle happily shared the anecdote of how Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) just turned down a Humane Society award because he thinks the group’s anti-trapping campaign is “extremist” and “manipulative.” Young got the society’s nod because he’d sponsored a bill to try to protect sea mammals from fishing nets, Pacelle explained.
“We err on the side of being generous” with the awards, he said.