Monday, September 21 and Tuesday, September 22
The Casino at Lakemont Park | Altoona, Pennsylvania
Located 2 hours from Pittsburgh and 3 hours from Philadelphia

Monday, September 21 Schedule

  • Registration begins at 8:30am
  • Lunch at 12:30pm
  • Reception begins at 6:30pm

Tuesday, September 22 Schedule

  • Registration begins at 7:30am
  • Lunch at 12:00pm
  • Conference ends at 4:00pm

Your organization’s staff and volunteers can take advantage of three learning and networking opportunities in one regional event, including topics that might otherwise only be accessible at a national conference.  Each attendee can select one of the following topics as the focus of their two days:

  • Training for Humane Society Police Officers (HSPOs)
  • Euthanasia-by-injection certification at 50% or more off the regular class price (limit 25 attendees)
  • Annual conference for shelter staff & volunteers with wide ranging topics such as shelter medicine, animal behavior, customer service, and lobbying.

What’s Included?

  • Legislative overview
  • 2 days of training
  • Exhibitors
  • Buffet lunch
  • Networking opportunities
  • Bus trip to local farm (HSPO track only)
Register Here


The Fear Free Shelter, Dr. Sara Pizano

In this session, Dr. Pizano will discuss the link between Best Practice strategies and providing a Fear Free environment for all pets and how it is achievable for every shelter.

About Dr. Pizano: Dr. Sara Pizano graduated from Columbia University in 1987 with a masters in physiology followed by her DVM degree from Cornell University in 1994. Dr. Pizano has spent her career as a shelter veterinarian and surgeon in non-profit organizations and as director of a large public shelter. Since 2013, Dr. Pizano has developed an effective assessment process for shelters, first with Target Zero and now with her own consulting company, Team Shelter USA. Dr. Pizano is a courtesy faculty member at the University of Florida and oversees the assessment and mentorship program and is an advisor to the Million Cat Challenge. Her new book, The Best Practice Playbook for Animal Shelters has sold almost 2,000 copies in the first year and includes Fear Free tips.

Your Data Counts, Sara Kent

Tell the story of your organization through data. Fuel collaboration near and far by sharing data transparently. Amplify grant requests through comparative local and national data. Even the most basic data collection is valuable in making decisions and measuring success. Your shelter’s data becomes even more powerful when it is part of The National Database from Shelter Animals Count. In this workshop, attendees will learn how to use their data, national shelter data collected by Shelter Animals Count, and other available data sources to empower all aspects of their organization. We will review sample use cases that give both basic and more complex actionable ways to apply data insights using free tools and resources. Shelter Animals Count is an independent, collaborative, first-of-its-kind organization gathering standardized data at local, state and national levels on animal intakes and outcomes in animal shelters. The National Database has data from 2011 – 2020 self-reported by thousands of organizations. Shelter Animals Count provides helpful tools for collecting and viewing data, all free for shelters to use! 

About Sara Kent: Sara Kent is the first Chief Executive Officer of Shelter Animals Count, leading the nonprofit that is home to The National Database of sheltered animal statistics. Before her role at Shelter Animals Count, Sara was one of the first employees at Petfinder where she spent over 17 years leading shelter strategy and communications for the adoption website. As the Director of Shelter Outreach for Petfinder, Sara serves as a board member for the Animal Welfare Federation of New Jersey, a statewide collection of animal welfare professionals working together to improve the lives of animals. She is the founder of FIVER Cats, an online resource dedicated to community cats and FIV+ cats, and a past board member of Tabby’s Place: a Cat Sanctuary. Sara works from her home office in Montclair, New Jersey where she lives with her husband and adopted pets, including two mixed breed dogs; Diamond Shamrock and Linda, two house cats; Mr. Pickwick and Gerald, and a tarantula named 3.

Customer Service for Animal People, Inga Fricke

Most of us work in animal welfare because we’re “animal people”, but if we can’t also meet the needs of people we are certainly hurting our ability to help animals. This workshop explains why even animal people must become “people people,” and provides concrete tools and techniques to help animal welfare professionals hone their people skills to be sure they are achieving their lifesaving mission.

About Inga Fricke: After spending several years as an environmental attorney, in 2001 Inga decided to pursue her passion for animal welfare by accepting leadership positions with private and municipal animal welfare organizations in Ohio and Virginia. In 2010, she joined the Humane Society of the United States, where she worked in various roles to support animal sheltering and rescue professionals and provide resources to pet owners nationwide, most recently helping to launch Spayathon™ for Puerto Rico and leading national trainings for the shelter/rescue community. She currently serves as Director of Community Initiatives for Humane Pennsylvania, and is an adjunct instructor with Canisius College’s Anthrozoology Department. She has served on served on various boards, including Shelter Animals Count and the Smush Foundation, and has authored or contributed to numerous nationally-utilized best practices publications.

The Evolution of Sheltering for Cats – Strategies for Saving #AllTheCats, Cameron Moore

This session will cover everything you need to know about how to solve cat issues in your community. Learn how to productively keep cats out of your shelter while solving constituents complaints, what to do with all of those kittens and how to increase adoptions of the cats who do enter your shelter. Topics will include community cat programs, kitten diversion, safety net for owners having to relinquish their cats,  increasing adoptions and providing a fear free shelter environment to keep cats healthy and happy while in your care.

About Cameron Moore: Cameron oversees shelter engagement for Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program and Million Cat Challenge at the University of Florida. She works directly with shelters to help improve efficiencies and increase lifesaving. Since 2013 she has completed over 75 shelter assessments in 17 states as well as Puerto Rico. Recommendations provided in the assessments are fiscally responsible, address enforcement efficiencies to provide for public and animal safety, productively decrease intake with alternatives to intake, decrease length of stay in the shelter and increase live outcome to end euthanasia as population control. While these assessments address issues relating to both dogs and cats, attention is often focused more on cats since they are still twice as likely to die in shelters than dogs are. Make sure you speak with Cameron if you are ready to elevate your shelter to the next level of lifesaving.

Be Our Guest: You Don’t Need Singing Silverware to Bring in Adopters,  Suzanne D’Alonzo & Leann Quire

Be our guest, be our guest!  “Your adoptions are the best” will be what adopters will say.  This session will highlight many angles that have been proven to work for turning beastly adoption rates into beauties!  We’ll provide research needed to be sure you have the right policies in place.  Plus we’ll share a lively calendar of events your organization can use.

About Suzanne D’Alonzo: Suzanne started in sheltering in 1996 and has filled various roles in animal welfare organizations over the years.  She has worked at shelters in VA and NC, served as a foster for a shelter while in RI, and her work with the Humane Society of the United States granted her the opportunity to connect with shelters across the U.S. Suzanne co-authored the Adopters Welcome materials while at the HSUS, and has presented nationally to bring this flexible approach to adoption to shelters and rescues.  Suzanne earned her degree from Clark University, she’s volunteered in a support role with The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement, and she’s proud to currently work as part of Humane Pennsylvania’s Community Outreach Team.  Her life is shared with family, a dog, a bird, and multiple cats.

About Leann Quire: Leann graduated from York College of Pennsylvania in 2011 where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences.  Leann started her career in animal welfare in 2006 as a volunteer.  She has worked for The Humane Society of Berks County for over 10 years.  In 2017, Leann was promoted to run the overall operations for both The Humane Society of Berks County and The Humane League of Lancaster County.  Leann utilizes her knowledge in animal science and experience in animal welfare to promote and oversee exceptional care for the animals while they are in the shelter.  She hopes to continue to build relationships within the community to promote a better understanding of animal education and lifesaving efforts. Leann shares her home in Antietam with her husband and her adopted family: a Pug/Corgi Mix named Moose; an English Bulldog named Stella; and two cats, Stassi and Rue.

How to Train Your Staff to Succeed with Volunteers, Betsy McFarland

Volunteers have enormous potential to further an organization’s mission. But, successful volunteer engagement requires management team support to integrate volunteers strategically throughout the organization. This lively session will help staff and management better understand their roles in partnering with volunteers and explore strategies for increasing support and deepening volunteer involvement. This session will empower staff to embrace the incredible support volunteers have to offer, understand and assess their role in supervising volunteers, and improve their delegation skills to ensure a strong team effort that meets the organization’s goals.

About Betsy McFarland: Betsy McFarland is a strategist, facilitator, and problem-solver who has forged a unique professional niche focused on empowering staff and volunteers committed to tackling challenging societal issues. She brings 25 years of experience in animal protection, including 18 years at The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) where she served as vice president of the Companion Animals section. During her tenure, Betsy developed programs aimed at keeping pets in homes and increasing adoption of pets from shelters and rescues—including the Pets for Life program which brings spay/neuter and other critical services to underserved communities, and The Shelter Pet Project, a national advertising campaign with the Ad Council and Maddie’s Fund to promote pet adoption. She also led policy campaigns to eliminate gas chamber euthanasia in animal shelters and increase non-lethal solutions for managing cat populations. Passionate about engaging the community, Betsy also has extensive experience growing volunteers within organizations large and small. She is a Certified Animal Welfare Administrator (CAWA) through the Association of Animal Welfare Advancement (AAWA), holds a degree in psychology from George Mason University, and completed Executive Certificates in Facilitation as well as Organizational Consulting and Change Leadership through Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership.

Rabies Aware, Dr. Nathanael Oster & Dr. Elizabeth Santini

This presentation highlights the complicated state regulations for rabies, provides the latest information on rabies in Pennsylvania, and allows for Q&A with a PA Department of Agriculture (state) regional veterinarian.

About Dr. Oster: Dr. Nathanael Oster has 10+ years of emergency, general, and industry experience, serving as a key technical resource to local veterinary practices and the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine as part of the Dean’s Alumni Council. He was a Board Member for Morris Animal Refuge and Chair on their Adoptions and Programs Committee. Dr. Oster takes interest in issues of feline medicine and Lyme disease, and leverages his experience to help practicing veterinarians. Dr. Oster has lectured and served as President of the University of Pennsylvania chapter and National Veterinary Business Associations (VBMA).

About Dr. Santini: Dr. Santini is a Maryland native and received her veterinary degree from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech in 2000.  She worked as an associate veterinarian in mixed-animal practice in central Pennsylvania before accepting a position with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture as a Veterinary Medical Field Officer in 2002.  She lives with her husband, also a veterinarian, and their three children in Bedford County.