Rescue Heroes: The Full Circle
Prevention/Protection: John Molinelli, Bergen County Prosecutor, and his animal cruelty task force, setting high standards and enforcing animal rights. Click here for information Bergen County's Animal Cruelty Task Force.
Here is a photo of the volunteer Task Force as they graduate from a training class at the Police and Fire Academy, the first class for any SPCA, put together by Mr. Molinelli:
Rescue/Transport: Pilots N Paws (Deborah Boies of South Carolina, co-founder; Jack Merritt, pilot accepting the award)
Click here for Debi Boies bio and info on Pilots N Paws
Click here for info on Jack Merritt
Click here for Fernando's bio
Sharon Prushinski, accepting. Click here for bio.
Outreach: Joe Dwyer, author, motivational speaker, animal chaplain
Click here for Joe's bio
And his adopted dog, Daniel, gas chamber survivor, therapy dog, and advocate appearing on Anderson Cooper Live TV show and in other media.
Click here for biographical press release Click here for Daniel's own website.
SEATS OF HONOR FOR HIDDEN "HEROES AMONG US"
Our Special guests are:
Joe and Donna Sacco: Active in animal rescue for past five years, three years with a new group called Coming Home Rescue. Specialize in rescuing dogs from high-kill shelters (and also take owner surrenders) and finding great homes for them. Transport and accompany their foster dogs and those in a boarding facility to adoption events every weekend. Also involved in spay/neuter follow-ups, fundraising events, dog socialization, and transports to vets, etc. Recently appointed to the Advisory Board. Have fostered dogs with medical and behavior issue, adopting some that were unadoptable. One dog, Faith, grew old in their home and was adopted so when her time came she'd be part of a family, not an orphan.
Laurie Cole: Volunteers for a number of rescues. Has built fences to free chained dogs; cleaned and painted kennels at animal control facilities; helped neglected pets by trying to get them to a rescue--or herself paying for the needed care and food. Welcomes fosters along with her own pets. When The Last Resort rescued two neglected, malnourished dogs (a 16-yearold Shepherd-mix and 12-year old Dalmatian mix who were left to die in a dilapidated unheated garage) the emaciated dogs were boarded rather than fostered. Laurie thought they deserved better so she took them home for hospice care so they'd know what love is. Eventually one dog, Jack, responded to his name--a joy she exuberantly shared with her animal-loving friends.
Colleen Ofeldt: Busy college student who volunteers for START (Save the Animals Rescue Team) II. Cleans cages; uses her artistic skills for flyers, knitted catnip items, and lovingly-made handicrafts for fundraising. Sells lots of Dogfest and Pets & Heroes 50/50 raffle tickets on behalf of START II. Describes herself as a cog in a well-oiled machine where many work together to make extraordinary things happen. Strives to provide unconditional love for all the animals that come their way, those en route to a new beginning or those staying in the Englewood no-kill shelter run by the organization.
Donna Moussa: Has been volunteering for ten years. Active in Trap/Neuter/Release--personally responsible for over 400 T/N/R cats in 2011. Devotes her Sundays to adoption events at PetSmart in Wayne. Fosters, transports animals to vet, and uses her medical, on-the-job training to treat animals in many situations.
Renée J. Lane (aka Raé): Inspired to devote her life to helping pets in need; known for her sunshiny disposition! Transitioned from corporate position in pet industry to her own consulting company, "Sunshine Productions--PR for Pets" which coordinates fundraising and awareness-raising events for animal welfare groups. Also has her own pet care business, "Paws & Kisses, TLC" with many of her clients being shelter/rescue canines and kitties. Has provided "hounds hospice" for dog ill with cancer and special help for disabled dachshund. Is obtaining her Canine Massage Therapy license to ease the transition, lessen anxiety, and enhance the overall health of shelter dogs. Joins her beloved therapy dog, Princess Grace (Gracie Bear), in putting smiles on the faces of many ailing and elderly people, too.
Mike Pravec: Founder and president of Special Needs K9 (SNK9), a 501(c)(3) organization based in Oakland. Focuses on animals with special needs: extensive medical problems, hard to adopt, and on the brink of being euthanized (See the video on www.specialneedsK9.org). Oversees administration, testing, surgeries, carts for handicapped dogs, transports, training, post adoption aid, and is presently working on an artificial limb for a fortunate recipient. His Facebook page, with over 4700 followers, brings attention to dogs needing homes (mostly ones on death row) as well as awareness and education. When money runs out he's known to often use his own for boarding and vet care. He deserves the sleep of the just, but often lies awake thinking of those still in need of rescue.
Frances Urban: Secretary for Closter Animal Welfare Society (CLAWS--formerly "Lost Pet Service of Closter") for over 40 years. Also involved in Humane Education through the Kind News Program, working with the teachers and distributing monthly newsletters to elementary school children. Active in trapping, low-cost spaying/neutering, lost & found, adoptions, and fundraising of all kinds (flea markets, Barnes & Noble gift-wrapping, garage sales/flea markets, raffles, etc.)
Linda J. Peterson, Esq.: Elder law attorney in Mahwah who writes legal column on pending humane legislation for CAA (Companion Animal Advocates). Past Trustee and presently on Advisory Board for CAA. Fundraiser for SPCA of Tampa Bay; lifetime rescuer of homeless animals. Her rescue dog Buckley is a therapy dog who listens attentively as Ridgewood schoolchildren hone their reading skills (through the PAWS Literacy Program) and also visits the VA nursing home in Paramus.
Joseph DeCandido: aka the Cat Man of River Edge for his work with the strays between 1970 and 1985. Known also as Joe Dee, a seasoned professional who sings at the retired actors' home and other health institutions. Has been rescuing, providing food and supplies, and finding homes for animals for over 65 years--since he was 14 years of age. A modern day Francis of Assisi with an amazing spiritual bond to all animals.
Dr. Kathleen Hefner: Practicing veterinarian for 25 years; founder of Saddle River Animal Hospital. Participates in Friends of Animals' low-cost spay/neutering program; works with animal control to provide emergency medical care to injured, abandoned, and neglected animals. Works with several animal rescue and welfare organizations such as Companion Animal Advocates and the Last Resort Rescue and Sanctuary. Has personally co-sponsored successful pet adoption days, rabies clinics, and lost-cost ID micro-chip events. Medical advisor and executive board member of Onyx and Breezy Foundation, 100% volunteer non-profit that supports animal causes across the nation. Has a beautiful Shetland Sheep rescue and two totally incorrigible cats.
Clarence and Mona Fisher: Have been dedicated volunteers the last 13 years, helping to run the Englewood no-kill cat-and-dog shelter on Sunday mornings. Do repairs both inside and out (Clarence is licensed electrician) and whatever is necessary to help it running efficiently. Helped to evacuate pets during Hurricane Irene. Never say no to any request. Unusually conscientious, dependable, and a two-time dog adopter from the START II shelter!
Dana Hubbard: Loves animals and has worked with them since age 16. At age 3 she was lost at a fair--her mother was frantic she'd been kidnapped but Dad recalled a pen of puppies and found her there! Her first job was cleaning cages and feeding/walking animals. Worked up to being a vet tech. Almost all of her pets have been rescue animals. When she sees an animal in need or an animal finds its way to her, she does everything she can to rescue that animal and place it in a better situation. Says she: "I can't look a hurting animal in the eyes and not help. I believe we should all help those in bad situations through no fault of their own. I was born loving animals and lucky for me, they love me back!"
Jennifer Berdetta: vocalist and devoted animal lover. For over 20 years has donated proceeds from her concerts to benefit various rescue groups. Since 2008 has found her home volunteering for The Last Resort Rescue NJ by heading fundraising efforts and taking charge of donation correspodence. Organized The Last Resort's first super-huge TrickyTray/dinner last year, which was a howling success! Her beloved kitty Cedric inspired her to open the online bakery "Cedric's Cupboard." [Remember those delicious homemade pet treats Cedric put in last year's Pets & Heroes doggy bags?] Proceeds from Cedric's baking go to The Last Resort. Is not ready to attend this year's event due to the death of her beloved Cedric.
Judi-Lee Schmitt: Also known as Lee Meredith, glamorous actress in commercials and movies like "The Producers" and "The Sunshine Boys." A longtime resident of Bergen County and an animal lover who will do almost anything (dive under trucks, climb trees, work all night) to give feral, stranded, and/or homeless cats a new and better life. She and her actor friend, Josip Elic ("One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest" and "Pocketful of Miracles"), have been rescuing cats (and helping others do the same) for the past 30 years, and 18 years of T-N-R with the help of the Humane Society in NY and Peace Plantation in Walton, NY. Recently enjoyed a stay at the Best Friends Sanctuary in Utah. Is unable to attend because of her commitment to the animals, which includes her Mama Chick Pet Care service--among the best you can find anywhere. She and her producer/director husband, Bert Stratford, are also dog lovers (with a rescue of their own) and are active supporters of both Dogfest and Pets & Heroes.