I’m only now starting to catch my breath (nowhere close to catching up on my sleep!) after this year’s No More Homeless Pets Conference in Las Vegas (video highlights here). Among the numerous attendees and presenters I was able to spend time with (too little in every case) were* Bonney Brown, executive director of the Nevada Humane Society; Jackson Galaxy, star of My Cat From Hell and author of Cat Daddy;Frank Hamilton, co-founder and president of the Animal Coalition of Tampa; Dr. Ellen Jefferson, executive director of Austin Pets Alive!; Katie Lisnik, director of cat protection and policy for the Humane Society of the United States; Christi Metropole, founder and executive director of Stray Cat Alliance; Dr. Jeff Newman, co-founder and director of Caring Hands Animal Support and Education; Becky Robinson, co-founder and president of Alley Cat Allies; Christie Rogero, targeted spay/neuter manager for the Animal Welfare Association; Holly Sizemore director of community programs and services for Best Friends; Lori Weise, founder and director of Downtown Dog Rescue; and, last but certainly not least, longtime friends Bob Miegl and Corinne Mitchell from PAWS of Coronado.
I also had the opportunity to chat (again, too briefly) with Best Friends co-founders Francis Battista, Judah Battista, Gregory Castle, and Faith Maloney. Congratulations one and all on an informative, inspirational event—and thank you for inviting me to participate!
Taking It to the Street (Cats): Grassroots Advocacy for Community Cats—which I had the honor of presenting alongside Laura Nirenberg, legislative attorney for Best Friends’ Focus on Felines campaign, and Lisa Tudor, Director of Development and Outreach for the Foundation Against Companion-Animal Euthanasia (FACE) and founder and executive director of IndyFeral—was a great success. Many thanks to all who attended—your commitment to the stray, abandoned, and feral cats in your communities is an inspiration.
Two of the most memorable take-aways:
- Phase 2 of Best Friends’ NKLA initiative, launched earlier this year, will include a program aimed specifically at saving kittens under eight weeks of age (of which, we were told, approximately 7,000 are killed in the L.A. shelter system each year).
- The remarkable success of San José’s Feral Freedom program. Jon Cicirelli, deputy director of San José Animal Care and Services, shared with us some very impressive data—which I hope to make the focus of a future post.
Unfortunately, many attendees’ plans were disrupted by Hurricane Sandy, forcing some of leave early while others were stranded in Las Vegas. My thoughts go out to all of those in Sandy’s path, as well as the various animals—owned and unowned alike—in their care.
* I know even as I type this out that I’m overlooking people—my apologies!