The HSWM PetPro Conference is an annual educational and networking opportunity for the Rocky Mountain companion animal community. HSWM is pleased to offer one evening and two days of presentations by nationally renowned leaders in animal behavior, veterinary medicine, and nonprofit management.
Full Conference Program
Saturday Sept. 14
Dinner & keynote presentation: We are pleased to welcome Dave Pauli Senior Advisor, Wildlife Responder and Policy for HSUS. Dave has devoted over 26 years to proactive and reactive wildlife projects, ranging from animal housing and predator issues, to education and disaster response. His career has ranged from bike-riding wildlife protector at the age of ten, to animal control officer. Dave will be discussing how global warming impacts wild and feral animal populations.
Sunday Sept. 15
8:00-8:30 - Welcome Breakfast & NTSI Presentation - Kay Joubert, ASPCA
8:30-9:30 - Intake Strategies Panel: Help your community help you become more effective and efficient. Consider when, how and why to accept pets into a shelter setting. This will include a discussion of novel approaches, such as Home to Home as well as examples of recent changes made by shelters in our region.
- Mandy Evans, Tim Anderson
9:45-10:45 - Optimizing the Flow to Help More Animals: Erica Schumacher, DVM, will introduce this session, which will explore options that reduce stress and promote adoptions. Whether you are a large urban shelter or a small rural non profit, simple steps can make a big difference in your live release rates. This session will include practical tips you can easily implement. - Jessica Reed, Juliane Ross, Steve Leach, Alicia Davis will be presenting panelists.
11:00-12:30 - Stress Less Everyday: Stress is pervasive in shelters and its effects can be seen in the pets in our care. Stressed animals are harder to handle and harder to adopt out. This presentation will cover easy and safe practices you can implement TODAY to reduce the stress of all animals in your shelter, including your staff! - Tiff Shao
12:30-2:00 - Lunch & Roundtable Discussions:
Field Trips: Pawjama Parties, Date with a Dog and other activities for pets and people - Meredith Stewart
Build a Better Board - Marta Pierpoint and Kay Joubert-bring the hard questions!
Outreach: You can easily start a program, really - Jacquelyn Davis
Outcome Options: What you don’t need to ask and more - Mandy Evans and Nicole Nolte
Veterinary Hot Topics - transfers, vaccines and up to the moment topics - Erica Schumacher, DVM
Feral Cat Conundrums - Aleisha Swartz, DVM
Marketing the Tough Stuff - McKenna Cramer and Cliff Bennet
2:00-3:00 - Use of Psychopharmaceutical in Shelters: Which behavior medications are best to use in a shelter setting, and when and how do you decide to use them? - Aleisha Swartz, DVM
3:15-4:15 - Liability Issues in the Shelter Setting: Don’t let fear hold you back. Everyone from staff to Board fears “liability.” But what does it really mean? How do we implement behavior programs, volunteer interactions and other actions perceived to be risky? - Stacey Gordon Sterling Esq.
4:15-4:45 - ASPCA Rescue Success Stories: A special guest appearance from an ASPCA rescue will brighten the end of the day!
Monday Sept. 16
All sessions will take place at the shelter and the day is limited to sixty attendees. In the morning thirty attendees will attend the “downstairs” sessions, while thirty attendees will experience shelter behavior work with live demonstrations by the PetPro Behavior team.The whole group will enjoy lunch together, then switch and repeat the sessions.
9:00-10:00 - Marketing the Tough Stuff: Marketing with a positive message and how to handle negative comments on social media. - McKenna Cramer & Cliff Bennett
10:00-11:00 - Outcome Options: Work with your community to maximize adoptions. This includes a discussion of things you really don’t need to ask adopters and why. - Mandy Evans and Nicole Nolte
11:15-12:15- Community Outreach on a Budget: How you can reach beyond your shelter to provide much needed assistance. - Marta Pierpoint and Jacquelyn Davis
Afternoon: A repeat of morning session with attendees swapping
1:15-2:15 Marketing the Tough Stuff
2:15-3:15 Outcome Options
3:30-4:30 Community Outreach on a Budget
Canine Handling and Compatibility: Instruction and Demonstration with shelter dogs
9:00-10:15 Part 1 - Why are dog introductions so important and why can they be so tricky?! This session will help you learn how to conduct dog introductions safely and effectively. We will discuss and demonstrate defensive dog handling skills and why leash handling can make or break your dog introductions. We will talk about factors to consider prior to pairing dogs, especially those who are harder to mix. We will explore approaches to maximize success and tools that can help along the way. Participants will have the opportunity to make matches and create a plan for introductions.
10:45-12:15 Part 2 - You made the matches and now we’ll carry them out! We will observe and interpret body language, and decide how and when to proceed with an introduction. Learn how to succeed when working with dog-selective dogs and make progress with reactive dogs as well! Lastly, we will discuss how the collected information can benefit dogs in your shelter, and how you can convey this information to potential adopters.
Afternoon: A repeat of morning session with attendees swapping
1:15-2:45 Part 1
3:15-4:30 Part 2
Dave Pauli, Senior Advisor Wildlife Response & Policy, HSUS
Dave Pauli is HSUS's director of the Western Regional Office, coordinating all legislative activities in the western United States. He also oversees all disaster-relief efforts in the region. He served as an animal situation incident commander during the 1997 Red River Floods and as incident commander for the Lamar Dixon Emergency Animal Shelter in Louisiana after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Dave has also worked on overseas catastrophes, including in Sri Lanka following the 2004 tsunami and to the Philippines to train local animal control workers in capturing and vaccinating feral dogs.
Mandy G. Evans, Executive Director, Panhandle Animal Shelter
Mandy G. Evans is Executive Director of Panhandle Animal Shelter and the Home To Home™ network. Mandy came to animal welfare over eight years ago as the first executive director for the organization. She has worked to transcend a fear-based negative environment in which animals were housed instead of adopted, and where the local population expressed what they perceived was a lack of support. Through active engagement with the community at large, cutting-edge ideas, and industry partnership, the shelter now has a 75% return to owner rate, they have quadrupled the number of animals served, and reduced length of stay by a staggering 85%.
Stacey Gordon Sterling, Esq., Professor, University of Montana School of Law
Professor Gordon Sterling is a graduate of Eastern Washington University, the University of Washington School of Library and Information Science, and The University of Montana School of Law, where she was a member of the Jessup International Moot Court team and served as business editor of the Public Lands and Resources Law Review. Professor Gordon Sterling is the Director of the Jameson Law Library and teaches, among other courses, Animal Law at the University of Montana. She is the advisor of the law school’s chapter of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Director of the First-Year Law Firm Program. She has written numerous scholarly articles about animal law and is a speaker at professional conferences, including the International Law Summit. In addition to her work in the law school, Professor Gordon served as the Secretary of the Board of the Humane Society of Western Montana and Chair of the HSWM Legislative and Advocacy Committee, and was a primary proponent of Missoula’s vote to ban the exploitation of exotic animals for entertainment. She is also the Chair of the American Association of Law Libraries Animal Law Caucus Education Committee, and a member of the American Association of Law Schools Animal Law Section Executive Committee. Her pro bono and volunteer work focuses on consulting on animal law issues. She is also a HOPE foster parent for the Humane Society of Western Montana and always has a house full of animals in need of permanent homes.
Kay Joubert, Director Northern Tier Shelter Initiative, ASPCA
Kay has over 23 years of experience in the field of animal welfare, most recently as the director of a companion animal shelter in Washington State where she lives. She has extensive experience in shelter administration, daily operations, budgeting, contract negotiations, personnel management and program development. Kay has served on the boards of three non-profits, as well as the regional preparedness task force which incorporated animals into the county’s disaster response plan. While serving on the executive committee of the Washington State Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies, she’s reviewed and approved some of the $530,000 in spay/neuter grant funds to underwrite 17,000 spay/neuter surgeries. Her passion for improving access to spay/neuter fueled her efforts to grow a month-long spay/neuter campaign into an annual event involving private veterinary clinics and animal shelters which resulted in 8,919 surgeries over a 17-year period. Kay joined the ASPCA NTSI team in February and focuses on the states of Montana, Idaho and Wisconsin. When not working on behalf of shelters and the animals, she enjoys traveling, reading, spending time with family and friends, and working on the 5 acres she shares with her husband, Bryan, their adopted dog, Cedar, and their cat, Lemon Drop, who of course rules the household.
Mariah Scheskie, CPDT-KA, Professional Behavior Responder, ASPCA
Mariah Scheskie is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Professional Behavior Responder with the ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Behavior Team. She specializes in working with fearful and reactive dogs from cruelty and neglect cases as well as helping community members and their pets through private training and consultations. Mariah has worked in shelters since 2004, including Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, The Humane Society of Western Montana, and ASPCA. Mariah has presented at regional and national conferences, and her past work focused on providing support and training to shelter staff on implementing enrichment/behavior programs to enhance the lives of pets while they await adoption.
Dr. Erica Schumacher, DVM, Clinical Instructor and Outreach Veterinarian, Shelter Medicine Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Schumacher fell in love with shelter medicine in 2003 when she joined the medical team at Dane County Humane Society (DCHS) in Madison, Wisconsin as a certified veterinary technician. Following her lifelong dream of becoming a veterinarian, she attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine and worked with Dr. Sandra Newbury to create the school’s first shelter medicine elective in 2004. Upon graduation in 2008, Dr. Schumacher took a short break from shelter medicine after being accepted for a competitive Wildlife and Conservation Medicine internship at Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Upon completing her wildlife internship, Dr. Schumacher sought to find a place where she could pursue both of her veterinary passions, shelter medicine and wildlife. After traveling and working in Arizona, Alaska and Africa, she returned to her roots at DCHS as the Chief Shelter Veterinarian, where she oversaw the medical team, as well as the shelter’s wildlife center, for seven years. She particularly enjoyed supervising the clinical training for the UW Shelter Medicine Program interns, residents, and veterinary students. In 2018, Dr. Schumacher joined the UW Shelter Medicine Program as an Outreach Veterinarian. She enjoys using her clinical background in shelter medicine as well as her love of teaching to help other shelters reach their lifesaving potential. When not at work, Dr. Schumacher enjoys gardening, cooking, nature, and spending time with her husband, two children, and three-legged cat Moo Moo.
Dr. Aleisha Swartz, DVM, Clinical Instructor and Outreach Veterinarian, Shelter Medicine Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Swartz graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 2002. She practiced in a small animal hospital before following her passion into shelter medicine. She has worked with large, nonprofit and municipal shelters, spay-neuter programs and smaller rescue groups. She has implemented shelter medical and surgical protocols, conducted staff trainings, and participated in animal cruelty investigations. A 2014-2015 HSUS UW Shelter Medicine fellow, Dr. Swartz is excited to be back working with the UW team. In 2014 she was recognized by the University of Georgia as one of the Top 40 Under 40 graduates and participated in the AVMA Future Leaders program in 2015-2016. She is currently the President of the Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association and a member of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians. Dr. Swartz's goal is to improve the level of care for animals in shelters, as well as animals living in the community, and has a special interest in encouraging shelter staff to become effective and engaging leaders who make a positive impact. She currently shares her home with her husband, 2 dogs, 2 cats, several fish, and a variety of foster animals.
University of Wisconsin Leadership Fellows
Flathead County Animal Shelter
Cliff Bennett, Director
Humane Society of Western Montana
Marta R. Pierpoint, Executive Director
Regional Animal Services of King County
Tim Anderson, Lead Animal Control Sergeant
Dr. Jessica Reed, DVM, Director Shelter Medicine
Juli Ross, Director of Animal Services
Stafford Animal Shelter
Steve Leach, Executive Director
Alicia Davis, Director of Operations & Outreach
Humane Society of Western Montana Representatives
Marta Pierpoint, Executive Director
Nicole Nolte, Director of Operations
McKenna Cramer, Director of Advancement
Jacquelyn Davis, Development and Marketing Manager
Meredith Stewart, Community Engagement Coordinator
Tiff Shao, CPDT-KA, Behavior Manager
Bre Black, Behavior Consultant