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Animal Protection Conference and Expo prides itself on partnering with amazing speakers and educators to provide the latest animal related topics, legislation and trends.  


Over the 2-day event, these speakers will share their insights and years of experience to provide the ongoing education necessary to encourage and inspire all professionals and advocates.

2023 Speakers


Attorney, Animal Law Expert, Founder - The Animal Protection Society, Animal Law Source and APAW Academy

Time: Friday, November 6th, 10:00 - 10:55am EST

Topic: Dangerous Dog Cases - Law, Charging, Prosecution, and Practical Aspects

Claudine Wilkins is an attorney, animal law expert, founder of Animal Law Source, past chair GA Bar Animal Law Section, co-founder GA Pet Fd. She started her career as a prosecutor in 1997 and gained national attention in one of the largest verdicts in the nation in a landmark liquor liability case involving 3 fatalities. Since 1996, she has assisted in hundreds of animal abuse cases. In 1998, she created the Animal Protection conference.

In 2009, Claudine petitioned the State Bar of Georgia to create Animal Law Section which was founded later that year. 


In 2014, she founded AnimAnimal Law Source, an organization that serves as a resource for animal law professionals across the state and, a website dedicated to assisting those professionals. Her continuing efforts to draft legislation protecting children and animals resulted in the passage of many state and local laws including: the Georgia Dog Fighting law, The Responsible Dog Owner Act (dangerous dog law) and the Animal Cruelty law and more.

Having trained over 5,000 professionals, she continues teaching prosecutors, judges, attorneys, police, animal control officers, veterinarians, vet techs, animal shelter staff, rescue/foster, dog trainers, students and professionals involved with animals on animal law, animal cruelty, neglect, fighting, abandonment, hoarding, large impound cases, equine cruelty, public safety, dangerous dog issues, dog bite cases and liability issues facing all professions involved.

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Coordinator, National Link Coalition

Time: Thursday, November 5th, 6:00 - 6:55pm EST

Topic: Improving Public Safety by Stopping Animal Cruelty: The Link Between Animal Abuse and Human Violence in a Post-COVID World

Phil Arkow is coordinator of the National Link Coalition – the National Resource Center on The Link between Animal Abuse and Human Violence – and editor of its monthly LINK-Letter. He chairs the Latham Foundation’s Animal Abuse and Family Violence Prevention Project. He teaches Animal Abuse and Human Violence at the University of Florida and Animal-Assisted Therapy at Harcum and Camden County Colleges. He trains internationally and has authored or edited over 60 key reference works in human-animal interactions and violence prevention. He has founded and served with a dozen national and state veterinary, animal welfare, human-animal bond, and criminal justice organizations. 



Television Creative and Documentary Filmmaker

Time: On Going

Topic: Mercy's Kennel: The Documentary - Free View of the Documentary

Award-winning marketing and content development professional with senior level communications project management experience, especially skilled at production of breakthrough on-air and online content, advertising and promotion, branding, creative direction, copywriting, photography, videography, communication, collaboration, client services, consulting, social media, inbound marketing, and efficient time and resource management. 

Mercy's Kennel is a documentary from HoodPuppy Productions that explores the socio-economic backdrop to what is commonly called "backyard breeding" to show how poverty and lack of education are at the root of pet overpopulation and animal abuse in underserved areas around the country.  Atlanta resident G.K. Simpson is a former dog breeder who takes viewers into a

world where money talks, pit bulls are currency and media perpetuate many of the

stereotypes maligning this misunderstood breed. Mercy’s Kennel, winner of the 2019 Animal Film Festival’s Best Documentary Feature and Audience Choice awards, is produced and directed by Atlanta filmmaker Tracy Bishop

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Gwinnett County State Court Judge

Bonus - Available November 10, 2020

Topic: Veterinarians: What To Expect When You Testify In Court

Gwinnett County State Court Judge Carla Brown Carla Brown has served as a Gwinnett County State Court Judge since being appointed in 2003 by then-Governor Sonny Perdue. She has been re-elected to this position 3 times. She is running for re-election on the May 24, 2016 ballot. Prior to taking the State Court bench, Judge Brown had a wealth of judicial experience, including: ν Associate Judge for the City of Suwanee, ν Judge for Gwinnett County State Court (by Designation) and, ν Associate Judge for the City of Lilburn (continuous service since her appointment in 1998). Under Judge Brown’s leadership, Gwinnett County’s DUI Court was established to provide intensive supervision and treatment to DUI offenders with multiple convictions.

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Founder, Elephant Aid International
Time: Friday, November 6th, 1:35 - 2:15pm EST

Topic: Starting a Sanctuary - Rules, Regulations and Things You Need To Know

Carol Buckley is an internationally recognized authority in the retirement, rehabilitation and welfare of captive-held elephants.  Buckley creates innovative models that set new standards of care for elephants in captivity.  With more than 40 years of experience working with captive-held elephants, Buckley is known for her extensive knowledge of elephant values, physiology and culture.  She has developed revolutionary non-dominant management systems and holistic healthcare programs that support the recovery of elephants while ensuring their autonomy.  A leading spokesperson and expert witness for elephant care and protection nationally and internationally, Buckley works with governmental agencies and private organizations to strengthen regulations protecting the welfare of elephants in captivity.

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Canine Aggression Consulting, LLC, Dog Bite Expert

Time: Thursday, November 5th, 3:45 - 4:40pm EST

Topic: Dog Bite Investigations and Case Scenarios

Mr. Crosby is a retired Police Lieutenant and has professionally trained dogs, taught individual and group obedience classes, and addressed canine behavior problems since 1999. He serves as Division Management Consultant of Jacksonville Animal Care and Protective Services, the municipal agency responsible for rescue and adoption needs, investigation of animal cruelty, animal fighting, and regulation of Dangerous Dogs for residents of Jacksonville. Holding a Master of Science in Veterinary Forensic Medicine, Jim is recognized in and out of Court as an expert in the US and Canada on Dangerous Dogs, canine aggression, fatal dog attacks, and related issues.  Jim teaches safe handling and rehabilitation of Dangerous Dogs and Investigation of Fatal and Serious Dog Attacks to police, animal control agencies, and others across the US and Canada. He has been instrumental in a number of successful prosecutions focused on dog related fatalities.



Criminologist, Subject Matter Expert - What The Dark Web Has To Do With Animals

Time: Friday, November 6th, 4:50 - 5:45pm EST
Dark Secrets & Stolen Lives: The Link Between Bestiality and Human Sex Trafficking

M. Jenny Edwards is a nationally recognized field expert in human-animal sexual interactions, more commonly referred to as bestiality or zoophilia. Her work is focused primarily on the criminal aspect of these interactions, but also applies to sociology, psychology, sexology, and veterinary medicine. She is an author, educator, and researcher, and was a consultant on the film "Zoo," a Sundance and Cannes award winning docudrama about a bestiality case in Washington State that drew international attention. Jenny has contributed to multiple books, journal articles, and other publications on the topic of zoosexuality, and is currently collaborating on several research projects with experts in the fields of Psychology, Veterinary Medicine, and risk assessment/diversion programs for animal sex offenders.

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Animal Cruelty Investigations Consultant

Bonus - Available November 10, 2020

Topic: Hoarding Animals - Disrupting the Cycle

 Twenty years’ experience as an animal welfare specialist possessing advanced skills in leadership, administration, project and budget management, personnel supervision, animal care, humane law enforcement, animal welfare, and animal sheltering best practices.

 Linda wad in charge of investigations and Medical Operations Director at large non-profit animal shelter which places over 11,000 pets annually and performs over 10,000 surgeries per year. Previous positions within the organization included kennels manager with responsibility for daily dog population of approximately 140 animals, and a reporting staff of 18 animal care technicians. 



Representative, the Ginny Millner Foundationst
Bonus - Available November 10, 2020

Topic: Georgia Covid-19 Pet Food Distribution

Bill has over 20 plus years in Marketing, Events & Advertising. He has worked in the music industry at Polygram Distribution and The Sarasota Herald Tribune as Senior Events Mgr.


In addition, his love of animals has enabled him to work for such companies as Churchill Downs Inc, Atlanta Pet Life Magazine and he is currently a representative with The Ginny Millner Foundation.



Attorney and Service Animal Law Expert 
Time: Friday, November 6th, 4:50 - 5:45pm EST

Topic: What Professionals Should Know When Service Animals Are Involved In A Complaint

William D. Goren is one of the country’s foremost authorities on the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.


For 28 years and continuing, he has been advising on ADA compliance as both an attorney and professor—of which during his time as a full-time academic at various institutions in Chicago, he won numerous teaching awards and achieved tenure.

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President, Beyondvia Technologies, Author of 8 Books on Building Experidigms
Bonus - Available November 10, 2020

Topic: Enabling Both Animal and Ecosystem Welfare: Build Active Local Community Support and Get In-Court Standing.  Understanding the Positive Link Between Animal and Ecosystem Welfare

Described as a rainmaker and innovation leader, Mark Grace lives by the adage, "Aim higher, achieve more!" For Grace, "There will be setbacks, but the good side is just point upward and you go upward to better. You might not see better right away, but better is there if you keep looking and seeking. You can avoid and deflect the bad people who try and stop your growth." As an inventor, Grace has received over 17 patents, many trademarks and been honored with international technology awards. He is the author of a series of personal and corporate "how to grow" books: 1) Elements of Visual Talking, 2) Soaring to Awesome-Turd Throwers Beware, 3) Choosing Up, 4) Avoid Takers, 5) NEXT: "I am..." Experidgmer, and 6) MORE: "We am..." Experidigmers. 



Assistant Attorney, Athens-Clarke County Attorney's Office
Bonus - Available November 10, 2020

Topic: Animal Cruelty Prosecution Team-Building

Sherrie Hines graduated from UGA Law in 2009. She was a public defender for over six years. Currently, she serves as the Interim Chief Assistant Attorney where she prosecutes all of the animal control ordinance violations for Athens-Clarke County and liaises with local prosecutors, ACC Animal Services, and the ACC Police Department to successfully prosecute animal cruelty cases. 


Sherrie is also heavily involved in animal rescue as the President of the Madison-Oglethorpe Animal Shelter and as a volunteer with various other shelters and rescue organizations.



Chief Senior Assistant District Attorney, Fulton County, Georgia
Time: Friday, November 6th, 12:30 - 1:25pm EST

Topic: "What to expect when you're expecting...a subpoena": How Vets Can Help Achieve Justice in Animal Cruelty Prosecutions Without Fear

Jill has been at the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office for over 18 years.  She Specializes in domestic violence, animal cruelty, and technology based investigation and prosecution. Jill utilizes the powerful technological tools available to her to ensure the discovery and admissibility of digital evidence in cases.


Jill graduated from Tufts University with a BA in Psychology and Comparative Religions and from Emory University School of Law in 2002.



Founder and Executive Director of Canine CellMates
Bonus - Available November 10, 2020

Topic: Prison Dog Programs and How They Make A Difference

Susan Jacobs-Meadows is the founding director for Canine CellMates. Susan was a business owner in Fulton County for 10 years as owner of Encore Boutique in Sandy Springs. In mid-2016, Susan made the difficult decision to close Encore Boutique, so that she could focus her time and energy on Canine CellMates. Susan has an extremely diverse professional background prior to business ownership, to include the military, health club management, and marketing. 

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Emily Lewis

Senior Staff Attorney, Animal Legal Defense Fund
Bonus - Available November 10, 2020

Topic: Hoarding Animals - Disrupting the Cycle

Senior Staff Attorney Emily Lewis works directly with law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and rescue groups providing direction and support for all aspects of criminal animal cruelty investigation and prosecution. She supports front-line responders by training and consulting on search warrant drafting, evidence collection and scene processing best practices.

Emily joined the Animal Legal Defense Fund after serving as staff attorney for the Oregon

Humane Society Humane Law Enforcement Division, where she directly participated in

hundreds of animal cruelty investigations, including the raid of a massive animal-fighting

compound, cases involving large-scale neglect of livestock, and all manner of puppy mill and

animal hoarder scenarios. It is this firsthand experience that has given her such a deep

understanding of animal cruelty casework and prosecution. At the Capital, Emily was integral

in the passage of a number of important animal protection bills including stricter laws

prohibiting animal fighting, oversight of animal rescue entities, the Humane Agent Bill,

increased cross reporting, and strengthening of pre-trial remedies available to animal care

agencies or individuals. Emilyʼs work on these bills — along with her implementation of the

first legal internship program at the humane society and her support and training of agency

officers, staff and veterinarians — contributed to the rise of the Oregon Humane Society as a

national leader in the field of animal cruelty investigation and veterinary forensics, in

particular. She has presented nationally and internationally on the importance of the

veterinarianʼs role in recognizing, reporting and responding to animal neglect and abuse.

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President and CEO of NP Voice (NVP)
Time: Thursday, November 5th, 4:50 - 5:45pm EST - Part 1
         Thursday, November 5th, 6:00 - 6:55pm EST - Part 2

Topic: Resource Development Strategies in the New Future for Non-Profits Part 1

           and Part 2 

Bonus - Available November 10, 2020
Topic: Tips and Tricks of Grant Writing - The Ins and Outs for Non-Profits

Michelle Long Spears serves as President and CEO of NP Voice (NPV). Since found-ing this social impact enterprise in 2015, NPV has evolved into a multi-service, in-ternational consulting firm focused on connecting mission to resources, funding and community. In the past three years, her team has impacted approximately 375 organizations; launched/engaged with 28 local, regional and national multi-sector collaborations; de-veloped 91 fund and resource development strategy solutions; and coached/developed 87 regional leaders 

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Georgia Capitol Solutions, Inc.
Bonus - Available November 10, 2020

Topic: How You Can Help Pass Animal Protection Laws in Georgia

Includes update on Peltand and puppy mills, the bills introduced last year and something great the GA Pet Coalition and broader alliance are planning for next year. Come see why and how

activists can support this effort to protect our pets at the GA Capitol.

Andy Lord is the principal partner of Georgia Capitol Solutions (GCS), a lobbying, public relations and grassroots development firm. GCS was established in 2006 and has represented over 40 non-profit entities in the state of Georgia.


Andy has worked as a lobbyist for the United States Humane Society, ASPCA and is now with the Georgia Pet Coalition. Specifically, he has worked to advance the animal protection agenda on issues such as cost of animal care, while also stopping legislation detrimental to the cause, such as the advancement of Petland.



Founder and Owner, The Maria Group
Time: Friday, November 6th, 2:40 - 3:35pm EST

Topic: The Need for Rescues and NonProfits to Learn Digital Marketing and Digital Funding

I created The Maria Group to assist non-profit organizations in fulfilling their noble work in the world. I am highly effective because I am able to leverage three decades of experience managing successful commercial enterprises to support non-profit organizations in their philanthropic missions.  Over the last 17 years, I have consulted with over 100 small-to-medium-sized non-profit organizations on their strategic, financial, and leadership objectives. We have worked on behalf of a diversity of issues—including animal rescue, environmental protection, community-based, education, religious groups, and youth enrichment.



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Associate Professor of Law & Practicum in Animal Welfare Skills Director
Bonus - Available November 10, 2020

Topic 1: Community Interventions to Reduce Neglect and Abuse
Topic 2:
Animal Cruelty Prosecution Team-Building

Milot's teaching is informed by her past experience as a tax and estate planning partner at Ivins, Phillips & Barker, Chtd, and as a business and licensing associate at Cooley LLP. As a result, in addition to teaching more doctrinal subjects, in the classroom Milot emphasizes the skills and training necessary for young lawyers to succeed in practice. She was named the 2009 UGA Professor of the Year by the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers.



Chief Executive Officer, PAWS Humane, Columbus, GA
Time: Friday, November 6th, 10:00 - 10:55am EST

Topic: Emergency Protocols and Disaster

20+ years of award-winning executive leadership in Health & Wellness, Medical Education, Veterinary Associations, and Pet Health and Nutrition. Expertise in TV and Media, Public Appearances, Speaking Engagements, Live Shows and Community Events. Passion for reaching audiences, giving voice to causes, connecting with people, building relationships and changing lives. She is recognized nationwide for her exper@se in combining efforts to improve dogs’ health & wellness along with their owner’s health has accepted the position of CEO for Paws Humane Society and relocated to Columbus, Georgia. Tricia Montgomery is the Founder and former CEO of K9 Fit Club. She is recognized as a pioneer and leading expert in human/canine fitness. Her diverse experience in veterinary medicine, public relations, and the pet industry gave her the perfect combination of skills to lead Paws Humane as the new CEO.



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Manager, Companion Animal/Equine Section, GA Department of Agriculture
Time: Thursday, November 5th, 1:35 - 2:15pm EST

Topic: New Rules Affecting Government Animal Shelters and Much More

Mark began with GA Dept. of Ag in 1994 as a Plant Industry Inspector.  In 2001 he was transferred to the Animal Protection Division and was an Animal Protection Inspector until 2007.  Promoted to supervisor in 2007 until 2011, Mark has worked as Section Manager for the last four years.  


Mark wrote the S.O.P. in 2010 for the Animal Protection Section and created rules changes for the Animal Protection Act rules which were approved in 2013 by Commissioner Black.




Operations Director, Atlanta Humane Society
BONUS - Available November 10, 2020

Topic: Lessons Learned From COVID-19: Updates To Disaster Planning, Policy and Implementation

Tracy Reis came to The Atlanta Humane Society in February 2015 as the Director of Operations -Howell Mill Campus and Director of Disaster response. Prior to that, she was the Director of Operations at the Humane Society of South Mississippi for 2 years. She was also the National Director over Emergency Services at American Humane from 2006-2012 and lead the Red Star team on over 45 responses including Fires, Hurricanes, puppy mills, and hoarding cases. This also includes a nine day trip to Haiti at the invitation of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, in Jan 2010.  She was the Co-Chair of the Federal Level, Sheltering Best Practice Working Group and sat on multiple local working groups (USAI, Denver CART). She was also a member of NARSC (National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition) since its inception in 2006.



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Senior Staff Attorney, Animal Legal Defense Fund
Bonus - Available November 10, 2020

Topic: Wildlife Animal Law and Cruelty

As a senior staff attorney in the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Criminal Justice Program, David work with stakeholders across the criminal justice system to pursue justice on behalf of animal cruelty victims. One of his focus areas is amicus briefs, where he raises appellate-level arguments aimed at enabling courts to reach decisions that not only address the needs of the animals involved in individual cases, but to also better position animals as a whole within the law.


David additionally helms the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s groundbreaking work helping animals who have been harmed by criminal cruelty achieve the legal status of crime victims, including efforts to expand Courtroom Animal Advocate Programs which allow pro bono attorneys and law students to act as counsel for those animal crime victims in court.




Senior Assistant District Attorney, Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit
Time: Thursday, November 5th, 2:40 - 3:35pm EST

Topic: Georgia's Animal Cruelty Statute: In-Depth Examination & Case Examples

From 2013 – 2016, Ms. Schwartz served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Griffin Judicial Circuit, and in early 2017, was appointed as a Senior Assistant District Attorney in the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit, where she currently serves as a member of the Drug Prosecutions Division.  In addition to her work in drug prosecutions, Ms. Schwartz also specializes in the prosecution of animal cruelty cases.  She was one of a core group of Georgia lawyers whose efforts contributed to both the passage of the Animal Protection Act of 2000, which provided for felony punishment for certain acts of animal cruelty, and HB 863, which revised Georgia’s Cruelty to Animal’s Statute in 2014.  In 2011, she received a Prosecutor Recognition Award from the Humane Society of the United States for her work on the trial of a defendant who was convicted of violently beating a dog to death with a garden hoe, in addition to other crimes.


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CPDT-KA, CDBC, Dog Trainer
Time: Friday, November 6th, 6:00 - 6:55pm EST

Topic: A Dog's First Year's Strategy for Training Success with Puppies and Adolescent Dog

Peach on a Leash owner and head trainer, Alex Sessa, CPDT-KA, CDBC, VSPDT is a pet behavior expert who has been training dogs and studying dog behavior for nearly a decade. Alex is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, a certification that requires hundreds of logged training hours and passing a comprehensive exam. She is also one of only five trainers in the state of Georgia to receive full certification as a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. This high-level certification requires a rigorous application process that’s assessed by a panel of experts in dog training and behavior, and you must demonstrate the knowledge and ability to handle complex behavior cases in order to be certified.



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Equine Specialist Inspector Companion Animal/Equine Section - Ga. Dept. Of Ag
Time: Friday, November 6th, 12:30 - 1:25pm EST

Topic: Barn Safety Recommendations To Help Prevent Barn Fires and Approved Methods Of Burial

Employed over 12 years with the Ga. Dept. Of Agriculture. Team Member of the HPAI Disposal Team. Paula works with Reportable Animal Disease Cases under the guidance of the Ga. Dept. Of Agriculture State vet and Asst. State vet.  She investigates and works with counties on reported Equine neglect cases, provides inspection of Health papers as requested at local sales and shows and does inspections of State Licensed facilities and Pre-Licensing these facilities. 

Paula is also responsible for responding to emergency assistance as requested by office management. Such as overseeing burial of deceased animals in emergency situations as barn fires and weather-related incidents.   She meets with local counties and Officials to offer training and assistance in her field of expertise.



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Emergency Management Director, Georgia Department of Agriculture

Time: Thursday, November 5th, 10:00 - 10:55am EST

Topic: It's All About Partnerships: Georgia's Pet Feeding Task Force

Venessa A. Sims, MEP, GA-CEM is currently the Director of Emergency Management in the Inspector General’s Office of the Georgia Department of Agriculture. She has been an employee at the Georgia Department of Agriculture since 1999. Ms. Sims is an ESF 11 Coordinator for the Department and serves in that capacity at the State Operations Center. Her other duties include serving as the Food and Feed Rapid Response Team (RRT) Asst. Manager for the State of Georgia. She has served on planning and training committees for agriculture, public health, SAADRA, FDA, CDC, HERA, Georgia Public Library Service, Vigilant Guard, Super Bowl LIII, and the metro-Atlanta Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI). 




Retired Atlanta Police Department
Time: Thursday, November 5th, 1:35 - 2:15pm EST

Topic:  Law Enforcement: The Importance of Collecting Evidence in Animal Cruelty Investigations

Retired Atlanta Police Officer Amy E. Soeldner joined the Department in 1995. Early in her career she realized she had a passion for pursuing animal cruelty crimes. Over her years on patrol she realized that police officers were not prosecuting or investigating perpetrators of animal cruelty. There had never been any training offered on these types of crimes. Officers did not know that there was a proven correlation between animal related crimes and the propensity for human violence. She became instructor certified and developed a training program called “ Law Enforcement and Animal Encounters” which was mandated for the entire Atlanta Police Department. The training was also attended by officers from multiple agencies across the metro Atlanta area.  Retired Officer Soeldner was appointed the department’s first ever animal cruelty liaison heading a brand new Unit entitled “Animal Cruelty Enforcement and Prevention” or A.C.E.P. Before her retirement in 2019 she was able to help draft the first Standard Operating Procedure for the Animal Cruelty Unit. There are now two full time Atlanta Police Officers devoted solely to the pursuit, investigation, and prosecution of animal related crimes in the city of Atlanta. Retired Officer Soeldner still teaches the course to all new recruits at the academy.



Outreach Program, Atlanta Humane Society

Time: Thursday, November 5th, 10:00 - 10:55am EST

Topic: It's All About Partnerships: Georgia's Pet Feeding Task Force

Karen Spaulding is the Director of Community Outreach at Atlanta Humane Society. She has worked her way through the ranks in animal welfare at three different animal shelters and was the training manager for a national animal welfare organization. She was an animal control officer, community service officer, and a police officer. She was a K9 decoy and handler, field training officer, fatal car accident investigator and earned a distinguished service award in her role as a police officer in 2004.


She has trained dogs professionally for years, owned her own dog boarding kennel, and consulted with non-profit board of directors. She has served on several board of directors for feral cat programs, horse welfare programs, and homeless people with pets’ programs. She has worked with State Legislators to pass legislation to improve the welfare of animals.




VSPDT, APDT, Celebrity Dog Trainer and Behavior Expert, Trainer
Time: Thursday, November 5th, 10:00 - 10:55am EST

Topic: Working With Reactive Dogs

Victoria Stilwell is a world-renowned dog trainer and behavior expert best known as the star of the international hit TV series It's Me or the Dog (Animal Planet US) as well as Greatest American Dog on CBS, Dogs Might Fly on Sky One, Dogs with Extraordinary Jobs on Love Nature (coming in 2020 on Smithsonian Channel US), and her hit web series about the real world of police K-9’s and their handlers, Guardians of the Night. 


A passionate advocate for positive dog training methods, Stilwell is the Editor-in-Chief of, the founder of the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training & Behavior, and the CEO of Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training – the world’s premier network of positive dog trainers. A best-selling author, Stilwell’s fifth book, The Ultimate Guide to Raising a Puppy will be released on October 1st 2019. 



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Sára Varsa 

Director of Pet Programs, Greater Good Charities

Time: Thursday, November 5th, 10:00 - 10:55am EST

Topic: It's All About Partnerships: Georgia's Pet Feeding Task Force

Sára currently works at as the Director of Pet Programs. She most recently served as the Vice President for the Humane Society of the United State’s Animal Rescue Team. During her tenure with the HSUS, she oversaw hundreds of responses to man- made and natural disasters that resulted in the rescue of thousands of creatures from cats and dogs to exotic and farm animals. She trained and consulted law enforcement agencies, animal shelters, and animal advocates on everything from how to identify animal cruelty all the way to Incident Command in a disaster response.  Her professional experience in animal welfare as the Director of Operations at a limited admission shelter, and for many years in the veterinary service field all began at a young age when she was encouraged to pursue her love of animals while working with horses. Her undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Maryland, culminated in a Master’s of Arts in Geography. During her studies, she worked in the veterinary service community, solidifying her knowledge of animal health and wellness. For a brief and very influential time, she was a public school teacher in Prince George’s County, MD. Here, the vision to serve people, pets, and the planet was strengthened and this ultimately led her to Greater Good Charities. Sára is very committed to ensuring families stay together during a crisis and that emergency managers, law enforcement and animal care professionals work together to serve their communities as efficiently, effectively, and safely, as possible.  

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Senior Assistant Attorney General in the Virginia Attorney General’s Office

Time: Thursday, November 5th, 12:30 - 1:25pm EST

Topic 2: Cockfighting: Investigating, Defenses, Pitfalls and Sentencing


Time: Friday, November 6th, 1:35 - 2:15pm EST

Topic 1: Seizure To Getting A Conviction Part 1 and Part 2

She is the Director of the Animal Law Unit at the Attorney General’s Office. She is charged with taking all animal law questions in Virginia. She is called on by agencies all over the Commonwealth to act as a special prosecutor in animal cruelty and animal fighting cases. Ms. Welch has also been appointed a special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia to aid in animal fighting prosecutions.  Ms. Welch frequently gives advice to law enforcement authorities and prosecutors all over Virginia, the nation and internationally.  


She trains prosecutors, animal control and law enforcement officers on the state of Virginia animal law and testified before a U.S. Congressional Caucus examining the enforcement of animal laws and the cooperation between state and federal partners. She is a frequent speaker at many conferences, including the Virginia Animal Control Association.


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Director of Animal Services, Newton County, President of Georgia Animal Control Association, Board Member of National Animal Care & Control Association
Time: Friday, November 6th, 10:00 - 10:55am EST
Topic: Dangerous Dog Cases - Law, Charging, Prosecution & Practical Aspects

Cindy Wiemann is currently serving her third term on the National Animal Care and Control Assn Board of Directors and served as the treasurer for six years. As president of the Georgia Animal Care and Control Assn., she frequently speaks at conferences and training events and is active with state legislation.  She has testified at the Georgia Capital in support or opposition of legislation that would impact the animal care and control profession.    


She is employed by Newton County Animal Control in Covington, GA where she is the Director, managing both field and shelter operations.  Through her leadership many new programs have been implemented that have significantly improved Newton County’s live release rate as well as benefitted the citizens of Newton County.



Staff Attorney, Animal Legal Defense Fund
Time: Friday, November 6th, 6:00 - 6:55pm EST

Topic: Cross Reporting: Connecting Stakeholders To Combat Animal
          Cruelty And
Interpersonal Violence

Kathleen Wood began working with the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Criminal Justice Program in 2016, first as a clerk and then as a fellow. Now as a staff attorney, Kathleen assists prosecutors, law enforcement, and legislators throughout the country to enforce and strengthen animal protection laws. In this role, Kathleen oversees the annual Animal Protection Laws Rankings Report which compares the various strengths and weaknesses of each state’s animal cruelty laws.


Kathleen has also been instrumental in the creation of the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Farmed Animal Cruelty Prosecution Guides, tailored to individual states, to help prosecutors bring cases against those who abuse farmed animals. Kathleen lives in Portland, Oregon with her rescued cat, Penny


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