Dr. Haston received a PhD in geophysics from the University of California Santa Barbara and an MBA in finance from Rice University. Prior to his time in animal welfare, he worked in the oil and gas industry and was an entrepreneur who started and owned several successful businesses. In 2012, Dr. Haston dedicated himself full-time to animal welfare and now is the Chief of Analytics at PetSmart Charities. He also serves on the boards of Emancipet, Animal Grant Makers, National Council on Pet Population and Shelter Animals Count. At the 2018 CFHS National Animal Welfare Conference, Dr. Haston will be presenting a session entitled Innovative Approaches to Helping People and Pets: Bringing It All Together. We reached him at his PetSmart Charities office in Phoenix, Arizona.
Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS): I have to say I’m curious about how you found your way into animal welfare given your background in business and geophysics. How did that come to be?
Dr. Roger Haston: Well, I have a PhD in geophysics and an MBA in finance and spent most of my career working in the oil and gas industry and in technology. But I’ve always had a love for animals. So, I started volunteering at a local humane society – the Humane Society of Boulder Valley – and soon got involved with their Board of Directors. Around the same time, I had started doing some non-profit consulting. I really enjoyed making a difference in animal welfare and working within the charitable sector. As fate or luck would have it, a friend of mine told me about an organization in Colorado called Animal Assistance Foundation that was seeking an executive director. I ended up taking that position and I’ve been in animal welfare ever since.
CFHS: How long were you there?
RH: I was at the Animal Assistance Foundation for about five years, and then an opportunity at PetSmart Charities of North America came up. It was exciting to me to be able to have a larger impact on the lives of pets right across the continent, so I moved down here to Phoenix about 18 months ago.
CFHS: Can you talk a bit about your role at PetSmart Charities and PetSmart Charities of Canada and what your focus of work is there?
RH: As Chief of Analytics, I have a broad scope here at PetSmart Charities. My responsibility is to look at a lot of data – I’m kind of the big data guy there – to better understand trends that are happening in animal welfare, both in the U.S. and Canada, and measure the impact that grants, like those from PetSmart Charities, are having on those trends. I’m also leading the innovation and research projects that we’re embarking on, as well. Essentially, I have a position that’s very forward-looking and focused on understanding how PetSmart Charities can have the biggest impact with our dollars and what are some of the key trends that are going on that help to direct our granting budget.
CFHS: And in your presentation at the National Animal Welfare Conference in April, that’s what you’re going to be focusing on – sharing the insights that you’ve gained from your work with data and programs.
RH: Yes, I really wanted to use this talk to highlight some of the most interesting and innovative programs that I’ve seen around the country – ones that stand out to me as indicators of where animal welfare is headed. During the session, we’ll also be looking at some of the data and trends that are influencing the changes we’re seeing in the sector, as well.
CFHS: From what I understand, you’ve come across some really interesting community-based programs that people could adapt to address animal welfare concerns in their communities, too.
RH: You’ve just touched upon one of the biggest changes that we see happening in animal welfare: it’s really starting to move outside the shelter system and beginning to be much more about providing resources for pet parents – especially in under-served communities. We’ll talk about some interesting cat programs that I’ve seen and look at some emerging research on the power of the human-animal bond. We have a very interesting research study PetSmart Charities of Canada has funded at the University of British Columbia, looking at early childhood development and its relationship to pets. I’ll be talking about that and providing a broad look at the life-long relationship between people and pets, and how the animal welfare industry, pet parents, community groups, granting organizations and veterinarians are all working together to explore, maintain and enhance the human-animal bond.
CFHS: Interesting. Who do you think would most benefit from your session?
RH: Well, I believe there will be something for everybody in this session. What I really hope is that hearing about emerging trends and new programs will spur some new thinking across the Canadian animal welfare industry. I hope people might pull some ideas from my presentation, adapt them and consider how they may apply some of these learnings to their own shelters and communities.
CFHS: What do you hope people will walk away with after attending this session?
RH: What I hope they walk away with is an understanding (a) that the world of animal welfare is changing very quickly and we need to start responding to that, and (b) that the world of animal welfare is so much more than just animal sheltering. So much of the work that needs to be done is out in the community, helping people and their pets. With this mindset, we’ll soon see even more new and innovative programs for people and pets – and that’s what we’re all hoping to do at this year’s conference – to learn what we can to help save and enhance the lives of animals everywhere.
SUNDAY, APRIL 22
Barbara Cartwright, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS)
Many industries have codes of conduct, standards and certification programs that clearly set out good practices and assure members of the public that they are dealing with trustworthy organizations. There are programs in Canada that set welfare standards for farm animals (the National Farm Animal Care Council Codes of Practice, SPCA Certified and Humane Certified), for animals in research (the Canadian Council on Animal Care’s Certificate of Good Animal Practice), and for veterinary care in medicine (the American Animal Hospital Association). However, none of these are aimed at the animal welfare sector itself and, in particular, humane societies, SPCAs, shelters and rescues.
Meanwhile, our sector faces three distinct challenges to our future growth and success: a proliferation of organizations and individuals with animal welfare mandates, a lack of commonly shared brand and a lack of shared standards and best practices. In order to address these areas of concern, CFHS has embarked on a process to set industry standards with a supporting accreditation program. This presentation will outline a strong case for a standards and accreditation program and the process that CFHS is engaged in to establish one. The presenter will also invite thoughts and feedback into the process from participants.
- The features and benefits of standards and accreditation as tools to build a strong, professional industry and maintain public confidence.
- Current standards programs in Canada and key learnings that can be applied to an animal welfare sector standards program.
- The process of building a standards and accreditation program for the animal welfare sector.
An award-winning leader in animal welfare, conservation and education, Barbara Cartwright’s work has spanned five continents and 20 years. Her extensive experience in developing and facilitating relationships with stakeholders, including governments, corporations and NGOs has led to innovative programs with dynamic results. Barbara is sought after for her knowledge of policy and public affairs. She has secured amendments to federal legislation including updates to the Criminal Code, the Migratory Bird Act and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Barbara has advised some of the top organizations in the world on animal welfare policy direction, including her work with eBay to end the illegal ivory trade on its site worldwide. Today, as the CEO of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS), Barbara convenes and represents the largest animal welfare community in Canada, working to end animal cruelty, improve animal protection and promote the humane treatment of all animals. She leads CFHS in fulfilling its mission to create a humane Canada through the successful execution of strategic and business plans. Over the past five years, Barbara has launched the National Animal Welfare Conference, the National Centre for the Prosecution of Animal Cruelty and released the first empirical sector-wide research project on humane societies and SPCAs in Canada. She is consulted by all political parties on issues of animal welfare, including updating legislation and consulting on policy documents such agricultural and food policy. Barbara has presented to the House of Commons and the Senate of Canada, the all-party International Conservation Caucus, the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), as well as at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Congress. She holds a Master’s in Environmental Education and Communication, is a published author, a lecturer and a recipient of the Governor General’s Gold Medal, as well as the National Environmental Excellence Award. She is the former President of the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada, an Advisory Council Member for the Pan-African Sanctuary Alliance and currently sits on the PetSmart Charities of Canada Board of Directors. Barbara is a member of Women’s Executive Network, the Council of Women Executives and part of the Distinctive Women network.
TUESDAY, APRIL 24
R.J. Bailot, Executive Director, Alberta Spay Neuter Task Force
Alanna Collicutt, Dog Care and Control Program Manager, Alberta Spay Neuter Task Force
Jan Hannah, Senior Education and Research Specialist & Northern Dogs Project Manager, International Fund for Animal Welfare
This round table event will focus on facilitating constructive and open discussions amongst animal welfare organizations who work in First Nation communities. This will be an opportunity for organizations to share experiences, challenges and successes. Those who attended the First Nations and Dogs Training will be asked to provide feedback on the ideas shared during those sessions.
Topics may include:
- How to Develop Relationships with First Nations Communities
- Community Safety vs. Animal Welfare
- Donating Pet Food
- Removal of "Strays"
RJ Bailot is a recipient of the International Fund for Animal Welfare "Outstanding Personal Commitment Award". RJ has travelled nationally and internationally to many animal protection groups’ home bases in order to study and accumulate knowledge and ideas to better accommodate groups in animal rescue, protection and education. RJ is a co-founder of the ASNTF.
Alanna Collicutt has worn many hats at the Alberta Spay/Neuter Task Force in the last six years, including general volunteer, Vice President and Clinic Operations Manager. However, she has found her strength and passion in the development and management of the ASNTF Dog Care and Control Program. Alanna has been focused on the Dog Care and Control Program for the last one-and-a-half years and has brought experience, skills and diligence to this new program.
In her dual role as Senior Education and Research Specialist & Northern Dogs Project Manager, Janice Hannah is responsible for developing, monitoring and evaluating the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s companion animal projects in Canada and providing guidance for IFAW’s education initiatives both in Canada and internationally. In her twenty years at IFAW, Jan has worked in numerous program areas, including marine mammal science and education, Animal Action Education, emergency relief, policy and wildlife trade.
Jan’s focus on companion animal welfare merges her long-term interest in working with animals and communities with the objective of building humane and sustainable programs that improve the health and welfare of animals through education and community engagement. Outreach, advice, community development and service provision are cornerstones to IFAW’s work, which provides contextual and culturally-relevant solutions to local issues.
Jan develops and manages community projects on the ground, as well as advising and working on companion animal policy, programming and issues internationally. During the past few years, she has worked on IFAW companion animal population management and rabies eradication projects, as well as in-community animal welfare capacity development around the world.
Jan holds an Honours BSc in Wildlife Biology from the University of Guelph, and a Master's in Education and Teaching Certificate from Niagara University.
Read our interview with Janice Hannah here.
SUNDAY, APRIL 22
Meghann Cant BSc (Agroecology) MSc (Animal Welfare), Animal Welfare Educator, British Columbia SPCA (BC SPCA)
For many of us, the very thought of eating rabbits is disturbing, yet there is a burgeoning meat rabbit industry here in Canada. The industry, mainly concentrated in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta, has no national representative body and, until this year, no national welfare standards.
On February 15, 2018, Canada’s first Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Rabbits was released. Just what does this Code mean for rabbits? This presentation will give you a brief overview of where the industry is at right now and take you through the key welfare outcomes negotiated at the table. There were some solid wins but, if you are at all familiar with rabbits, there were also some compromises that could not be overcome in this first go-round. Meghann Cant will walk you through the dynamics of negotiating the Code and arm you with examples of how rabbit welfare will be improved from current practice.
- Brief overview of the rabbit industry in Canada.
- Summary of the major requirements and recommended practices in the Rabbit Code.
- Highlights of what changed in the Rabbit Code after the public comment period.
Meghann Cant has worked for the BC SPCA as an animal welfare educator since 2009. She produces educational materials for adults and youth, including Bark!, the BC SPCA’s magazine for kids. Meghann has a Bachelor of Science in Agroecology (2003) and a Masters of Science in Animal Welfare (2013), both from the University of British Columbia. Over the years, she has volunteered with animals in a variety of settings, from veterinary medicine to wildlife rehabilitation to senior animal rescue. Her keenest interests are small mammal behaviour, health and welfare.
MONDAY, APRIL 23
Dr. Elisabeth Ormandy, Executive Director, Animals in Science Policy Institute
Unlike other countries, such as the UK, Canada lacks any national legislation specific to the animals used in science, so what protections do lab animals have, if not legal ones? The current peer-based agency that oversees the use of animals in science in Canada – The Canadian Council on Animal Care – was established in 1968. Forty years on, it’s time to reflect on the systems that we have in place to protect the welfare of lab animals, and to critically examine the governance of animal-based science. This talk will delve into the structure of Canada’s governance system for overseeing the use of animals in science and will evaluate Canada’s progress in implementing the Three Rs principles of Replacement, Reduction and Refinement.
- What legal protection do animals used in science have in Canada? If not legal protection, what other mechanisms are in place to safeguard lab animal welfare?
- What are the successes and shortcomings of the governance system for animal-based science in Canada?
- What progress has been made in the Three Rs? What should the focus of future progress be?
Dr. Elisabeth Ormandy is Executive Director of the Animals in Science Policy Institute, a registered Canadian charity that aims to build an ethical culture of science that respects animal life by promoting the reduction and replacement of animals in teaching, research and testing. Elisabeth brings to this role her background in Neuroscience and PhD-level expertise in animal ethics and the governance of animal-based science. She worked for the Canadian Council on Animal Care as a research fellow from 2009-2011, and subsequently sat on the Standards Committee until 2016. Elisabeth currently sits as an Advisor on the Environment and Animal Welfare committee for the Vancouver Foundation and on the Advisory Council of the Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods.
TUESDAY, APRIL 24
Beth Gammie, Director of Field Services, RedRover
It is essential for the animal welfare community to come together and help government agencies provide temporary emergency animal sheltering for communities evacuating from natural disasters. This is an awareness-level session on what temporary emergency animal sheltering is and how to go about it. The session will include discussion on the different types of emergency shelters, how to set one up and supply and staff it, daily operations, how to maximize reunification of animals with their people, communications and demobilization.
- What is temporary emergency animal sheltering, and why is it crucial in natural disasters? Studies show that up to 40% of people will not evacuate in natural disasters if they are not able to bring their pets with them. This leads to untold human and animal suffering and loss of life. Temporary emergency animal shelters provide sheltering for animals evacuated or rescued from natural disasters, and there are three different types: 1) Co-habitated: people living side-by-side with their animals; 2) Co-located: people and animals living under the same roof, but in separate living areas and 3) Stand-alone temporary shelter: only shelters animals (often nearby a Red Cross or other human shelter). We’ll discuss the pros and cons of the different shelter types.
- How to set up, supply and staff a temporary emergency animal shelter: we’ll cover issues such as how to select a sheltering site, basics on laying it out (the sections that are needed) and how to go about getting the supplies and staffing needed to run it. We’ll also cover the basics of operations, from intake to reunification.
- Reunification of animals with their people should be the North Star, guiding all your sheltering decisions. In the chaos and stress of disaster, it is easy to put reunification on the back burner. However, unless reunification is a focus for the emergency shelter from the beginning, many people and animals from the disaster will never be reunited. This is of course a tragedy for the animals, who lose their family. It is also tragic and extremely painful for people, who may have lost everything in the disaster. There are decision points all along the way: selecting a shelter site, the type of shelter, best practices on intake and communications that can facilitate reunification. We’ll discuss all of these, as well as lessons learned on reunification.
Beth Gammie is the Director of Field Services for RedRover, an American animal welfare organization headquartered in Sacramento, California. In this role, Beth leads the RedRover Responders Program, which provides emergency animal sheltering in natural disasters and large-scale cruelty seizures throughout the United States and Canada. Prior to this position, she was a volunteer with RedRover and other animal welfare groups. Beth lives in Tallahassee, Florida and is staff to her 4 cats.
TUESDAY, APRIL 24
Carrie Fritz, Executive Director, Calgary Humane Society
Jill Gibson, Investigator, Calgary Humane Society
Sage Pullen McIntosh, General Manager of Community Relations, Calgary Humane Society
With the seemingly growing number of natural disasters affecting heavily-populated areas, it isn’t a matter of "if" there will be another emergency situation, it is a matter of "when". In light of the floods and wildfires that have impacted Alberta in the past several years, many animal welfare organizations have started the process of preparing for a large-scale emergency response in their area.
Now that we have learned how to build relationships with multiple levels of government and interested stakeholders and the importance of working as a team, Calgary Humane Society will share its experience during several recent disasters and will provide key takeaways for animal welfare organizations so they can be better prepared to provide an appropriate animal response when disaster strikes.
Based on our experience with the Slave Lake fire in 2011, the Calgary/High River Flood in 2013, and the Fort McMurray Wildfires in 2016, Calgary Humane Society will lead an interactive discussion on how they were able to offer support to affected areas during these times of crisis, with a specific focus on communication strategies, internal operations and logistical support for teams on the ground.
- What you need to prepare as an animal welfare organization in order to be responsive and be able to offer the necessary support to save animal lives. We will examine this from both an internal perspective (dealing with emergency situations within a shelter environment, such as disease outbreak, mass intake, etc.) and from an external perspective (dealing with natural disasters, such as fire and flood).
- What crisis communication strategies need to be employed to ensure key stakeholders receive consistent and effective communication to avoid potential confusion and misinformation.
- What does this support look like: from providing people, equipment, supplies and other resources to actual "boots on the ground" support. We will discuss the challenges faced and the improvements that have been made to increase effectiveness of this effort.
Carrie Fritz is the Executive Director of Calgary Humane Society and is a CGA-CPA, who attended the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University, obtaining her accounting designation in 1996. Since taking on the role of Executive Director, Carrie has focused on building a professional, highly-skilled team in order to further all aspects of animal welfare, inspiring the community to take on the challenges of animal welfare and teach them to be responsible pet owners. Carrie currently lives just south of Calgary, where she shares her home with her daughter, her three dogs and two rescue rabbits.
Jillian Gibson, a graduate of Lethbridge College's Criminology program, joined Calgary Humane Society's Protection and Investigations department in 2011. Since then, she has investigated thousands of animal cruelty files, most notably the high profile Willow Park muzzling (Camardi) case and the Riverfront Aquariums case, both of which, upon conviction, were given record-setting sentences.
Sage Pullen McIntosh joined Calgary Humane Society in February 2015. Previously, Sage spent 16 years working in both radio and television news as a reporter, anchor and producer. Sage holds her Master of Arts in Professional Communication through Royal Roads University in Victoria and has a passion for crisis communications and media relations. When not at work, Sage can be found camping with her family, walking her giant English Mastiff (Thor) or at the soccer field, dojo or gym with at least one of her very active kids.
TUESDAY, APRIL 24
Dr. Dave Bjolin, Veterinarian, Canada Task Force 2/Olds College
Bonnie Lewin, Business Continuity & Recovery Planner - ESS Planner, The City of Calgary
The Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) is a coordinating body that collaborates with more than 60 Agency members to prepare for, and respond to, emergencies and disasters. CEMA manages Canada Task Force 2 (CAN-TF2), which is one of five national all-hazard disaster response teams, as well as Calgary’s Emergency Social Services (ESS) program. CAN-TF2 and ESS will discuss the importance of building relationships with partners (internal, external and governmental) and the importance of working as a team when a disaster or emergency strikes.
- See how your organization fits within the emergency management system during a response.
- Some challenges and opportunities when developing your emergency response plans.
- How to work with multiple levels of government when disaster hits.
Dr. Dave Bjolin graduated from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1994 and has worked as a veterinarian on Vancouver Island and in Calgary. Dave has been a faculty member at Olds College since 2007. He volunteers with Alberta Spay and Neuter Task Force, including a recent involvement as part of the response to the Fort McMurray Wildfires. Dave joined Canada Task Force 2, Alberta’s Disaster Response Team, in 2016 and works with the Canine as well as Search teams.
Bonnie Lewin is a Registered Social Worker in Alberta and the Emergency Social Services (ESS) Planner for The City of Calgary. She has been involved in emergency planning for more than ten years and participated in five ESS activations, including the 2013 Alberta South Floods. Bonnie incorporates citizen, internal and external partner perspectives in the ESS plan to ensure the impacted individuals' needs are met in a safe and welcoming environment. Her social work background enhances the delivery of services as she focuses on building citizen and staff capacity to recover from a disaster or emergency. Bonnie meets with her ESS colleagues from other Alberta municipalities regularly to assist in creating best practices for the delivery of ESS in Alberta. She has delivered presentations to Emergency Management personnel in British Columbia and Alberta.
MONDAY, APRIL 23
Geeta Seshamani, Senior Wildlife Conservationist and Co-Founding Director, Wildlife SOS
Known for the landmark conservation success of ending the brutal dancing bear trade in India through the rescue of 628 dancing bears and the rehabilitation of the Kalandar community that depended on the bears, Wildlife SOS has established itself as a premier conservation organization in India.
Wildlife SOS was started in 1995 as an offshoot of Geeta Seshamani’s existing helpline for domestic animals in distress in the National Capital Region, and has since grown from a local 24-hour rescue helpline for wildlife to a country-wide organization, running more than 40 projects and 11 rescue centres with the aim of enabling coexistence of human beings and wildlife. Today, the organization runs three 24-hour rescue helplines in major cities in India (including the national capital of Delhi), which rescue, rehabilitate and release wildlife caught in urban settings.
With exploding populations and rapid urbanization, forests continue to shrink as anthropogenic stress destroys natural habitats, diverts water channels and depletes prey bases for indigenous wildlife, forcing them into human habitation on the periphery of former forested areas. A natural result of this is human-wildlife conflict, a fast growing and extremely critical conservation concern for the 21st century.
In response to this growing threat to wildlife, Wildlife SOS runs conflict mitigation projects in Maharashtra for leopards, in Kashmir for Asiatic Black Bears and Himalayan Brown Bears, and in Chhattisgarh for the Asian elephant. The projects work closely with local affected communities and stakeholders to provide solutions to conflict that are inclusive and hence sustainable, relying on increased tolerance and compassion on the parts of local people inculcated in them through training programs, awareness drives and mitigation workshops by the organization. Wildlife SOS also works on human-primate conflict mitigation in the city of Agra, running a humane population control project through scientific immuno-sterilisation that also helps reduce inter and intra-specific territorial aggression and conflict.
- There’s no going back, only learning to move forward: Populations are growing, and will continue to grow unchecked for a long time, and anthropogenic pressure on the environment cannot always be reduced or eliminated. In situations like this, dwelling on the difficulty of the situation and wishing we could undo the problems we have created for wildlife will not work – the need of the hour is to find a way to move forward sustainably by creating oases of sanctuary for these animals, and helping people learn to co-exist with the wildlife they share their landscapes with.
- The larger the animal, the larger the problem: With larger animals, particularly carnivores, who force themselves to adapt to urban environments, the problem is exacerbated by an acute intolerance founded on baseless fear, misunderstanding and a lack of awareness. In most instances, unrealistic demands for culling, capture and relocation cannot be met due to their significant detrimental impact on the environment and wild populations of critical species – and innovative solutions are required to solve the problem.
- The key is in community: In instances where local communities, particularly poor farming communities residing on the fringes of society are the most affected by conflict, legal, political and governmental solutions are rarely as effective as community-based solutions that seek to involve local stakeholders and affected persons by engaging with them to increase awareness, and involving them as active participants in the conservation of the species through mitigation of conflict.
Geeta Seshamani started working in 1979 with an animal welfare organization called Friendicoes SECA in New Delhi. Her passion is Wildlife Conservation and Research. Geeta has been a Member of the Animal Welfare Board of India, Central Zoo Authority, Government of India and has received several life time achievement awards and felicitations for her work in the field. Geeta established Wildlife SOS, India (wildlifesos.org) in 1995 with Kartick Satyanarayan that runs several projects to support Bear conservation in India including the largest rehabilitation center in the world for sloth bears. She is known for her work in bringing an end to the ‘dancing bear’ problem in India while rehabilitating the Kalandar communities through education and alternate livelihoods. She is now focused on tackling Bear conservation issues through biodiversity conservation, protecting sloth bear and black bear habitat and creating bear conservation and education programs to mitigate bear human conflict in India, wherever there is an increase in human-bear conflict.