Full Schedule

Wednesday , February 21: Before (and Instead of!) the Shelter

Note: times listed are Pacific (PT).

  • 9 a.m. – Event kickoff
  • 9:10 a.m.KeynoteThe Crucial Role of Return to Home in Reducing Shelter Crowding and Euthanasia Today – Dr. Kate Hurley, UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program

Block 1  9:35 a.m.–11:45 a.m.

  • 9:40 a.m.Contracts, Jurisdictions, Fees and Local Ordinance Considerations to Promote Return to Home Cole Wakefield, Good Shepherd Humane Society
  • 10:10 a.m.Getting Cats Back Where They Belong – Laura Lampley, Pasadena Humane Society
  • 10:40 a.m. – Using Technology to Improve Your Lost and Found Systems Elkie Wills, San Diego Humane Society
  • 11:10 a.m.Panel discussion and Q&A with speakers and guests

Block 2  11:45 a.m.–2:00 p.m.

  • 11:45 a.m.Focusing on Return to Home in the Field – Cole Wakefield, Good Shepherd Humane Society
  • 12:15 p.m.Empowering Dispatch With Training, Support and Resources for the Public  Michelle George, Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity (CARE)
  • 12:30 p.m.Working With Finders to Help Get Animals Back Where They Belong – Mike Wheeler, Cabot Animal Support Services
  • 12:45 p.m.Shelter Outreach and Support Programs to Get and Keep Animals Where They Belong – Christine Kim, My Dog is My Home
  • 1:15 p.m.Panel discussion and Q&A with speakers and guests

Wednesday, February 28: At the Shelter

Note: times listed are Pacific (PT).

  • 9 a.m. – Event kickoff
  • 9:10 a.m.KeynoteThe Crucial Role of Return to Home in Reducing Shelter Crowding and Euthanasia Today – Dr. Kate Hurley, UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program

Block 1  9:35 a.m.–11:45 a.m.

  • 9:40 a.m.Focusing on Return to Home at the Shelter to Get More Animals Back Where They Belong – Shyanne Schull, Washoe County Animal Services
  • 10:10 a.m.Easy Shelter Website Changes to Increase Return to Home – Tori Fugate, KC Pet Project
  • 10:40 a.m. Making It Easy for Owners to Find and Redeem Lost Pets: Tech Tips and Communication Strategies – Bobby Mann and Mia Navedo-Williams, Humane Rescue Alliance
  • 11:10 a.m.Panel discussion and Q&A with speakers and guests

Block 2  11:45 a.m.–2:00 p.m.

  • 11:45 a.m. Getting Pets Home with Better Approaches to On-Pet IDs and ID/Microchip Tracing – Nina Stively, Loudoun County Animal Services
  • 12:15 p.m.Leveraging Social Media, Other Internet Resources and Volunteers to Supercharge Return to Home – Jordan Frey and Caroline Malcolm, San Diego Humane Society
  • 12:45 p.m.Removing Barriers to Get More Animals Back Where They Belong – Akisha Townsend Eaton, Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity (CARE)
  • 1:15 p.m. Panel discussion and Q&A with speakers and guests
  • 1:50 p.m. Event closing and What Found Feels Like contest winners announced

Speakers/Panelists

Photo of Akisha Townsend Eaton

Akisha Townsend Eaton

Chief of Policy, Environmental Justice
CARE (Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity)

12:30 p.m. Feb. 28
Removing Barriers to Get More Animals Back Where They Belong

Akisha brings over a decade of animal law and policy experience to her current role as Chief of Policy, Environmental Justice Division at CARE. Prior to joining CARE, she worked as a managing attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund and as legislative attorney and policy advisor at various other national and international animal protection organizations. Akisha is an AmeriCorps alumni and is currently an active contributor to the Black Appalachian Coalition (BLAC) as well as the legal redress, environmental justice, and economic development committees of her local NAACP chapter, which recently awarded her the Prince and Cora Mack Humanitarian Award. 

 

Akisha has contributed to numerous publications. Her most recent chapters have appeared in the Palgrave Handbook of Animal Ethics, Career Paths in Human-Animal Interaction for Social and Behavioral Scientists and People, Pets, and Policies: Towards Community Supported Animal Sheltering She served as a consultant editor and contributor to the Journal of Animal Ethics and associate editor for the Journal of Animal Law.

Read more about Akisha

Bobby Mann

Bobby Mann

Chief Programs Officer, St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center
Humane Rescue Alliance

10:40 a.m. Feb. 28
Making It Easy for Owners to Find and Redeem Lost Pets: Tech Tips and Communication Strategies

Bobby Mann is the chief programs officer for the Humane Rescue Alliance. In his role, Bobby oversees HRA’s advocacy efforts, community programs, humane education, and public pet services all with the goal of uplifting and keeping people and pets together. Bobby also oversees the WayStation program, HRA’s best-in-class animal relocation program.

With more than a decade of experience at municipal animal shelters, Bobby’s deep operational expertise, leadership, and creativity have helped change the public’s perception of the animal welfare industry.

In his most recent role for American Pets Alive! as the Maddie’s® Human Animal Support Services (HASS) pilot director, Bobby’s work focused on developing programs and protocols to implement community supported sheltering and help keep pets in homes with families who already love them.

Previously, Bobby spent more than a decade working in Sacramento animal shelters, at both the Sacramento SPCA and later at the state capital’s municipal organization, Front Street Animal Shelter.

Bobby is passionate about implementing and expanding programs that instill a people-first mindset, support youth engagement, further the inclusion of historically marginalized communities, and celebrate the love between people and pets.

Christine Kim

Founder
My Dog is My Home

12:45 p.m. Feb. 21
Shelter Outreach and Support Programs to Get and Keep Animals Where They Belong

Christine is a macro social worker with a specialized interest in building programs and policies that recognize the power of the human-animal bond. During her time working in supportive housing, Christine became acutely aware of the barriers people experiencing homelessness with animals face when attempting to access shelter and housing services. Christine’s research and work with human-animal homeless families includes a publication in the pioneering book Animals in Social Work: Why and How They Matter (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), an exhibition for The Animal Museum called My Dog Is My Home and the founding of the non-profit organization by the same name. She served as the first director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Animal Welfare under Mayor Bill de Blasio, and she is the recipient of the ASPCA’s 2021 Public Service Humane Awards for her leadership at the NYC’s Mayor’s Office during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more about Christine

Cole Wakefield

Executive Director
Good Shepherd Humane Society

9:40 a.m. Feb. 21
Contracts, Jurisdictions, Fees and Local Ordinance Considerations to Promote Return to Home 

11:45 a.m. Feb. 21
Focusing on Return to Home in the Field

Cole Wakefield is the executive director of The Good Shepherd Humane Society in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. He works with several national organizations, including the Human Animal Support Services Project and the Humane Society of the United States, on rural issues and consults with other animal welfare agencies on management practice and program implementation. He earned his Master of Science in Management and leadership from Western Governors University and is pursuing a doctorate in strategy and innovation.

Cole holds CARE REDI: Bronze certification and serves on the Association for Animal Welfare Advancement’s DEI Council. Cole also serves on the Consultive Council of Nonprofit Leaders for Charity Navigator.

Dianne Prado

Founder and Executive Director
HEART LA

Panelist

Dianne Prado is the founder of Housing Equity & Advocacy Resource Team (HEART LA), a legal non-profit that helps ensure people and their pets remain together & housed. Dianne provides legal training and consulting for the Stay Housed Los Angeles (SHLA) eviction defense program, a Lecturer in Law for UCLA Law School teaching Los Angeles Housing Law and Policy, and an appointed public member of the CA Veterinary Medical Board.

Elkie Wills

Elkie Wills

Senior Director of Community Engagement
San Diego Humane Society

10:40 a.m. Feb. 21
Using Technology to Improve Your Lost and Found Systems

Elkie is the Senior Director of Community Engagement at the San Diego Humane Society and has been with the shelter since 2020.

In this role she leads the Community Engagement team to develop and facilitate quality programs such as community outreach, Lost and Found, Guest Relations, the Community Pet Pantry, mobile adoptions, staff training and adult and youth activities for both companion animals and wildlife.

Read more about Elkie

Kate Hurley, DVM

Director
UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program

Keynote Event Opening

9:10 a.m. Feb. 21

9:10 a.m. Feb. 28

Dr. Hurley began her career as an animal control officer in 1989 at the Santa Cruz SPCA, a private shelter providing field and sheltering services to the community in Santa Cruz, CA. She enjoyed the job more than she ever could have imagined, especially the feeling that she was able to help people take better care of their pets as well as protecting animals every day. Becoming a veterinarian seemed a logical way to continue serving both pets and people, and after six years she left the Santa Cruz SPCA to attend the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

Hurley soon found she couldn’t tear herself away from shelter work, however, and after graduation from veterinary school in 1999, immediately went to work as a shelter veterinarian. Hurley loved that job too but in 2001 couldn’t resist the opportunity to return to UC Davis to become the first in the world to undertake a residency in Shelter Medicine.

Read more about Kate

Laura Lampley

Senior Director of Animal Resources and Admissions
Pasadena Humane

10:10 a.m. Feb. 21
Getting Cats Back Where They Belong

My professional background includes working in the legal field as well as the tech space and I am especially interested in how we can harness technology to help more animals. My current work in animal welfare is focused on returning lost pets to their owners through our Animal Resource Center AND community cats to their outdoor homes through our Community Cat Program. I have spent the past 10 years helping cats in my community through TNR and improved the existing Community Cat Program at Pasadena Humane by expanding services offered and making the program more accessible to our community members.

Read more about Laura

Michelle George

Director, Community Animal CARE (CAC)
Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity (CARE)

12:15 p.m. Feb. 21
Empowering Dispatch With Training, Support, and Resources for the Public to Get Animals Back Where They Belong

Michelle has over 10 years of working experience in an open-intake county animal shelter with services contracted for shelter operations as well as field enforcement operations. While working in most departments within the shelter, the majority of her work experience was gained within Field Services. In the pursuit of the next opportunity or new challenge, she has been able to learn many facets (kennel, adoptions, client care, dispatch, field support, rescue through transport, and more) within animal welfare, never shying from the chance to be a source of information to anyone she meets. Awareness and empowerment are key.  

When away from work, Michelle enjoys spending time with her family, pets, and friends, traveling, and shopping.

Read more about Michelle

Mike Wheeler

Director of Community Services
Cabot, Arkansas

12:30 p.m. Feb. 21
Working with Finders to Help Get Animals Back Where They Belong

Mike Wheeler is the Director of Community Services for Cabot, Arkansas. Over the last 15 years he has been dedicated to animal welfare and public safety while reducing euthanasia and promoting responsible pet ownership in Cabot, Arkansas. Under Mike’s management of his city’s open admission shelter and animal control operations, he has fostered a culture of helping people and animals which has brought about 23 community programs that focused on improving the lives of every person and every pet in his community through strengthening the human animal bond and keeping families together. This philosophy of returning/keeping animals with their families has reduced his annual intake from 3,357 animals in 2019 to 1022 animals in 2022 with a euthanasia rate of less than 1%, counting every animal the organization touched in 2022. His belief that animal control should harbor an environment where they work with the community rather than against the community has resulted in an 87% ordinance compliance without issuing citations in 2022.

His passion for animal welfare and public policy has driven him to a position on the Executive Management Committee for the Human Animal Support Services (HASS), the Executive Board of the National Animal Care and Control Association (NACA) and the position of Treasurer (Past President), of the Arkansas State Animal Control Association (ASACA). In this capacity he helps form best practices, trains animals control officers and assists Animal Service Departments and individuals across the country to become better representatives within their communities while providing a higher standard for animal welfare and public safety in those communities. Mike’s philosophy is one that is based on continued learning in an ever-changing world. As well as learning daily from human and animal welfare leaders across this country Mike holds a Masters in Business as well as degrees in Criminal Justice and Public Administration.

Read more about Mike

Nina Stively holding Merx, the cat in a backyard

Nina Stively

Director
Loudoun County Animal Services

11:45 a.m. Feb. 28
Getting Pets Home with Better Approaches to On-Pet IDs and ID/Microchip Tracing

Nina Stively is the Director of Loudoun County Animal Services in Leesburg, Virginia. She is a Virginia Animal Control Officer, a certified Animal Welfare Administrator, a certified Expert Animal Cruelty Investigator, and has Master’s Degrees in Veterinary Science and Business Administration. Nina started out as a volunteer over 20 years ago, and now loves working to improve industry standards in animal welfare, especially in the areas of professional ethics, transport, disease management and quality of care in shelters. She lives with her human family, and an assembly of pets, both permanent and fosters.

Read more about Nina

Shyanne Schull

Director
Washoe County Regional Animal Services

9:40 a.m. Feb. 28
Focusing on Return to Home at the Shelter to Get More Animals Back Where They Belong

Shyanne Schull is the director for Washoe County Regional Animal Services in Reno, Nevada. Her proactive philosophy and approach to animal welfare issues helps to drive successful programs that support the bond between pets and people. With an intake average annual intake of 13,000 animals, Washoe County Regional Animal Services boasts a 40% combined cat and dog return to owner rate over a ten- year average. The success of these programs takes collaboration, dedication, community support and a lot of hard work.

In her 23- year career in animal welfare, Shyanne has worked in a wide array of capacities: kennel worker, dispatcher, officer, shelter manager, assistant director and director. She understands the respective challenges that each division area faces and believes in forging the passion and experience from each into a constructive goal; to develop life-saving strategies for shelter diversion and to support responsible pet ownership and pet retention.

Read more about Shyanne

Tori Fugate holding dog in front of colorful mural

Tori Fugate

Chief Communications Officer
KC Pet Project

10:10 a.m. Feb. 28
Easy Shelter Website Changes to Increase Return to Home

Tori Fugate joined the KC Pet Project team in March 2012 – shortly after the organization took over the Kansas City, MO, animal shelter in January 2012. Tori’s role with KC Pet Project has enabled her to build the organization’s brand and promote its mission from inception to what it is today. She oversees all marketing, fundraising/development, events, web management, social media, retail sales, education initiatives, and media relations, and she recently served on the design and construction committee of the KC Campus for Animal Care, Kansas City’s new animal shelter. She enjoys the opportunity to promote KC Pet Project and its pets through social media and in print, radio and television appearances on a local and national level – including People Magazine, The Dodo, CNN, CBS News, USA Today, Queer Eye, and The Rachael Ray Show.

Read more about Tori

An online solution-sharing summit to get animals home faster, easier, better

February 21 & 28
9 a.m.–2 p.m. PT

Our shelters are full of dogs and cats who have been separated from their people, their home, their habitat. Animals who very well may have been living their best lives before they appeared in the corner of our kennel card. 

Join us for short, solutions-focused presentations to hear how shelter team members are getting animals back where they belong faster, easier, and better… and how you can too.

Right Place

Whether it’s getting community cats back to their hangouts and caretakers or reuniting dogs and their families, we know there’s no place like home sweet home for animals and their people. Of course we want new homes for animals who need them, but sometimes we forget how easy and impactful prioritizing going home again can be.

Right Care

From reducing shelter crowding to protect animals from disease and allow your team to provide better care, to building support and positive relationships in the community, the payoff is powerful for population management and beyond. And when we go all in on return to home, we reconnect with the reason we do this work: to do our best to give each animal we meet the right outcome–in the right place.

Right Now

Ready, set, make it happen: Learn the most effective ways shelter teams are incorporating return-to-home goals into everyday processes, protocols and community programming to ensure animals spend more nights at home, not in the shelter.

Sessions & Support for Everyone

Day One

Lost animals have a ten times greater chance of returning to their home if they never leave their neighborhood. Day one includes an overview of the most leveraged field interventions that turn Lost into Found, and touches on proven proactive programming that works to prevent separation in the first place.

You’ll want to invite your field, CSAs, call center, and communication teams to this day focused on lost animal prevention and shelter diversion.


Day Two

Nearly half the animals in our shelter have the potential for a positive outcome that is not adoption, but the moment an animal enters our doors their odds of returning home begin to drop. Day two will focus on programs that have proven successful in reversing this trend and pushing Return-to-Home rates to heights that rival both adoption and transfer combined.

You’ll want to invite your entire frontline staff: By working together, we can get animals out of our shelters and back where they belong.
 

Powered by partnership.

This event is brought to you by the Maddie’s® Million Pet Challenge Learniverse at the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program. Scan QR code with your phone camera to register!