2013 Conference

This is the 2013 conference overview with information describing the conference speakers as well as the conference courses.  If you have any questions about any of this information please contact us.

Presented by Jan McHugh-Smith, CAWA, Humane Society of Pikes Peak Region

Jan McHugh-Smith draws from a wide range of experiences, from starting out as a kennel technician to chairing the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators. Jan is on the front line of advancements in the animal welfare industry, and will share her stories and observations on current trends and obstacles we have yet to overcome. Jan is the CEO of the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, and is past CEO of the San Francisco SPCA and the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region.

Presented by Donna Reynolds, BAD RAP

The good news is that ‘pit bull’ adoption rates are climbing in shelters around the country, but the bad news is that their intake numbers have held steady. This presentation explores the spin cycle that the dogs have been held in our communities and programs that are working to reduce shelter intake numbers. BADRAP will use video to demonstrate replicable methods now being used successfully in the SF east bay.

Presented Michael Barrett, ASPCA
Conference attendees will learn about the distinguishing characteristics of the three types of grant makers – foundations, corporate funders and public charities – and why those differences matter. Using the ASPCA’s grant programs and process as a model, we will explore how a grant seeker should start and build a relationship with funders, including how to 1) best represent their organization through the proposal, 2) communicate a match between the proposal and the funder’s guidelines and priorities, and 3) fulfill the funders’ grant requirements – all with an aim at securing the proposed grant and future grants. We will explore what information funders ask for and why, in addition to the impact of technological proficiency, diplomacy, accuracy and thoughtfulness on the success of a grant proposal and stewardship of grants.

 Presented by Dr. Le Mac’ Morris, DVM, Boehringer-Ingelheim
What is an outbreak and how do you recognize it?  Is it a new disease or an increase incidence rate of recurring diseases? When and how do you respond?

Administrative response

  • Who is the decision maker
  • How do you communicate what to do to your staff
  • How do you communicate to governing board
  • How do you communicate to your community

Medical response

  • Utilizing biological risk management principals to minimize the number of animals infected
  • Choosing the proper disinfectants in an outbreak
  • Strategic use of vaccines

Making a definitive diagnosis

Recognizing when it is over

 Presented by Bryan Kortis, PetSmart Charities

Learn more about the breakthrough project now underway in Albuquerque! Since April, 2012, the Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department, in partnership with PetSmart Charities, Best Friends Animal Society and other local animal welfare organizations, including Animal Humane Association of New Mexico and Street Cat Companions, has been piloting the Community Cats Project. Feral and stray cats entering the shelter are spay/neutered and returned back to their outdoor homes. Efforts are then made to spay/neuter other free-roaming cats in the same area and throughout the city. We’ll discuss in detail how the combination of Return to Field and Community TNR has led to dramatic improvements in intake, euthanasia and live release rates.

 Presented by Jeff Nichol, DVM
Behavior problems are the overwhelming reason for relinquishment of dogs and cats to shelters. The most common cat owner complaints—house soiling, destructive behavior and inter-cat aggression—are a source of intense frustration and damage the human-animal bonds. Well-meaning cat owners read Internet sites and books and then misdiagnose and mismanage feline behavior disorders, often worsening the problem. Believing that they have “tried everything,” many admit defeat and relinquish their once-loved cat hoping that some other home will be a better fit.

Shelter staff and volunteers can make a difference. This presentation will be an informative and enjoyable introduction to research-based environmental and behavior modifications that can help keep more good cats where they belong: in their forever homes. Behavior management in the shelter will be addressed.

Presented by Judy Durzo & Helga Schimkat

For those of you just starting a nonprofit, or those of you who have already formed your nonprofit but don’t know about the mandatory corporate formalities, this talk gives an overview of what every nonprofit board needs to know:

  • Forming a new corporation
  • State Requirements, Documents & By-laws
  • Nonprofit filing in NM
  • Federal nonprofit filing – Applying for 501c(3) nonprofit status
  • Keeping in Compliance with state & feds (board meetings, filings PRC & AG & IRS)
  • Nonprofits and lobbying – what’s okay?
  • Legal Issues Related to Management – necessary forms & business practice
  • Insurance issues

Presented by Cynthia Karsten, DVM, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

Course Description:

Thoughtful, planned management of length of stay can create an “un-vicious cycle” that benefits animals, shelters and the communities they serve. Through the magic of the space-time continuum, reducing length of stay increases capacity for care while improving animal outcomes and sometimes even decreasing costs. This talk provides specific, practical strategies to implement fast track systems to reduce length of stay at every stage of shelter care.

Presented by Shelby Davis & Austin Gates, ASPCA

Planning on starting a spay/neuter clinic? Looking to increase the efficiency of your existing S/N program? Join a presentation with the ASPCA Spay/Neuter Operations Team – they will show you ways to make your operation a long-term success.

Find out why effective standard operating procedures (SOPs) are a crucial element in successful program design, and then learn how to develop your own medical and human resource SOPs. Discover how to grow your program to meet increasing demands. Additional topics will include: 

  • The pros and cons of each spay/neuter clinic model
  • Tips on staffing and managing volunteers
  • Secrets to program budgeting 
  • Guidelines for start-up spay/neuter groups

Presented by Donna Stumpf & Peggy Weigle, Animal Humane

In March 2012, Animal Humane New Mexico embarked on a $5,000,000 capital campaign (Project Humane) to dramatically transform their campus to meet the standards of the best animal shelters nationwide. Prior to the launch, Animal Humane joined forces with Animal Arts, LLC from Boulder, CO. Together they devised a massive construction & renovation plan that touches every corner of Animal Humane’s  four-acre southeast Albuquerque campus.

In June 2013, Animal Humane celebrated the completion of Phase I of Project Humane with the opening of their 10,210 square-foot Adoption & Administration Center. With 92% of funding secured to date, construction of their new Admission Center is well underway and Phase II-V are scheduled to be completed in the next year.

Join Peggy Weigle, Executive Director and Donna M. Stumpf, Senior Director of Development & Marketing of Animal Humane New Mexico to learn about their communication plan for their constituents unveiled prior to the launch of their campaign, the investment of their Board of Directors, the identification and sequence of “asks” for the campaign, and the various fundraising initiatives and timing of each tactic employed to keep their constituents, potential contributors and the public engaged, informed and inspired to invest in Project Humane.

Presented by Dr. Le Mac’ Morris, DVM, Boehringer-Ingelheim

  • What are the most common causes CIRD
  • How does CIRD spread in a shelter population
  • Using biological risk management to minimize the effects of CIRD
  • Proper use of disinfectants to minimize the spread of CIRD
  • Strategic use of vaccines to minimize spread of CIR

Presented by Sam Blankenship, Animal Humane & Angela Stell, NMDOG

Join Sam Blankenship, Adoptions Director of Animal Humane New Mexico, and Angela Stell, Founder of NMDOG, for an exploration of how foster-based rescues and brick-and-mortar shelters can work together to increase opportunities for homeless pets. Topics discussed will include navigating another organizations policies, and what shelters and rescue need from and can do for each other.

Presented by Dawn Glass, Animal Humane New Mexico
The axiom “Image is everything” absolutely pertains to animal shelters. From your organization’s social media voice to the importance of consistent branding, this seminar will provide you with marketing essentials you can easily incorporate to improve your organization’s image and increase adoptions.

Presented by Dr. Gerryll Hall, DVM, Merck

This course reviews the organisms that can cause disease in both people and animals, describes what each infection looks like and addresses the challenges involved in diagnosis, treatment and control of these organisms to prevent spread to humans.

Presented by Donna Reynolds, BAD RAP

The tide is changing for the once-maligned pit bulls. Learn how just a few simple changes in shelter policies and messaging can inspire your community to understand these popular dogs and include them in their circle of compassion. Included in this presentation are favorite techniques that work to increase adoptions and to keep kenneled dogs as comfortable as possible during their confinement while learning adoption-ready manners.

Presented by Phil Carter & Victoria Murphy, APNM

2012 – 2013 brought several changes to New Mexico’s equine welfare laws and opportunities. Join Animal Protection of New Mexico’s Phil Carter and Victoria Murphy as they discuss these changes and how they can be used to help and protect animals in our communities.

Presented by Dr. Gerryll Hall, DVM, Merck
Are you prepared?  Have you written a plan for your facility?  Can you actually evacuate the animals from the facility?  Have you tried it?  Do you have a list of what you need to handle the emergency?  Emergency preparedness and response are so important.  If the emergency occurs overnight, can someone reach the animals in order to care for them?  Animals and people are impacted the same during disasters.  Each facility needs to review and practice an evacuation plan for their facility, so they know how long it takes to empty the building and what supplies to have on hand to be prepared.  This presentation will cover these concepts and provide a list of resources to practice how to handle emergencies successfully and the greatest life saving techniques.

Presented by Todd Stosuy, Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter, Current President NACA
Animal Care and Control Agencies often spend the majority of their resources responding to complaints after incidents have occurred. What would happen if our Agencies became more proactive? This workshop will highlight a community-focused non-law enforcement program conducted by plain clothes animal control officers. This “boots on the ground” program addresses the issues of animal overpopulation, animal abuse/neglect, and nuisance complaints with positive results. The workshop will also discuss an innovative spay/neuter program that can make your Agency money while saving lives, as well as multiple ways your agency can do successful community outreach.

Presented by Tom Alexander, Santa Fe Animal Shelter; Peggy Lynch-Hill, APS; Sherry Mangold, Animal Protection of New Mexico; Anna Soeiro, CHES

Sit in with some of New Mexico’s leaders in animal-welfare related humane education for a discussion about the successes and benefits they have experienced through humane education, and the challenges an organization or individual might face building humane education programs. We will discuss topics such as what animal-welfare humane education offers students and teachers, current New Mexico programs and how to access them, why an organization or individual might want to incorporate humane education programs, and great ways to engage youth in humane learning.

Presented by Patricia Norris, DVM, Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Dept.

Law enforcement agencies are increasing their investigations into animal abuse and animal fighting cases and they need veterinarians to assist them. As one Assistant District Attorney who specializes in animal cases states: “No vet, no case.” As a veterinarian, you may be called as a material witness and/or an expert witness depending on the case and your documentation will be closely scrutinized by the courts. This presentation will address what veterinary documentation should be taken, what veterinary monitoring should be considered, documentation and procedures for treatment of court hold animals, pitfalls to be avoided, documentation for court testimony, documentation needed for veterinarians testifying as expert witnesses and issues concerning discovery for the criminal and civil cases. In addition information will be given on the graduate level certificate program for Veterinary Forensics. 

Presented by Matthew Pepper, Bernalillo County Animal Care

Animal hoarding is a complex and challenging issue. It is more than animal cruelty and its impact is felt far beyond simply the animals. A thorough understanding of the mind of an animal hoarder and the commitment necessary to reach an appropriate, long term resolution is crucial to obtaining a positive outcome for everyone involved. Animal hoarding is, whether through actual incidents or simply due to increased recognition, becoming more prevalent in our communities. As animal care and control professionals we have an obligation to understand and appropriately address instances of animal hoarding.

Presented by Lisa Jennings, Animal Protection of New Mexico

“It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr., US black civil rights leader & clergyman (1929 – 1968)

These powerful words paint a picture in the starkest terms about why strong laws are essential for protecting vulnerable individuals from harm. If you’re an animal in New Mexico, it’s clear you need better protection under the law.

While passing laws is one very important tool for the advocate toolbox, enacting such laws takes the collective clout of a vocal public. Passing stronger laws also requires tremendous persistence, strategic planning, hard work, and focused voices. In particular, bills with criminal penalties—often part of animal protection legislation—require massive public support to become law.

Attend this workshop and learn why your voice matters in the state legislature, how the process works, how to effectively lobby legislators and become effective “citizen lobbyists,” and get an up-to-date analysis about 2013 legislation and future bills. Learn how to change the laws to change the animals’ lives for the better, and why this process needs you to be involved!

Presented by Miranda Spindel, DVM, ASPCA
You are invited to learn more about canine parvo virus and feline panleukopenia virus in animal shelters in this presentation. Parvo viruses are highly contagious, durable in nature, and capable of producing severe or life threatening disease in individual animals. Many shelters experience outbreaks and struggle with management after these viruses are introduced into the shelter population. This 90 minute session will provide a basic overview of both diseases and cover practical information to help you save more lives!

Humane Education Coordinator, Santa Fe Animal Shelter

Tom earned a BBA in Marketing at Texas A&M University.  After twenty years in training, marketing and advertising positions for Fortune 500 corporations, he spent ten years as a freelance writer and marketing consultant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Tom retired to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2000.  Since then, he has done volunteer work for many nonprofit organizations, including Kitchen Angels, Mentoring New Mexico, Heart & Soul Animal Sanctuary, Literacy Volunteers of Santa Fe, Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society, Española Animal Shelter, Kindred Spirits Animal Sanctuary and the Wildlife Center in Española.  For the last nine years, he has worked on New Mexico’s Week For The Animals task force, an official event by proclamation of the Governor of New Mexico.

He currently volunteers as the Humane Education Coordinator for the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society. He also serves as the advisor to the Shelter Youth Board, a partnership between the Shelter and Jane Goodall Institute’s Roots & Shoots youth program.

Previous Board of Directors experience includes Kitchen Angels, Literary Volunteers of Santa Fe, the Heart and Soul Animal Sanctuary and Kindred Spirits Animal Sanctuary. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for APNM (Animal Protection of New Mexico), PAWS (People for Animal Welfare Society) and the Lakota Animal Care Project, an effort to enhance the relationship between people and their companion animals on the Lakota Sioux Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Vice President, Grants Management, ASPCA

Michael Barrett has led the grants department at the ASPCA since 2008. Under his leadership, the grant budget has doubled to more than $17 million, and grant programs have expanded to include a variety of creative initiatives that respond to the needs of animals in every U.S. state. Michael lives in New York City with his dog, Binah, who was rescued by the ASPCA from a puppy mill in 2010. 

Director of Adoptions, Animal Humane New Mexico

Sam Blankenship joined the Animal Humane team in 2009. He started his climb up the Animal Humane career ladder as an Adoptions Advisor. Sam absolutely loves adopting out dogs. When he’s not managing his great Adoptions Team, he keeps himself mentally and physically in a shape by playing on a weekend soccer team. Sam’s other passion is performing as a drummer and piano player in a local rock rand. He is guardian to two dogs, a 4-year-old Pit Lab cross named Olivia and Bama, a 3-year-old Corgi adopted from Animal Humane, plus two cats, 8-year-old Cricket and 5-year-old Montgomery. He is currently working towards his CPDT-KA.

Equine Campaign Manager, Animal Protection of New Mexico

Phil Carter has served as the Equine Campaign Manager for Animal Protection of New Mexico since 2010 and is the coordinator of the humane programs of the Equine Protection Fund. He lives in Santa Fe.  

Director of Spay/Neuter Operations, ASPCA

Shelby Davis is a longtime Colorado resident currently living in New York City due to her position as Director of Spay/Neuter Operations at the ASPCA. Shelby oversees operations for six mobile clinics, a stationary spay/neuter clinic and the National Training Program, which mentors communities wishing to start new spay/neuter programs. Prior to her tenure at the ASPCA, Shelby worked for American Humane, in Disaster Response, and was a part-time volunteer at the Colorado Humane Society, all the while running Soul Dog Rescue, a small, grassroots nonprofit dedicated to spay/neuter on the Indian Reservations in the Four Corners Region. Soul Dog has performed over 3,000 free sterilizations on the reservations utilizing an all-volunteer staff.

In addition, Shelby is a regular volunteer with International Spay/Neuter groups, having led clinics and operations in American Samoa, Ecuador, the Galapagos, Dominican Republic and the Bahamas.

Judy Durzo earned her J.D. cum laude from the University of New Mexico Law School in 1985. Over the years, her practice has included civil rights, torts and business litigation, mediation and arbitration, medical/legal hearings, employment hearings and nonprofit corporations. She has more than 23 years of nonprofit experience as a board member, founder, organizer, incorporator and advisor. Judy has been involved with several animal and environmental nonprofits including, among others, Grand Canyon Association, Grand Circle Field School, Wildlife Rescue of New Mexico, New Mexico Zoological Society, and Cause for Paws, which provides funding for emergency vet care. Judy recently organized a coalition of New Mexico nonprofits, New Mexico’s Hair to Help, that assisted wildlife and domestic animal victims of the BP Gulf Coast oil disaster.

Judy Durzo’s practice now focuses on the various aspects of animal law, from dog bites to animal rights to pet trusts. She offers mediation or arbitration of any animal issues. Because she strongly believes in community service, Judy offers reasonably priced assistance to nonprofit organizations from formation to obtaining 501c3 status to providing general counsel.

Director Animal Relocation & Community Outreach, ASPCA

Austin has been in animal welfare for over 20 years and has spent 10 of those years as the Executive Director of a transfer-in adoption center with a high-quality high-volume spay/neuter clinic in NW Washington. As a certified veterinary technician she helped open the original spay/neuter clinic at the Denver Dumb Friends League. She has extensive experience in animal welfare and has been at the ASPCA for over 2 years.

Marketing Director, Animal Humane New Mexico

Dawn Glass is Animal Humane’s Marketing Director. Over the past 5 years she developed Animal Humane’s brand presence through strategic & comprehensive marketing initiatives including social media, relationship building, traditional advertising, internal marketing and more. Dawn believes the foundations for marketing include consistent messaging, exceptional graphics & imagery, and great relationships with the community.  Dawn holds a BBA in Marketing from UNM’s Anderson School of Management and is the proud pet parent to two dogs, both adopted from Animal Humane, and two cats.

Merck Animal Health

Dr. Hall is the lead veterinarian for Merck Animal Health’s unique Vaccine Protocol Help Line.  Her contributions to this effort include practicing in Atlanta, GA, as well as working with two rescue groups and one shelter; creating vaccination life plans for animals with genetic problems or suspected adverse events; presenting the latest product developments and applications to veterinarians, as well as keeping them informed about recent industry changes; updating shelters on immunology and sanitation protocols; visiting  veterinary clinics and shelters personally to educate the staff on the issues involved in the use of currently available products.  She also serves as the primary Merck Animal Health representative at international, national and state meetings concerning biologicals, internal medicine and pain management.

Executive Director, Animal Protection of New Mexico & Animal Protection Voters

Lisa Jennings is Executive Director of Animal Protection of New Mexico, a 501(c)(3), and Animal Protection Voters, a 501(c)(4), both statewide animal advocacy organizations. Through their coordinated efforts, the groups aim to ensure animals matter in every New Mexican community. 

Jennings has been actively involved in advocacy and public policy for animals since 1985. 

APNM’s and APV’s combined accomplishments include: banned dogfighting, cockfighting and horse tripping; passed law making animal cruelty a felony; mandated sale of bitter antifreeze; changed public education policy to require dissection alternative in schools; secured millions of dollars in state funding for animal shelters and spay-neuter clinics; established and secured state funding for animal shelter oversight board and Animal Cruelty Task Force; implemented comprehensive equine welfare program services; waged successful campaign to protect former research chimpanzees; implemented groundbreaking humane education programs. APNM operates the states two animal cruelty hotlines that serve as a catalyst for program development.

Animal Protection Voters is heavily involved in local, state and federal lobbying and elections. APV publishes an annual legislative scorecard, issues candidate endorsements and has both state and federal Political Action Committees that have donated tens of thousands of dollars to animal-friendly candidates.

Ms. Jennings has Bachelor of Science degrees in Physics and Civil Engineering and worked as a private sector engineer for ten years prior to working in the animal protection field.

DVM Resident, Koret Shelter Medicine Program, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Cynthia (Cindy) Karsten was born and raised in Madison, WI. After graduating from the University of WI in 1999 with a degree in Forest Science she moved to Montana and then onto Alaska before returning to WI for veterinary school in 2006. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin, School of Veterinary Medicine in 2010 and went on to complete a shelter medicine internship at Colorado State University.  She is currently in the second year of her shelter medicine residency with the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program. 

Dr. Karsten has been working with shelters for over a decade. What started out as volunteering at local shelters has developed into participating in national shelter consultations. Her work has also taken her to Mexico, the Bahamas and Ecuador to work with clinics on wellness medicine and spay/neuter surgeries.

Dr. Karsten’s main interests are in population management, enrichment for shelter animals and international medicine. She lives with her 5 shelter dogs (weights 6, 12, 20, 50 and 60 pounds), 1 stray cat and an exceptionally supportive husband.

Program Manager, PetSmart Charities

Bryan Kortis currently serves as Program Manager for PetSmart Charities, overseeing their Free-roaming Cat Spay/Neuter grants as well as other initiatives.  He is the co-founder and former executive director of Neighborhood Cats and has authored and produced many of the leading educational materials on Trap-Neuter-Return.  A frequent presenter on free-roaming cat issues, he has helped launch successful TNR programs in New York City and other communities throughout the United States.

Teacher of the Gifted, Albuquerque Public Schools 2011 Milagro Award Winner for Humane Education

Teacher of the Gifted at Truman Middle School, Peggy Lynch-Hill makes humane education a focus in her classrooms and seminars by incorporating the lessons into the established curriculum. Her no-nonsense approach and ability to capture her students’ attention in creative and compassionate ways result in experiences that are memorable and transformative. Using a holistic approach that reaches students through the plight of animals, she is fostering in every young person she encounters a sense of what it is to be a humane person.

Senior Cruelty Complaints Manager & Education Outreach Director, Animal Protection of New Mexico

Before coming to Animal Protection of New Mexico (APNM), Sherry was a national, state and Albuquerque Public Schools award-winning teacher at Eldorado High School.  After retiring from the classroom, she served for 6 years as the Cruelty Case Manager for APNM, handling the calls from both the APNM cruelty line as well as the state-wide New Mexico Attorney General’s Animal Cruelty Task Force Hot Line.  Recognizing the need for animal humane education throughout the state, Sherry then moved into the position of Educational Director for APNM.

Sherry has created a 12 week humane education unit, “Open Hearts=Open Minds,” adaptable for multiple age groups.  When taught on the 5th through 8th grade levels, the program meets the New Mexico Department of Public Education’s Core Competencies.

Outside of the classroom, Sherry’s world continues to revolve around animals.  She is a Rescue Specialist for Greyhound Companions of New Mexico and also serves Southwest Canine Corps of Volunteers as an evaluator and trainer for registered therapy dogs. 

Sherry’s family consists of 4 rescued dogs, 3 of whom work as therapy dogs in multiple facilities and classrooms throughout New Mexico.

President/CEO, Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region

Jan McHugh-Smith is the President/CEO of the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, an open-admission organization with two facilities serving 25,000 animals annually throughout Southern Colorado.  She is the past Chair and current Board member of the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators (SAWA), a professional association that advocates humane ideals through the professional development of animal welfare leaders. She serves as the Chair of the CATalyst Council which works to increase awareness and raise the level of care and welfare for cats.  Jan speaks on animal welfare issues at conferences all over the United States. 

Jan’s animal welfare experience over the past 28 years also includes being President of the San Francisco SPCA, San Francisco CA; CEO of the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, Boulder CO; and Director of Eagle County Animal Control, Eagle CO.  Previously, Jan served on the American Humane Association Advisory Board, HSUS Companion Animal Advisory Committee, participated in developing the Asilomar Accords and is working on the national database project, Shelter Animal’s Count to collect data from animal shelters.

She is a Certified Animal Welfare Professional (CAWA), earned her Bachelors in Music at the University of Colorado, Boulder and a Bachelors of Science at Southern Connecticut State University. 

Most importantly she shares her life with her husband, son and four wonderful shelter dogs, Pepito, Flint, Molly, and Buddy – four small but mighty Terriers and Chihuahuas.


Dr. LeMac’ Morris received his DVM in 1980 from Oklahoma State College of Veterinary Medicine.  He worked as a practice owner in a predominately companion animal practice for over 20 years, before accepting a position at Iowa State University as an adjunct instructor for the Center for Food Security and Public Health (CFSPH).  While working at the CFSPH he received his Masters degree in Public Health from the University of Iowa.  He currently is employed in industry where he consults with animal shelters and other animal facilities, assisting them in developing practical infectious disease control protocols to minimizing infectious diseases in companion animal populations.  Dr. Morris is a member of the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association, American Veterinary Medical Association and a Diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine. His interests’ lies in infectious disease control where he has been involved with field investigations of companion animal disease outbreaks, isolated from the field companion animal pathogens for use in research and championed a field study investigating ways to improve a companion animal biologic.

Animal Shelter Program Manager, Animal Protection of New Mexico

Victoria Murphy is Animal Protection of New Mexico’s newest staff member. Her initiative as the Animal Shelter Program Manager is to help animal shelters and shelter animals across New Mexico. Victoria will be focusing on new ways to increase New Mexico shelters’ and Animal Control Agencies ability to humanely care for companion animals, increase adoptions, increase spay/neuters, reduce euthanasia rates, and ultimately gain more meaningful public and private support of New Mexico shelters.

Victoria most recently served as Animal Control Program Manager for the Town of Edgewood, where she worked for eight years in a capacity that included both animal sheltering and animal control. Victoria Murphy has an impressive number of years in the animal welfare field, which includes diverse positions with City of Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department, the Albuquerque Biological Park, Vista Large Animal Hospital, the Doña Ana County Humane Society and the City of Las Cruces. She has implemented a vast array of programs in the positions she held, including fundraisers to bridge the gap between needs and budgets. Ms. Murphy is equally adept at developing creative and positive approaches to motivate people to understand the needs of shelters, sanctuaries, rescues, etc. and to value animals.

In addition, Ms. Murphy has served in the state’s Animal Sheltering Board since its inception in 2007 and currently holds the position of vice-chair. Victoria was also recently appointed to the HSUS’s Companion Animal Advisory Council and will share ideas to help the HSUS develop plans and programs to assists animal shelters nationwide in improving services to their communities.

Ms Murphy is a wife and mother of two adult daughters in addition to a year-old granddaughter and shares her household with a mixture of companion and farm animals. One of her favorite quotes is Mahatma Gandhi’s: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

Jeff Nichol, DVM, did his undergraduate work and attended veterinary school at Michigan State University, graduating in 1974. In addition to general medicine and surgery, Dr. Nichol has actively pursued the study of veterinary behavior medicine since 1993. Currently he is doing a residency in veterinary behavior medicine, leading to board certification. Behavior disorders in pets comprises 70% of his practice.

Dr. Nichol was co-author of a peer-reviewed scientific article on cognitive dysfunction. He is currently engaged in research on the early diagnosis of this disease in dogs. He has been the feature Pet Care columnist in the Albuquerque Journal since 1996. He is the author of three books, A Lifetime Guide to Practical Pet Care, Is My Dog OK? – How to Know When Your Dog Won’t Say, and Is My Cat OK – How to Know When Your Cat Won’t Say, published in the United States and Russia.

Sheriff’s Veterinarian, Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department

Patricia Norris is the Sheriff’s Veterinarian for the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department and is the veterinarian for the New Mexico Animal Sheltering Board. As Sheriff’s Veterinarian she works with investigators on their animal cruelty, dog-fighting and cock-fighting cases and cares for the dogs in the DASO Canine Unit. She is also in charge of the DASO Protective Custody Animal Shelter which shelters animals involved in court cases as well as animals owned by victims of domestic violence leaving their situation. She is a charter member of the International Veterinary Forensic Science Association. She is also one of 7 students who were able to complete the program for the inaugural class of University of Florida, U of Fla. College of Veterinary Medicine and Maples Forensics Center graduate level Veterinary Forensics certificate program. This international program graduated its inaugural class in April 2013. Dr. Norris was in private practice for 25 years and for 6 years was the veterinarian for a colony of 750 endangered lemurs and other prosimians at Duke University. She started North Carolina’s first Pet Safe program which provided free care and shelter for animals owned by domestic violence victims as they sought to leave the violent situation. She also was part of her North Carolinas state and county Animal Response Teams which responded to assist animals during natural disasters.

Director of Animal Care Services, Bernalillo County

Matthew Pepper is the Director of Animal Care Services for Bernalillo County. He has more than 15 years of experience in animal care and control including the investigation of complex animal cruelty cases. In addition to his professional positions throughout those years he has previously served on the Board of Directors for the Michigan Association of Animal Control Officers, Louisiana Animal Control Association and the National Animal Control Association. Throughout his career he has provided training in a variety of topics, primarily animal cruelty investigations, to animal control and law enforcement personnel in Michigan, Tennessee, Louisiana and New Mexico. Matthew has a Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife Biology from Grand Valley State University.

Co-Founder & Executive Director, BAD RAP

Donna Reynolds works to keep BAD RAP on track with projects that fulfill the group’s mission to ‘Secure the future of the American Pit Bull Terrier as a cherished family companion.’ She directed the nationally recognized breed ambassador Pit Bull Hall project at the East Bay SPCA from 2005-2008 and from 2008-2010, the AmbassaDog Project at Oakland Animal Services. A committed educator, she’s written several articles on pit bulls, she develops many of BR’s educational materials and presents the group’s program models widely to audiences around the country. Through ‘Pit Ed Camp,’ a multi-day long intensive for shelter workers, she assists progressive animal shelters with enhancing their adoption and public outreach programs. Donna participated in evaluating the Vick dogs in 2007 then absorbed ten of the dogs into BR’s adoption program. She shares her life with husband Tim Racer and two personal dogs and creates illustrations for books and magazines during her down time.

Helga Schimkat is a New Mexico lawyer and consultant. She has worked on issues related animals and the environment for 15 years, often for non-profit organizations and the State, and did estate planning, real estate and corporate law before that. She planned and organized the New Mexico Humane Conference from 2007 through 2010 and was named the Animal Advocate of the Year in 2011 by the leadership of the New Mexico Humane Conference. She has extensive experience at the New Mexico Legislature, including serving as Chief of Staff for the House Majority. Helga also writes on animal issues and has served as the Chair of the Animal Law Section of the New Mexico State Bar since its inception. She is a graduate of Yale University and Columbia Law School.

Anna Soeiro is the only Certified Humane Education Specialist (CHES) in New Mexico and has taught classes in Pecos as well as Santa Fe. She has worked extensively with non-profits in Northern New Mexico and has been a board member for the Buckaroo Ball Committee as well as for CASA in the 1st Judicial District; Anna volunteers regularly with Espanola Valley Animal Shelter and has successfully trademarked Mane Street Education which will eventually be a non-profit that will aid her efforts while working with the Santa Fe Public Schools. This past year she has worked extensively with Capital High School and has brought humane education to these students with help from “Hedgie”, her daughter’s hedgehog and “Bowie”, one of their three dogs. She has attended both the No Homeless Pets Conference (Best Friends) as well as the Association for Professional Humane Educators Conference recently held in Detroit, MI. She is currently working on an article for Green Teacher magazine at the request of its editor and will one day publish a humane education manual called “What Would Oprah Do?” Anna feels Humane Education needs to be in every classroom and is pursuing her teaching credentials to do just that. She holds a BA from Dominican University in River Forest, IL and moved to Santa Fe six days after graduation where she lives with her husband, daughter, 3 dogs, 2 cats, hedgehog and Hyacinth Macaw.

Senior Director of Shelter Medicine – Veterinarian Outreach, ASPCA

Dr. Miranda Spindel is currently Senior Director of Shelter Medicine in the department of Veterinary Outreach at the ASPCA. Following graduation in 1999 from Colorado State University’s Professional Veterinary Medical program, Dr. Spindel completed a rotating small animal internship and spent several years in emergency and small animal practice before returning to work in her true passion—shelter medicine.

Dr. Spindel believes that the world within an animal shelter is rich in opportunity for veterinary education and research integrated with improving the lives of animals. Dr. Spindel developed and taught a junior shelter medicine course for five years at Colorado State University and is currently an affiliate faculty member teaching shelter medicine there. She initiated and completed the first residency in shelter medicine with a Master of Clinical Sciences offered though Colorado State University. Dr. Spindel is a two term past President of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, a member of the ASV Shelter Standards Task Force, and serves as the Veterinary Information Network’s shelter medicine consultant. Her research interests are canine influenza virus, upper respiratory diseases, and infectious disease management.  Dr. Spindel lives in Colorado and works with shelters across the country.

Founder, NMDOG

Angela Stell is the Founder, President and Director of the group NMDOG, based out of Albuquerque’s South Valley.

NMDOG is primarily a chained dog rescue/rehab, serving forgotten dogs across the state of New Mexico. They take on some of the state’s most horrific cases of cruelty. NMDOG has an average of 25 previously-chained dogs in their program at any given time. It is an all-volunteer, foster-based rescue. A main focus for NMDOG is field outreach and education on the dangers of chaining. Angela & her group can often be spotted in the most rural, problematic areas of New Mexico passing out doghouses, straw in the winter months, dog food, harnesses & trolleys to replace heavy chains and educating dog guardians. They are often called upon to speak at City Council meetings in support of anti-tethering legislation. NMDOG’s support of communities that have adopted anti-tethering ordinances comes in many forms such as building fences for chained dogs to get them into compliance, offering training to their guardians to help get the dogs inside the home as part of the family, low cost spay/neuter assistance, utilizing their great network to assist dogs in getting into other approved rescue groups and, ultimately, by taking dogs into the NMDOG program. NMDOG works hand-in-hand with many local rescue groups, shelters, law enforcement and animal control departments and is a valued member of the Bernalillo County Animal Cruelty Task Force.

Angela is NACA certified on 3 levels and holds certification in chemical immobilization, OCAT, bite stick and euthanasia. Angela has worked in the NM rescue community for approximately 7 years and founded NMDOG a little over 2 years ago to address the overlooked problem of the backyard dog across the state. Angela also works a part time non-dog job and dedicates every waking hour to the forgotten dogs of New Mexico. She shares her home with 2 Big Black Dogs & 4 Huskies.  

President, National Animal Control Association (NACA) Field Service Manager, Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter

Officer Todd Stosuy is the Field Services Manager for the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter. Todd has two Bachelors degrees from Rutgers University, one in Criminal Justice and the second in Sociology. During and after college Todd worked as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) for an urban Rescue Squad in New Jersey for 4 years before switching careers and becoming a first grade teacher in urban Philadelphia. After working one heartbreaking year in this capacity, he switched modes and spent time volunteering with rescued farmed animals at the Farm Sanctuary in upstate New York. Afterwards he became a Cruelty Caseworker for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and eventually moved to California and became an Animal Control Officer with Santa Cruz County. Todd has been with the Agency since 2003 and is the current President of the National Animal Control Association (NACA). Todd shares his life with his wife, two dogs and four cats.

Senior Director of Development & Marketing, Animal Humane New Mexico

Donna joined Animal Humane New Mexico’s Development Team in 2007. Over the past five years she has built a comprehensive donor acknowledgement and multi-channel fundraising plan that attracts valuable gifts for Animal Humane. Donna believes the foundation of fundraising is built on trust and prompt, genuine and effective communication with donors. Over the past decade, Donna has developed a rich background in database management, newsletter production, direct mail solicitations, employee giving campaigns, grant writing and planned giving. She holds M.S. in Environmental Economics and a B.S. in Finance from New Mexico State University and is the proud parent of two felines — Orbit and Sassafras, both adopted from Animal Humane.

Executive Director, Animal Humane New Mexico

Ms. Weigle joined Animal Humane New Mexico in September of 2006, following a successful 20 year career in the high tech industry. While at Animal Humane, she has led the organization to a 100% save rate for healthy pets, a 65% decrease in euthanasias, and the opening of New Mexico’s first donor-subsidized veterinary clinic for low-income pet owners. In 2012, she was instrumental in kicking off “Project Humane,” a $5.0 million dollar campus-wide renovation to improve Animal Humane’s facilities.   In 2008, Governor Richardson appointed Ms. Weigle to serve on the newly formed Animal Sheltering Board. In 2009, she was named one of New Mexico Business Weekly’s thirty “Women of Influence” and received the Governor’s Award for Outstanding NM Women.


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