Disaster Response & Support
When disaster strikes, we are here for you. Email our CEO immediately if an emergency arises in your area and you need any guidance, assistance, or support in the coordination of resources. You will be connected with one or more of our committee experts that are able to assist. During active disasters, our committee is prepared to convene for regular check-in meeting to support the coordination of resources, outreach to shelters statewide, and troubleshoot any challenges.
We are proud to introduce the members of our Emergency Management Committee to you below.
Nancy B. McKenney, MNPL, CAWA, feels fortunate to have worked for a private humane society, a public animal care and control agency, an animal grant-maker, a consultant and now in her dream job at Marin Humane, which provides both humane society and animal services functions (and more!).
Nancy began a career in animal welfare and non-profit management in 1983 when she was hired as the Public Relations Coordinator for the Humane Society for Seattle/King County, a nonprofit humane society with a public boarding facility and housing contracts for the City of Renton. In 1986, the Seattle Humane Society board asked her to become the Executive Director/CEO, a position she held for 19 years.
Karalyn currently serves as the Vice President of Operations for the East Bay SPCA in Oakland, CA. Prior to serving here, Karalyn completed two Master of Science degrees in Ecology and Evolution and Animal Behavior and has over a decade of experience as a leader in numerous facets of animal welfare. Karalyn has achieved her Certified Animal Welfare Administrator credential and has served on a number of national animal welfare committees, guest lectured to Animal Science students at UC Davis, and contributed to the development of the Shelter Playgroup Alliance guidelines for shelter dog playgroups and enrichment. Karalyn has served during response operations to disasters in both California and Florida and managed the temporary emergency sheltering facility for the Canine Influenza Outbreak in the bay area during the summer of 2019.
Bryan Bray, the Field Services Manager for Ventura County Animal Services, began his career in the Animal Welfare Industry in 2005. He has extensive experience in coordinating evacuation efforts during natural disasters and is currently a member of the Ventura County EOC Team (Emergency Operations Center). During his tenure, Bryan was able to obtain two (2) AKC pet disaster trailers and develop a livestock shelter supply trailer through a grant program. He has acted as the Disaster Response/Evacuation Coordinator during the incidents including the 2009 Guiberson Fire, 2013 Spring Fire, 2017/18 Thomas Fire, 2018 Hill Fire, 2018 Woolsey Fire, and 2019 Easy/Maria Fire.
Bryan has been a speaker at local town hall meetings, neighborhood councils and safety day events promoting disaster preparedness. He recently was a speaker at the 2020 CalAnimals Animal Care Conference for Community Planning in Disasters.
Cindy began her career with Marin Humane in 1984. She currently serves as the Director of Animal Services and is a Certified Animal Welfare Administrator (CAWA). She has a strong interest in animal disaster preparedness and response and coordinates response efforts during Marin County disasters. She has extensive expertise working in Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) to assist in animal response coordination efforts. Cindy’s expertise in helping communities has resulted in her deployments throughout California and out-of-state. Her ability to collaborate with local, regional, state, and national organizations has resulted in identifying critical resources and partners in disaster preparedness and response. Cindy also enjoys helping to develop disaster plans and works hard to ensure a variety of animal disaster preparedness plans are in place for Marin County animal guardians, community members, and animal facilities. She routinely speaks on helping animals in disasters and is always willing to help others with disaster-related activities.
Lori began her career as an Animal Control Officer at the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA in San Mateo in 1983 and became the Captain of Animal Control for the San Francisco Animal Care and Control Department in 1989. Lori currently works for the County of San Mateo, where she oversees the Animal Control & Licensing contract with the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA, along with the all-volunteer Large Animal Evacuation Group (LAEG). Her disaster experience is extensive, spanning earthquakes, fires, floods, and hoarding cases, and including the Loma Prieta earthquake, the Oakland Firestorm, the Tubbs Fire, CZU Lighting Complex Fires, and the Caldor Fire – a sampling of some of California’s most devastating events.
John Peaveler is an animal welfare professional with over 18 years of global experience in the fields of animal control, animal population management, disaster response, and animal handling and capture. He has extensive experience in international and US disaster as a responder as well as experience as a disaster manager in the State of California with the San Diego Humane Society. John is also an expert in free-roaming population management programs and currently serves as the Director, Field Operations, for Greater Good Charities where he supports high volume sterilization efforts.
John Skeel is the director of Animal Services for the City of Chula Vista and has 30+ years’ experience serving government agencies, City; County; Special District as well as Non-Profit agencies. Although new to animal services in 2015 where he joined Sonoma County Animal Services as their director, he has now been involved in nine disaster response and preparedness events over the past 6 years. These disaster events include what were at the time the most devastating fires in California history, and some of the worst floods. Among them were the Valley Fire, Clayton Fire, Sonoma County Floods, Sonoma Complex Fires, Kincade Fire and Glass Fire. Through responding to such disasters as the lead animal services agency, to providing mutual aid to other counties and animal service organizations, along with working with his talented and dedicated peers on the CalAnimals Emergency Management Committee, he has gained through direct experience an understanding and appreciation for animal services disaster response and preparedness.
Ryan “Cowboy” Soulsby is the Program Manager for Butte County Animal Control. As a licensed RVT, Ryan has been working in the animal field since 2001. While becoming Program Manager in 2016, Ryan has been the Animal Incident Commander for events such as the Oroville Spillway, Ponderosa, Wall, and Wind Complex fires in 2017. The devastating Camp Fire that decimated the town of Paradise in 2018 and most recently, the North Complex fire in 2020. Ryan has experienced first-hand the importance of preparedness and the need for trained personnel within the animal operations. Ryan has specialized experience navigating the state resource request process to procure regional, state, and federal resources to assist the Animal Operations.
With over 15 years of animal welfare experience, Jessica has now taken the leadership role in disaster planning and response for Santa Barbara County Animal Services. She has spent much of her life in Santa Barbara County with five generations of family ranching and raising livestock. With a passion for animal welfare instilled at a young age, she initially pursued her career in the State of Colorado until moving back to California in 2009. Jessica started out in private practice as a Veterinary Technician with specialties in surgical and laboratory medicine. Since joining Santa Barbara County Animal Services in 2011, she has held many roles, including Animal Control Officer II, Volunteer Liaison, Responsible Pet Ownership Supervisor and Public Information Assistant. Jessica has worked boots on the ground for numerous disasters, including the Thomas fire which was shortly followed by the Montecito Debris Flow in 2018, until taking the lead role in 2019. She has deep roots in her Santa Barbara County community and is committed to providing the tools and knowledge to prepare them for future disasters.
Brian Whipple is the Operations Manager of Sonoma County Animal Services with over 27 years of experience working in law enforcement and animal care. He has a passion for the protection and humane treatment of animals, as well as disaster emergency response and educating the public and those working within the animal care field from his experiences. Brian developed the Sonoma County Emergency Animal Response Plan in his current position and has been involved in numerous disaster response field operations including local floods and snowstorms in New Hampshire and Delaware, Hurricane Irene, Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita, Hurricane Wilma, Hurricane Sandy, Lake County, CA fire response in 2015, Sonoma County fire response in 2017, 2019, 2020 and local floods in Sonoma County, CA. He was also deployed to the Camp Fire in 2018 and the Caldor Fire in 2021. He served as Incident Commander for the animal response to the October Firestorm in Sonoma County, CA in October 2017. Brian spoke about this experience on the national level at the 2017 National Alliance of State Animal and Agricultural Emergency Programs (NASAAEP) summit. In addition to his experience, Brian has several certifications specifically related to disaster and emergency response along with management and field investigation.