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.
We are currently securing our speakers and will have
a full list of speakers posted shortly.
Attorney, Animal Law Expert, Founder - The Animal Protection Society, Animal Law Source and APAW Academy
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 animallawsource.org, 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.
Coordinator, National Link Coalition
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.
Founder, Elephant Aid International
Topic: New Resident BO the bull elephant - GA's first elephant resident
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.
Canine Aggression Consulting, LLC, Dog Bite Expert
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.
Attorney and Service Animal Law Expert
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.
Founder and Executive Director of Canine CellMates
Bonus - Available after 2/7/22
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.
Georgia Capitol Solutions, Inc.
Bonus - Available 2/7/22
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.
Manager, Companion Animal/Equine Section, GA Department of Agriculture
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.
Senior Assistant District Attorney, Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit
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.
KIMBERLY S. SCHWARTZ
Retired Atlanta Police Department
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.
VSPDT, APDT, Celebrity Dog Trainer and Behavior Expert, Trainer
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 Positively.com, 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.
Senior Assistant Attorney General in the Virginia Attorney General’s Office
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.