top of page

2023 Annual Conference Session Speakers

Heather Lewis_cropped.jpg
Heather Lewis

Heather E. Lewis, AIA, NCARB, AAA 

Heather is a principal of Animal Arts, an architectural firm that has exclusively designed veterinary hospitals, animal shelters, and other animal care facilities since 1979. In her 23 years with the firm, Heather has been instrumental in the programming and design of numerous projects ranging in size from 1,400 to 110,000 square feet across the nation and beyond. Heather has worked with dozens of animal sheltering organizations helping them to create environments that improve staff efficiency, reduce stress, and improve outcomes for the animals they care for. Some of her recent projects include Mountain Humane in Hailey, Idaho; Atlanta Humane Society in Georgia; and the Dumb Friends League, Denver, Colorado. She has spoken about practical and innovative design solutions at CVC/Fetch Hospital Design Conferences, the UC Davis Low Stress Animal Handling Conference, NAVC VMX, and HSUS Expo.  Heather helped to create the Fear Free facility design requirements for veterinary hospitals and is a member of the Fear Free Advisory Board. She has dedicated her career to creating spaces that bring people and animals together.

Karen Griffin

Dr. Karen Griffin, Dog Rehoming Project

Dr. Karen Griffin is a research scientist in the field of shelter dogs and dog rehoming. She earned her doctorate in animal sciences at the University of Lincoln in Lincolnshire, England. The scope of her research experience and interest within this field includes how a dog fits into a home environment, what qualifies a successful dog placement, and how to improve the likelihood that a placement will be successful. Her research is based in both the United States and Europe, and she is focused on the practical and real world applications of its findings. With a background in the social sciences, Dr. Griffin employs an interdisciplinary approach to her research. At Utrecht University in the Netherlands, she is currently investigating dogs’ quality of life pre- and post-adoption, with the goal of ensuring dogs’ good welfare in both cases, as well as improving the efficiency and usefulness of organizations’ rehoming policies and procedures. Dr. Griffin also founded a non-profit organization, The Dog Rehoming Project (, which has the mission of bridging the gap between research and people who need it, to put science behind dog sheltering and dog rehoming.

Abigail Appleton

Abigail Appleton, Charleston Animal Society

Abigail Appleton joined the Charleston Animal Society in 2016 to lead the No Kill South Carolina initiative, promoting lifesaving strategies and humane shelter care to communities across the state. NKSC is on track to eliminate euthanasia of healthy and treatable pets in our state by 2024. Significant projects include Pick Me! SC, the largest annual statewide adoption event in America for dogs & cats; a humane shelter assessment program; and the Florence Area Community Cat Project. 
Before joining the team at CAS, Abigail spent 10 years in senior management at the Humane Society of Pinellas where she helped lead the organization through a variety of natural and manmade disasters, including Hurricane Katrina and three executive transitions. She was a founding board member of MEOW Now, created to bring a community cat program to Pinellas County, Florida. She spent 8 years in humane law enforcement and has taught animal
shelter standards and emergency animal sheltering to students across the United States. 
Abigail is a Certified Animal Welfare Administrator, Project Management Professional, Certified Animal Cruelty Investigator, and has studied nonprofit business management at the graduate level. She lives with her dogs in Charleston.

Bio Pic 2023.jpg
Lynda Kitson

Lynda Kitson, Who's Walking Who

Lynda has been involved with dogs all her life and has attended various dog training schools. In 2006 Lynda was asked to join Who’s Walking Who Dog Training Centres as a trainer. She later developed their Freestyle Obedience courses.

Her own dogs have been trained in Obedience, Freestyle Obedience, Rally Obedience, Tricks, Agility, Treibball and Scent Detection. Her dogs also performed with the Woofjocks Canine All Stars from 2010 to 2017.

Lynda became a Certified Walks ‘N’ Wags Pet First Aid Instructor and founded K9 Compass in 2011 through which she conducted Pet First Aid courses at Who’s Walking Who as well as various locations outside the GTA. Due to a lack of time, she closed K9 Compass in 2022 but continues to teach Pet First Aid out of Who’s Walking Who.

In 2018, Lynda became the new owner of Who’s Walking Who Dog Training Centres which has been in business since 1989. Their 3 locations provide dog training classes in Durham Region and Toronto. 

Lynda strongly believes in positive reward-based training. Like many things, dog training continues to evolve, and Lynda became interested in games-based concept training in 2020. She was greatly impressed with the changes in her own dogs and became certified as a Pro Dog Trainer through Absolute Dogs in the UK that same year. She is so passionate about this method of training that she has incorporated Games Based Concept Training into the training programs at Who’s Walking Who.

Lynda continues to upgrade her knowledge in dog training and behaviour and is an active volunteer with Golden Rescue, including writing The Training Corner articles for their newsletter, The Guardian.

Lynda lives with her husband and three Golden Retrievers – Tula who is 3, Star who is 5 and their newest rescue Violet who is 7. 

Julie Speyer

Julie Speyer, Canine Foundations

Canine Foundations’ founder and Head Professional Behaviour Consultant is Julie Speyer, with over 20 years of Canine Rehabilitation experience, specializing in treating extreme Fear, Aggression and Phobia related behaviour issues.  Among her many accomplishments, Julie is also a Court Recognized Expert Witness in the area of Dog Bite and Canine Behaviour Assessments. With a background as a Veterinarian Assistant, former Animal Cruelty Investigator and Animal Control Officer, Julie works closely with many Municipal Animal Shelters and organizations, such as the Municipal Law Enforcement Officers’ Association, in developing Officer Safety Training and Animal Handling programs.

Julie shares her experience and passion for rehabilitating canines as the writer and instructor for Georgian College’s Canine Behaviour Science programs, and continuing education credit courses for the; OAVT (Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians), IAABC (International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants), and the CCPDT (Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers).

In addition to running Canine Foundations full time, she also serves on the board of directors for Last Chance K9 Rescue as the Behaviour Coordinator and Chief Rehabilitator. Last Chance K9 Rescue is one of the few rescues in Ontario that takes in and rehabilitates dogs with a biting history, giving them a new lease on life.

J Ellis (small file size) (1).jpg
Jacklyn Ellis

Dr. Jacklyn Ellis, Toronto Humane Society

Dr. Jacklyn Ellis is board certified by the Animal Behavior Society as a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, is Certified in Shelter Behavior – Cat by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, and is the Director of Behaviour at Toronto Humane Society. She earned her PhD in Animal Welfare at the Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, where she conducted research on methods for reducing stress in shelter cats. Her work has been published widely in peer reviewed journals and she has presented at many national and international conferences, particularly on feline stress and elimination behaviour. She has recently authored two chapters for a new edition of the leading textbook on the behaviour and welfare of shelter animals.

Kathy Duncan
Dr Sharon Quinn
gord perry.jpg
Gord Perry

Photo Credit: Canadian Press

Kathy Profile Pic 2.jpg

Dr. Sharon Quinn, SMART.VET

Dr. Quinn is a 2004 OVC graduate, and has been working in companion animal general practice since that time, purchasing her practice in Burlington in 2006. She and her eldest son have recently opened a new animal hospital in Waterdown, which is altering the traditional practice concept by introducing an innovative employment model, unique hospital design, and focus on technology as a tool for delivering and improving care.

In 2018, Dr. Quinn co-founded Smart.Vet, a veterinary telemedicine software and service provider. With a remote team of over 120 veterinarians and 50 Registered Veterinary Technicians, Smart.Vet is tackling the veterinarian shortage and access to care crises that are plaguing our industry. They work directly with overburdened day practices, emergency hospitals, and clinics offering on-call services to provide 24/7 access to virtual care 365 days per year.

Dr. Quinn sits on the board of the Veterinary Virtual Care Association, and chairs the Canadian Committee. Outside of work, Dr Quinn enjoys time with her four children.  She also owns and operates the Canadian chapter of an international singing competition, which has taken her around the world.

Gord Perry, GNP Reptile Rescue

Gord Perry is the president and founder of GNP Reptile Rescue, an Ontario-based organization, dedicated to the rehabilitation, rescue and rehoming of reptiles and amphibians.  With his wife Carolyn, Gord has been operating GNP Reptile Rescue since 2002, serving the community and community partners alike with outreach programs and in-home visits.

Gord is also the founder, owner, and president of Central Ontario Reptile Expo, an exotic animal-based trade show/expo that operates out of the Peterborough/Kawartha Lakes area and co-owner and founder of the House of Scales, specialty reptile store, based in Peterborough.

In addition to rescue work, Gord's full-time job is in the education sector, working at the Kawartha Pineridge District School Board as Head Custodian.

GNP Reptile Rescue's goal has always been to help those in need and take in the reptiles nobody else will. They will continue to do so with their network, as well as on their own.

Spare time; what’s that?  When they do have spare time they try to make the most of it with family and friends.

Kathy Duncan, Humane Canada

Kathy Duncan has worked in the Animal Care, Control and Welfare field for over 30 years in Ontario.  She started as an Animal Control Officer and has held various roles in both non-profit Humane Societies/SPCAs as well as open admission municipal animal shelters. Kathy is currently the Director, National Programs with Humane Canada, Canada’s national voice for animal welfare.  

She was a member of the Municipal Law Enforcement Officer’s Association of Ontario for almost 20 years and a member of the Association of Animal Shelter Administrators of Ontario (AASAO) for almost 30 years. She served as a member of the board of directors with the AASAO for over 17 years, 12 of those she served as President/Chair of the Board.  

Kathy has been actively involved in various provincial working groups including the Animal Welfare Task Force over the course of her career and is passionate about bringing improvements to animal sheltering and animal welfare. She is excited about the chance to bring that passion to the National Animal Care and Control Association, particularly it’s Canadian members.

Kathy, along with her husband Paul, is the proud parent to two young adult children, and two Bouvier des Flandres dogs.  

Michelle Macnab, Hamilton Burlington SPCA

Michelle Macnab is a dedicated and compassionate animal welfare professional whose unwavering commitment to the well-being of animals and their human companions has made her a driving force in the field.

Michelle’s core belief is that pets are cherished members of our families, and their welfare should never be compromised due to financial constraints or unforeseen circumstances.  She envisions a future where every pet has a loving home and access to the care they deserve.  With her relentless pursuit of this vision, she hopes to inspire those around her to work towards a more compassionate world for animals and their human companions.

Michelle is currently a valuable team member at the Hamilton Burlington SPCA working tirelessly to develop programs that provide support to struggling pet guardians, ensuring that they can maintain their bonds with their beloved animals.  Her ability to connect with people from all walks of life has made her a valuable resource in her community. 

The Macnab house is currently home to 2 dogs, 1 house cat, 2 barn cats, a gaggle of ducks and chickens and a temporary home to countless foster pets.

Michelle Macnab

Provincial Animal Welfare Services

Sara Munoz, Senior Manager, Public Education, Training and Partnerships

Sara Munoz is a Senior Manager with Animal Welfare Services, a branch of the Ministry of the Solicitor General responsible for animal welfare compliance and enforcement in Ontario. Sara currently oversees the training, public education, and stakeholder management portfolio within the branch.

Prior to joining Animal Welfare Services, Sara was employed with the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for 18 years, working in both the animal shelter and investigations department including being a member of the Major Case Management team.

Michael Draper, Senior Manager, Integrated Support

Michael Draper is a Senior Manager with Animal Welfare Services, a branch of the Ministry of the Solicitor General responsible for animal welfare compliance and enforcement in Ontario. 

Prior to joining Animal Welfare Services, Michael was employed in the Animal Health and Welfare Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) for 16 years, where he coordinated veterinary inspection and regulatory standards at livestock auctions. During his time with OMAFRA, he worked on a number of animal welfare projects including calf health, euthanasia of cattle and swine and participated on the updating of the National Farm Animal Care Council Codes of Practice for veal cattle, sheep and dairy cattle. Before joining the Ontario Public Service, Michael was the Chief Inspector of the Ontario SPCA for five years, and an investigator with the Ontario SPCA for 16 years.

Michael, with his wife and kids, operates a cow calf and cash crop operation near St. Thomas, Ontario.

Jamie Saad, Montreal SPCA

Jamie Saad is the Montreal SPCA's Animal Welfare Projects Manager and this position has her working in a variety of out-of-shelter campaigns.
Jamie started in the rescue world 10 years ago, volunteering in the same building where she currently works. It’s also the same building where she adopted her beloved best friend, Dakota, who has accompanied her through the last decade of rescue work.
Jamie started volunteering with Humane Society International/Canada, and after a few years of work, landed her dream job as Operations Coordinator. This position offered her the privilege to managing and assisting in a variety of rescue missions, transfers, and projects which have all been very near and dear to her heart.
Jamie had developed a multitude of connections and partnerships within the province to help promote animal welfare in many sectors, before taking on the task of growing this vision further within the walls of the Montreal SPCA. She is currently working on developing programs within the community that offer support, supplies and education to vulnerable populations and hopes to lower pet surrender rates.

Jamie Saad
bottom of page