2020 Conference

The 2020 New Mexico Humane Conference:

2020 Vision

Coming August 6, 7 & 8, 2020 to a computer near you!

Explore the tabs below for more details about this year’s amazing event!

If you have any questions about information on this page, please contact us.

The 2020 New Mexico Humane Conference is going VIRTUAL!

We want to ensure our amazing speakers and attendees stay safe during the current coronavirus pandemic. But that doesn’t mean that learning should stop! We’ll be offering the same amazing speakers and sessions to help you expand your life-saving work via a virtual platform.

We will offer three full days of educational session: Thursday, August 6–Friday, August 7–Saturday, August 8.

Register using the links on this page. Details for attending the virtual conference will be sent to registered attendees the week of the event. 

President & CEO, The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement (formerly SAWA)

Jim Tedford has been actively engaged in the animal welfare movement for more than 35 years. He currently serves as President & CEO for The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement (formerly known as the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators), a professional association of leaders in the fields of animal welfare and animal care & control. Tedford has been CEO for animal welfare organizations in New York, Louisiana and Tennessee. He served as a regional director for The Humane Society of the United States. He spent a number of years on the for-profit side assisting organizations with direct response fundraising strategies and served as Director of Animal Welfare Initiatives for Knoxville-based Radio Systems Corporation representing PetSafe and Invisible Fence brands. Jim has presented at national and regional conferences on various animal welfare issues, organizational development and not-for-profit management. Tedford received a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science from the University of Tennessee. Jim and his wife, Ann, share their home with two high-energy terriers, a macaw and an almost 30-year-old quarter horse.

Senior Director, Pets for Life, The Humane Society of the United States

Amanda Arrington is the Senior Director of the groundbreaking Pets for Life (PFL) program at the Humane Society of the United States and previously served as a lobbyist and North Carolina State Director for HSUS.  With PFL, Amanda guides a social justice-driven approach to create equity in and access to pet resources and information for people in underserved communities. Under her leadership the program has been implemented in over 50 markets across the country and is working to make companion animal welfare a more just and inclusive movement.  

Amanda is also the founder and Executive Director of Beyond Fences, a non-profit based in Durham, NC.  The organization builds trust and relationships in communities by providing no-fee pet services and support for people living in underserved areas.  

Amanda currently serves as vice-chair of The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement’s OnPOINT committee on increasing diversity in animal welfare, served three years as the chair of the Durham County Animal Control Advisory Committee and on the board of the Durham Interneighborhood Council. Amanda has received many awards for her community outreach work including the prestigious American Veterinary Medical Association Humane Award in 2018. 

Executive Director, Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando

Stephen Bardy is the Executive Director of Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando (PAGO) which services the community through two shelters, three veterinary clinics and 18 offsite adoption partnerships.  Prior to joining PAGO, he served Florida’s abused and neglected children in the nonprofit and governmental sector for 25 years. Steve has served on two national advisory boards and is the past President of the Florida Association of Animal Welfare Organizations. He received his BS in Business from the University of South Florida and his Master of Public Administration from Florida Atlantic University. He serves as a foster parent for nursing canines and is blessed with three family dogs, Minnie, Milo and Molly. The alliteration was unintended. 

Director of Operations, Lucky Dog Animal Rescue

Colleen Bernhard is the Director of Operations for Lucky Dog Animal Rescue. As Director of Operations Colleen oversees Lucky Dog’s Volunteer Programs, Adoption Events, Vetting Programs, and other day to day operational functions. Colleen began volunteering with Lucky Dog as a handler after adopting her first Lucky Dog, Piper, in 2014. Her passion quickly grew as she became an Adoption Coordinator and eventually Team Lead, overseeing the training and support of volunteers on the Adoption Coordinator Team.  

Prior to joining Lucky Dog full time, she was the Photography and Visual Resources Coordinator at the Newseum in Washington, DC. She has her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art History and Anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh and her Master’s Degree in Exhibition Design from the Corcoran College of Art + Design, now part of George Washington University. 

Colleen’s love for rescue doubled, quite literally, after traveling to Puerto Rico with the team in 2017 where she met and quickly adopted her second Lucky Dog, Jo. Most recently, she’s foster failed on a mama cat named Winnie, who is loving her new life perched on windowsills watching DC life go by! She’s so happy to continue helping dogs and cats, like her own three LDAR alums, find the loving homes they deserve. 

Executive Director, Houston Pets Alive!

Last year, Sharon joined Houston Pets Alive in Houston, Texas as the Executive Director. 

Prior to HPA!, Sharon was the Chief Operating Office and the Communications Director for the Rural Outreach Center, a non-profit outside Buffalo, NY, where she developed the program model and over five years increased development and communication metrics.  

Sharon also worked as the Chief Operating Officer and Creative Director for a national communications firm, where for 15 years she led the firm’s strategic growth resulting in an 800% increase in revenue.  Her clients included political clients from presidential to congressional, as well as corporate clients, including the Seattle Seahawks and AT&T. 

Director of Educational Programs, The National Kitten Coalition

Rosemarie Crawford is a licensed veterinary technician with a long history of helping animals – particularly kittens.  She is co-founder of The National Kitten Coalition and has almost 20 years’ experience in animal welfare.  As a medical staff member in a high-volume, open-access shelter in IL, Rosemarie worked closely with the shelter veterinarian to provide for the animals’ medical and surgical needs.  She assisted in developing and implementing progressive, proactive protocols for the care and treatment of kittens in the shelter’s kitten nursery room as well as for those in foster care.  Additionally, Rosemarie served in two shelters as the foster coordinator and understands the challenges and rewards of creating, expanding and maintaining foster programs.  In addition to presenting training sessions for The National Kitten Coalition, Rosemarie works at a six-doctor veterinary practice in northern VA, and in her spare time, she enjoys traveling with her husband or fostering kittens needing medical care. 

Education & Outreach Coordinator, Animal Care Services San Antonio 

Josie Espinoza, is a certified humane educator since 2017 and the Education and Outreach Coordinator with the City of San Antonio Animal Care Services (ACS). 

 In her role as one of the shelter’s original Education Coordinators, she revitalized the decade’s long school-based program through effective humane-centric curricula that bring empathy and compassion into local classrooms. Thousands of local students have participated in her fun, interactive presentations. Each lesson focuses, not just on humane pet care, but also the human-animal bond and helping children understand how being compassionate towards animals also reflects in their relationships with one another and their community. 

 Josie’s leadership in the humane education field isn’t limited to schoolbased programs A recent innovation saw her creating a pet related learning game based on Loteria, a bilingual bingo style game popular in Spanish speaking communities. The San Antonio version created by Josie is aptly called Pawteria and it’s already making educational inroads with both adults and children. 

Director of National Shelter Outreach, Best Friends Animal Society 

Scott Giacoppo is director of national shelter outreach for Best Friends and oversees the development of lifesaving efficacy and sustainability for animal welfare partners across the U.S.  

Through Best Friends’ shelter outreach program, Scott provides leadership and hands-on training for strategic shelter partners; conducts professional shelter operations and field assessments; and leads progressive, humane trainings for animal control agencies and officers. In his current role, Scott champions a collaborative approach to partnership and believes that each animal welfare organization, along with the community it serves, is unique and deserving of support that speaks to its individual needs. 

Prior to joining Best Friends, Scott was chief of animal field services for the District of Columbia for 10 years, overseeing all animal control and cruelty investigations team members for Humane Rescue Alliance. In this role, he designed and implemented a number of successful community-based programs, helped draft and secure critical animal protection legislation, and represented the organization as a speaker at various regional and national events. He also established a trap-neuter-return program that garnered citywide support and helped reduce the percentage of stray cats killed from 85 percent to 12 percent.  

Scott has been involved in animal protection since 1989, when he became an animal caregiver in Minneapolis. He soon returned to his hometown of Boston, Massachusetts, where he began his career with the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals as special state police officer for cruelty investigations. During this time, he received the Boston Police Commissioners Citation for work with dangerous dogs and street gangs, certificates of excellence for promoting and providing community policing education from the New England Crime Prevention Partnership, and a certificate of appreciation from the Rockingham County Attorney’s Office in the state of New Hampshire for assistance in investigation and prosecution of precedent-setting animal fighting cases. 


Pet Food Bank Volunteer, Animal Humane New Mexico

Patrick was born in a small town in western Pennsylvania in 1948. After a year in college, he joined the Navy and was stationed in a number of locations, including Guam, USS Constellation and Vietnam. He worked for Amtrak for almost 30 years, reaching the level of General Manager. He also worked for Walt Disney. Patrick retired from both companies in 2011 and moved to New Mexico to be closer to his three daughters.  

Patrick has been a volunteer at Animal Humane since 2013. He has been instrumental in the development implementation of Animal Humane’s Pet Food Bank, a 100 percent volunteer-run endeavor. Along with a team of volunteers, Patrick coordinates the distribution of 3,000 lbs. of donated pet food weekly.  

Executive Director/Founder, ACTion Programs for Animals

Michel Meunier works for the Center for Countermeasures at the WSMR, NM, post as a civilian Department of Defense employee in the field of technical writing/editing. Michel grew up in the border region and attended the University of Texas at El Paso. She has a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in Criminal Justice and a master of fine arts’ degree in English/Creative Writing. 

Michel has been a lifelong animal welfare and rights advocate and has rescued animals personally since she was a child and then later as a volunteer at many animal organizations in El Paso and Las Cruces. Because of her love and respect of animals, she became a vegetarian at age 19. 

Michel founded ACTion Programs for Animals (APA) in Las Cruces in 2009 to fill gaps in No Kill programming and services she felt were important and sorely lacking in the area. She now serves as the organization’s executive director overseeing the pet food bank, an adoption center, and a thrift store in Las Cruces.  The organization is the largest animal welfare non-profit in Dona Ana County and has rescued more than 4600 animals, most from the municipal shelter.  Since it’s implementation, APA’s food bank has distributed over 1 million pounds of food & supplies to the Dona Ana community.  

Adoptions Manager, Houston Pets Alive!

Kristen is the Adoptions Manager for Houston Pets Alive!  She started at HPA! as a dog walker and behavior program volunteer and quickly became an HPA! Adoptions Counselor.  She has been instrumental in the continued success and growth of HPA!’s adoption program, particularly during the recent Covid-19 crisis.   

Passionate about animals since she was young, Kristen studied a completely different field but, in the end, her love for pets proved too important to ignore. Kristen loves her job because, while HPA! savedogs and cats from the euthanasia list every day, she‘s lucky enough to see firsthand how pets really save their adopters. 

Client Services Manager, Roadrunner Food Bank

Jason Riggs is the Client Services Manager at Roadrunner Food Bank. He was born and raised in Albuquerque, NM.  He started working at Roadrunner in 2008 as the first wave of the Recession began hitting New Mexico. In 2013, he helped start Roadrunner’s SNAP Outreach Program.  

Jason is grateful to be part of an organization that makes a difference in the lives of thousands of New Mexicans. “Every now and then, I get a call from someone trying to help their neighbor or friend or family member. They are buying groceries but cannot continue the support indefinitely. They call to find a more permanent solution.  For me, food pantries, shelters, and government programs like SNAP and TEFAP are a systematic way of helping our neighbors in need. Whether these programs are paid for with our tax dollars or church tithe, our fellow New Mexicans are getting help. I’m very happy to be a small part of the bigger picture. 

South Central Regional Director, Best Friends Animal Society 

Lee Ann Shenefiel started as the South Central Regional Director with Best Friends in January 2019 after serving as the Interim Chief Animal Services Officer at the Austin Animal Center since 2017. The city shelter is nationally recognized as a leader in sheltering and has achieved live outcomes for over 97% of the nearly 17,000 dogs and cats it intakes annually by creating systems of programs and processes that work toward live outcomes for all animals. Lee Ann is passionate about problem solving and evolving the role of animal shelters in communities.  Through her work with Best Friends, she helps shelters in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma become truly lifesaving organizations by implementing proven programs that save more cats and dogs and strengthens shelters’ community relationships to improve the quality of life for both people and pets. Lee Ann has presented at Texas Unites, Humane Society Animal Care Expo, Best Friends National Conference, and American Pets Alive. 

Community Programs Manager, Pima Animal Care Center 

Bennett Simonsen is the Community Programs Manager at Pima Animal Care Center in Tucson Arizona. He is developing a network of pet support programs designed to keep pets in their homes, including efforts to directly provide support to pet owners facing homelessness and pet owners who are possibly facing citations due to a lack of resources. Previously, he served as the Community Outreach and Pets for Life Manager at the Humane Society of Charlotte in North Carolina. A former teacher, Bennett is passionate about the intersections of animals, race, and class and is dedicated to providing resources to those who have traditionally been excluded from animal welfare. 


Animal Welfare Director, Farmington Regional Animal Shelter

Stacie Voss is the Animal Welfare Director for Farming Regional Animal Shelter (FRAS). She graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Animal Ecology, specializing in wildlife and went on to earn her Master’s Degree from Northern Illinois University in Ecology and Evolution. She started in animal sheltering as a volunteer and part-time employee at a small shelter in Beatrice, Nebraska in 2005. In 2009, she was hired at Nebraska Humane Society in Omaha, Nebraska and for the next four years worked in various roles, finishing as the Director of Veterinary Medicine. In December 2013 she moved to Farmington and took over as the Animal Welfare Director at FRAS. She was asked to serve on the reorganized Animal Sheltering Committee under the New Mexico State Veterinary Board in 2018 and is currently serving as chair on the committee. She is owned by two dogs, a Chow Chow and a Chow mix, both adopted from shelters. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, outdoor activities and practicing yoga. 

Courses for Thursday, August 6, 2020

Presented by Jim Tedford, The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement

Thursday, August 6, 8:30 – 9:30 am

Evolution happens quickly in the animal welfare field. Our roles are continuously changing, and our focus has become much more external. The world, as it turns out, does not start and stop inside the walls of our shelters. We are meeting important community needs like access to care, community outreach, and disaster response.

In this keynote address, you will hear from a 36-year veteran of the industry how animal welfare organizations can fulfill their missions outside the shelter.

Presented by Scott Giacoppo, Best Friends Animal Society

Thursday, August 6, 10:00 – 11:30 am

Presented by Lee Ann Shenefiel, Best Friends Animal Society

Thursday, August 6, 12:30 – 2:00 pm

Open intake animal shelters fulfill a unique role in community animal welfare, but have not traditionally been thought of as the foundation of animal rescue.  However, by embracing this philosophy and supporting it with the right programs and processes, your municipal shelter can and should lead your community’s lifesaving efforts even while still fulfilling mandated obligations.  Some of the common barriers to lifesaving we’ll talk about include managing space, finding placements for long stay animals, getting the community or partners on board with your work, and whether COVID-19 has changed the relationship of communities and animal shelters.  We’ll draw on the experiences of municipal and contracted directors from across the country as we talk about which changes, both big and small, made the difference.

Presented by Jim Tedford, The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement

Thursday, August 6, 2:30 – 4:00 pm

Every player is, or should be, critical to the efficient and effective functioning of the whole team. Learn how to attract the best players and how to keep them engaged – and even happy – so they stick around and help you make the community a better and safer place for people and animals. Turnover is expensive in terms of money and, more importantly, in terms of productivity. Learn how to reduce turnover and increase the solidarity of your team.

Presented by Amanda Arrington, Pets for Life, The Humane Society of the United States

Thursday, August 6, 4:00 – 5:30 pm

Pet ownership crosses all geographic, racial, ethnic and socio-economic boundaries, but access to information and services does not. Institutional bias and systemic inequity can have a negative impact on pets and there is a great need to understand and deepen the connection between animal welfare and social, racial, and economic justice.

Courses for Friday, August 7, 2020

Presented by Bennett Simonsen, Pima Animal Care Center

Friday, August 7, 8:00 – 9:30 am

With the limited resources available to most shelters, it’s important for leaders to ensure that they are getting the biggest bang for their buck when committing to community engagement efforts. Using data and mapping can guide leaders towards effective ways to prevent parvo and distemper in the community, reach communities who are not adopting from you, increase RTO rates, and other concerns that are common in animal welfare agencies. This workshop will demonstrate how to use data and mapping systems to effectively target your work and will include demonstrations and take-home instructions on using different types of free mapping systems.

Presented by Jim Tedford, The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement

Friday, August 7, 10:00 – 11:30 am

Developed by a group of Colorado shelter leaders, the Socially Conscious Sheltering model includes 8 tenets all organizations can and should follow. From a commitment to place every healthy and safe animal to an agreement to foster a culture of transparency, ethical decision making, mutual respect, continual learning and collaboration, the Socially Conscious Sheltering concept provides an opportunity to bring our entire industry together as a greater force for the animals and people we serve.

Presented by Rosemarie Crawford, The National Kitten Coalition

Friday, August 7, 12:30 – 2:00 pm

It was not very long ago in the United States that kittens too young for adoption or those with signs of illness were routinely euthanized. Happily, the situation for kittens in our country has been rapidly changing, and those same kittens that would never have had a chance in the past are now being successfully cared for and adopted into loving homes. This session will provide the inspiration that so many conference attendees seek to continue in their life-saving efforts. Attendees will gain insights into past and present situations for kittens’survival and will also acquire useful, proven information on new, upcoming programs and protocols being implemented around the country that are saving more kittens than ever. We can see a better future for kittens in our country, and together we can make that vision become the reality!

Presented by Josie Espinoza, City of San Antonio Animal Care Services

Friday, August 7, 2:30 – 4:00 pm

We want our community to feel compassionate–not only for their family, friends and their pets, but for their community, too. When someone makes a connection and understanding of another’s feelings, it’s a strong bond that can make a positive change for that person. Our goal is to make sure our programs fit that recipe; to teach compassion we need to use the three E’s: Engagement,Empathy, and Eccentricity. Our Education Team has rejuvenated its passed programs that fit this formula and we want to share those ideas with you. Some of our programs have evolved so that those we are interacting with leave with a feeling of value, understanding, and importance. Along with this new approach in our programs, we want to connect with our audience. What better way than to customize trending cultural traditions into a teaching moment?

Presented by Stacie Voss, Animal Sheltering Committee, NMBVM

Friday, August 7, 4:00 – 5:00 pm

The 2020 New Mexico legislative session saw the passage of an unprecedented bill aimed at reducing pet homelessness and increasing life-saving state-wide.

SB 57—the Affordable Spay/Neuter Bill—establishes a state-wide funding mechanism that will make it possible to expand spay/neuter availability around our state. The goal: apply more funding to portions of the state where increased access to affordable spay/neuter will have big impacts on homeless pet populations.

But how, really, will this work? Who will they get the funds? How will “highest need” areas be identified? And how will we know the additional funding is having the impact we hope?

In this session, Stacie Voss, chair for the Animal Sheltering Committee of the New Mexico Board of Veterinary Medicine, will present the latest updates on SB 57 and discuss what shelters, rescues and animal advocates need to know to help their communities.

Course for Saturday, August 8, 2020

Panelists: Stephen Bardy, Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando; Colleen Bernhard, Lucky Dog Animal Rescue; Sharon Cosimano, Houston Pets Alive! & Kristen Nolen, Houston Pets Alive!

Saturday, August 8, 10:00 – 11:30 am

The virus has touched every part of our lives, and impacted animal shelters and rescues in a way unimaginable this time last year. One of the biggest hits? Adoptions!

With so many shelters and rescues policies and programs built around “love at first sight” in real time, how do we shift from in-person adoptions to a virtual process that’s safe and still finds the best homes for the pets in our care? Learn how three shelters continue to make great matches & effectively engage their community by doing “touchless” adoptions. Hear about their lessons learned and how these changes have shifted their way of thinking about the future.

Panelists: Pat Mead, Animal Humane New Mexico; Michel Meunier, ACTion Programs for Animals & Jason Riggs, Roadrunner Food Bank of New Mexico

Saturday, August 8, 2:30 – 4:00 pm

With nearly 21 million people now jobless and the unemployment rate higher than it’s been in 70 years, our community members need help more than ever. If families are struggling to feed themselves, then they are likely struggling to feed their pets.

We know economic hardship plays a huge role in funneling pets to shelters. Being able to support community members by offering low or no-cost pet food can therefore decrease the number of pets coming to your shelter AND  keep families in crisis together. But where do we even start with offering this kind of service?

Join our panel of experts–all currently operating both pet and human food banks in New Mexico–on how to build a successful & sustainable pet food bank for your community & how to operate safely in the post-COVID world.

Registration for the 2020 New Mexico Humane Conference is OPEN!

Registration fees:

  • For the 2020 Conference, registration is FREE!
  • To help us continue our conference in the future, consider donating towards the conference at the time of registration! Donations are optional but incredibly appreciated!
Register Here


We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.


Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?