Sacramento, CA, November 8, 2019 – The top dogs of 45 of California’s animal care and control agencies, SPCAs, and humane societies met in Roseville last week for the California Animal Welfare Association’s (CalAnimals) sixth annual Animal Welfare CEO Forum. Thanks to the generous support of Wallis Annenberg and the Annenberg Foundation, California’s animal-welfare leaders came together to discuss the key issues facing animal shelters, animals, and communities across the state.
“With the collective responsibility of sheltering more than 800,000 animals each year, it is imperative that California’s shelter leaders develop and maintain strong relationships to support one another and further progress for animals in our state,” explains Jill Tucker, CEO of CalAnimals.
Hot topics included strategies to encourage more veterinarians to work in shelters, the collection and use of statewide statistics, increasing adoptions, change management, and developing new leaders.
“The CEO Forum is the best thing that I have seen to bring California’s animal welfare, service and enforcement brain trust together constructively, productively, and respectfully to further the interests of our animals and those who love them,” remarked Madeline Bernstein, President of the CalAnimals Board.
Kelly Miott, manager of Fremont Animal Services and a first-time attendee to this gathering found it immensely valuable. “Meeting other industry professionals and sharing best practices is imperative to our success as animal welfare organizations. Taking a step back from the day to day shelter challenges and looking at what we are doing as colleagues on a statewide level is crucial to advancing the mission of our agencies,” Miott explains.
Kirsten Gross, director of Madera County Animal Services agrees. “Comparing notes and meeting people that have the same passion and issues is a great learning experience. It also puts things into perspective that we are not alone in our efforts to resolve the pet problems in our communities," Gross explains.
Plans for the coming year include a collaborative, concerted effort to engage more private practice veterinarians in shelter work, the implementation of a new statewide Animal Control Officer Certification Program, development and cultivation of future animal welfare leaders, and best practice trainings to support lifesaving and community engagement.
These are the animal-welfare leaders who participated:
Kenn Altine, Sacramento SPCA
Gabrielle Amster, Palm Springs Animal Shelter
Brenda Barnette, City of Los Angeles Department of Animal Services
Madeline Bernstein, spcaLA
Cindy Burnham, Monterey County Animal Services
Kerri Burns, Santa Barbara Humane Society
Brian Cronin, San Bernardino County Animal Care & Control
Staycee Dains, Long Beach Animal Services
Daniel DeSousa, San Diego Co Dept of Animal Services
David Dickinson, Sacramento County Animal Care and Regulation
Virginia Donohue, San Francisco Animal Care & Control
Dia DuVernet, Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA
Donna Fernandes, PhD, Wallis Annenberg PetSpace
Veronica Fincher, Rancho Cucamonga Animal Care & Adoption Center
Vicky Fletcher, Yolo County Sheriff
Leilani Fratis, Placer SPCA
Kirsten Gross, Madera County Animal Services
George Harding, Antioch Animal Services
Bill Harford, Inland Valley Humane Society & SPCA
Renee Harris, Top2Cats Consulting
Sean Hawkins, CAWA, Santa Maria Valley Humane Society
Lorie Hennessey, Sammie's Friends
Gina Knepp, Michelson Found Animals Foundation
Kim Latos, Siskiyou Humane Society
Allison Lindquist, East Bay SPCA