Fighting for animals, people and the environment... since 1983

Marilyn Kroplick MD is president of In Defense of Animals, a board-certified psychiatrist, and award-winning socio-political photographer.

Since 2011, Dr. Kroplick has led In Defense of Animals’ powerful campaigns to end the dog meat trade, advocate for elephants, strengthen animal cruelty laws, and save animals in need around the world. Her groundbreaking program to mentor and support animal activists marries support for humans and animals alike.

Her passion for animal rights was ignited in 2002 after purchasing a puppy from a pet store who became terribly sick. Dr. Kroplick’s fight for justice led her to discover the system of abuse that brings puppies to pet stores, and successfully expose and shut down the offending pet store.

Dr. Kroplick is using her extensive expertise to build a supportive and inclusive social change movement to achieve animal liberation through sustainable activism.

Matthew Hamity
Director of Campaigns and Legislative Affairs

Matthew has worked to protect the rights and welfare of animals for over a decade, beginning as an adoption counselor at local animal shelters. More recently, as an animal rights attorney and a graduate of Berkeley Law, Matthew has advocated for animals in courtrooms and capitol buildings across the country. As Director of Campaigns and Legislative Affairs for In Defense of Animals, Matthew draws upon his knowledge of animal law and policy to build a kinder, fairer world for animals.

Lisa Levinson
Sustainable Activism Campaign Director

Lisa Levinson directs In Defense of Animals' Sustainable Activism Campaign, which offers emotional and spiritual support for animal activists via a helpline, support groups, and online events. Lisa organizes Vegan Spirituality groups and retreats to explore veganism as a spiritual practice. She co-founded Public Eye: Artists for Animals to teach compassion for animals through the arts and founded the Toad Detour to help migrating toads safely cross the road in Philadelphia.

Doll Stanley
Justice for Animals Campaign Director

Doll leads the Justice for Animals Campaign to seek justice for animals who fall victim of violence and abuse. For 23 years, Doll has worked in Mississippi in tandem with Hope Animal Sanctuary, and has rescued literally thousands of animals during that time. Doll works with legislators to strengthen laws, bring abusers to justice, build coalitions to help animals, educate law enforcement, work alongside humane organizations, and inspire the public to demand animals be treated with respect. Protecting animals and people has been Doll's calling since childhood. She considers there to be no area of animal protection that she is not passionate about.

Eric Phelps
Community Cats Project Manager

Eric has worked in animal welfare all of his adult life. Cat rescue has been a passion of his since 2005 and he has worked extensively on feral cat issues and trap-neuter-return (TNR). Vegan for 20 years, he lives in North Carolina with his eight rescue cats and fosters many feral and semi-social cats.

Nadia Schilling
Farmed Animals Campaign Director

Nadia directs In Defense of Animals’ Farmed Animals Campaign which works to protect farmed animals by lobbying for legal change, pressuring major food supply chains, leading investigations, and public awareness initiatives. Nadia has applied her education in business and marketing across a variety of sectors; from small engineering start-ups to the largest distributors in the film industry. She is thrilled to use her background in service of animals, the environment, and the future of food.

Ginger Fedak
Wild Horse and Burro Project Director

A lifelong animal advocate, Ginger followed two separate career paths. As a microbiologist, she worked in the private sector in research and development, clinical trials, and technical support. Her B.S. in Range Animal Science allows her knowledge of horses and range management to be utilized in both her teaching career for horse-related lessons, including Natural Horsemanship, and in her long-time wild horse and burro advocacy. She now brings the experience from both careers to the In Defense of Animals Wild Horse and Burro Project.

Will Anderson
Elephant Campaign Coordinator

Will’s lifetime of campaign management and advocacy is driven by compassion. He has used his undercover investigations, lobbying, issues research, formal reviews of environmental impact statements and direct action to stop harm against others. Will strives to make sure that no individual, species or ecosystem is left behind and unprotected. Because human behavior is the key to every issue confronting us, he believes we underestimate our personal power to create justice for all beings.

Laura Bridgeman
Cetacean Project Director; Elephant Campaign Director (Acting)

Laura's lifelong interest in animal activism has been driven by questions regarding humanity’s fraught relationship with “nature”. She directs In Defense of Animals' cetacean project that focuses on preventing dolphin and whale abuse, whether in captivity or the wild. Laura has worked with wild dolphins, witnessed the notorious dolphin-killing cove in Japan and has presented her work at numerous institutions around the world.

Julie Massa
Wild Animal Project Manager

From a very young age, Julie has been captivated by the intricate beauty of our planet and the extraordinary animals that inhabit it. Julie leads the Wild Animals Campaign to increase awareness of current issues that threaten wild animal populations and ways to take action.

With her background in biology and teaching, Julie works to educate people about the direct and indirect consequences of human activities that impact wild animals such as hunting, animal agriculture, habitat loss, pollution and climate change. She also initiates efforts to call upon key political decision makers to enact legislation that will improve and protect the lives of wild animals and their habitats to ensure their survival into future generations.

Debbie Clark
Hope Animal Sanctuary Director
Sudnya Patkar
IDA India Founder and Hon. Secretary
Sharon Stone
Hope Animal Sanctuary Operations Manager
Fleur Dawes
Communications Director

Fleur Dawes is an experienced communications expert who has worked in the animal sector since 2004. She leads In Defense of Animals to grow the organization's profile, gain media exposure for our campaigns, garner celebrity relationships, and often appears on TV, radio or at events to speak on behalf of animals. Fleur decided to stop eating animals at just two years old. Animal liberation is her ultimate goal.

Anita Carswell
Communications Manager and Director of Merchandising
Erica Calderon
Development Coordinator

Erica Calderon manages In Defense of Animals’ monthly giving program Animal Advocates. She joined the animal rights movement in 2009 when she made the choice to leave animals off her plate and adopt a vegan lifestyle. She began her career with In Defense of Animals in 2015 and since then has become a valuable member of the Development department. Erica’s compassion for animals and educational background provide her with the necessary skills to help grow the organization. Erica’s favorite part of her job is speaking with our wonderful supporters who share the same compassion! When she leaves the office, Erica goes home to her three rescued companions, Clash, Edgar, and Edmund.

Nicole Otoupalik
Vice President of Leadership Giving

Nicole Otoupalik is a California licensed attorney who has been working in the non-profit sector since 2000, handling all aspects of charitable planning and major gifts for In Defense of Animals. During this time she has advised hundreds of individuals as to how they might leave legacies that will benefit animals. Prior to her non-profit work, Nicole practiced law and specialized in trusts and estates. She moved to Orange County in 1998 and lives in Tustin with her husband, Brad and son, Christian. They share their home with their rescued animals: Norman (pictured), and their two cats Achilles and Petra.


Bob Price
Development Director

Bob comes to In Defense of Animals as a mechanical engineer and military veteran with 20+ years of operational and fundraising experience promoting emphasis on data driven processes and analytics. Bob’s unique training and experience as an engineer, military veteran, and graduate of Naval Nuclear Power School paired with his lifelong love for all animals has helped to provide IDA with a distinct set of tools allowing us to engage with our donors and supporters with efficiency and compassion. Leaving behind careers in industry and academia, Bob is working with IDA to be the force for change we all want to see in the world.

Itamar Bikszer
IT Specialist

Itamar is an experienced IT specialist with many years of experience in multiple areas of web and mobile technology. His love of all animals brought him here, to In Defense of Animals, many years ago, and this love and working as part of an amazing team has kept him here.

Mark Davey
Development Associate

Mark Davey is a mark-of-many-trades with experience in operations, communications, and writing across a variety of mediums. His empathy for animals was evident at the early age of four, when he penned his magnum opus The Tremendously Tall Tale of Genevieve the Giraffe, which tragically remains unpublished. Finally, in a rare expression of earnestness, he would like to mention his non-human companion, a cat named Kat, and his late canine companion, Shadow, whom he misses very dearly indeed.

Melissa Flower
Administrative and Membership Assistant; Bay Area Volunteer Coordinator
Sage Jackson
Membership Manager
Glory Katz
Accounting Manager
Victoria Norton
Human Resources Director

After many years of work with creative organizations in San Francisco’s corporate world, Victoria Norton was determined to refocus her HR expertise and B.S. in Business Administration with a non-profit that could benefit from her skills. In April 2017, IDA was searching for part-time assistance to write job descriptions and organize the department, and Victoria became a part of the team. As Director of Human Resources, Victoria's biggest challenge and greatest joy is recruiting excellent candidates to fill the varied roles at IDA and become a part of our family!

Alyson Burton
Julia Jiang
Hannah Williams
Roisin Mulligan

Our Founder

Dr. Elliot Katz DVM founded In Defense of Animals in 1983.

In early 1983, veterinarian Dr. Elliot Katz was contacted by animal activists and discovered scandalous conditions inside UC Berkeley’s animal laboratories — an event that changed animal protection history. Living in cramped and filthy facilities, animals were sick and dying while campus veterinarians were prevented from providing treatment to those in need.

Dr. Katz formed Californians for Responsible Research, which filed a lawsuit against USDA, forcing them to issue a cease and desist order against UC Berkeley. Ultimately, Berkeley was fined $12,000 for violating the Animal Welfare Act. Californians for Responsible Research was renamed In Defense of Animals, and for over 33 years it has become a force to reckon with — foremost in animal advocacy.

Dr. Katz today advises the organization as President Emeritus, while Dr. Marilyn Kroplick, a medical doctor and psychiatrist, serves as President.