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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.

 
CAMPAIGNS AND PROJECTS
Alicia Graef
Guardian Campaigner; Dog Meat Campaigner
Doll Stanley
Senior Campaigner, Justice for Animals

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.

Ginger Fedak
Senior Campaigner, Wild Horses & Burros

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.

Lisa Levinson
Campaigns Director; Sustainable Activism Campaign Director; Wild Animals Campaigner

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.

Brittany Michelson
Captive Animals Campaigner

Brittany Michelson is a dedicated animal rights activist, a writer, and a former teacher. Her writings appear in multiple online journals/ literary sites and her first book, Voices for Animal Liberation: Inspirational Accounts by Animal Rights Activists, was published in March 2020. Brittany's passions include activism, animal rescue (especially turtles & tortoises), nature, hiking, and travel. After holding a career in teaching, she joined the IDA team in November 2021 as the Captive Animals Campaigner, where she is in charge of campaigns and advocacy work for animals who are exploited for entertainment in the zoo/ circus/ marine park industries, the pet trade, etc. Also in November 2021 she and her animal companions relocated from the Los Angeles area to Tucson, Arizona. She plans to have a sanctuary for turtles and tortoises on her property.

Katie Nolan
General Campaigner

It all started when Katie asked where chicken nuggets come from at the age of 4. The rest is history, and She has been dedicated to the animal rights movement ever since. 

Katie’s campaign responsibilities at IDA are varied, but with an emphasis on companion animals and wild animals. She has a Master’s degree in Environmental Law and Policy, and her background includes direct animal care, legislative work, and research and writing.

Katie is an avid runner and world traveler and loves to host vegan dinner parties. She can usually be found feeding the neighborhood ant colonies, snuggling her foster animals, or helping amphibians safely cross the road.

 
SANCTUARIES
Debbie Clark
Hope Animal Sanctuary Director
Sudnya Patkar
IDA India Founder and Hon. Secretary
Sharon Stone
Hope Animal Sanctuary Operations Manager
 
COMMUNICATIONS AND DEVELOPMENT
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
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.

Mark Davey
Audiovisual Producer, Media Coordinator & Merchandise Manager

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.

Mary Essency
Membership

Mary is pursuing a master's degree in Anthrozoology and lives with her husband and two cats. As an animal lover and advocate, Mary changed careers after 11 years working as an engineer to work for In Defense of Animals.

Melissa Flower
Accounts Receivable Admin

Melissa works at IDA’s main office in accounts receivable and membership. She initially got involved in animal work through volunteering for the Fund for Animals while getting her degree in Speech and Communications, and later worked at two Bay Area animal shelters as volunteer, outreach, and media coordinator. In her off time, she has fun with her dog, Roger, performs with a radio theater company, and pursues musical interests.

Sage Jackson
Accounts Receivable & Membership Manager

Sage is IDA's Accounts receivable and Membership Manager, with a focus on donor relations. Sage's role at IDA is to supervise and ensure accurate invoicing, oversee and implement efficient processes and procedures, manage current membership accounts and provide high-quality interactions with donors that foster long-term support.

Sage has been a lifelong animal lover, spending her childhood taking care of the neighborhood animals. This connection with animals strengthened her deep love, empathy and compassion for them and at the age of 12 she decided to become a vegetarian. A few years later, after learning more about the atrocities in the meat and dairy industry, she decided to become vegan and has been an animal activist ever since.

Sage feels very fortunate to work for IDA and be surrounded by people whose passion for animals is comparable to her own.

In her spare time, Sage enjoys spending time with her family, going for walks with her chihuahua, Lily, watching animal rescue videos and cooking vegan food.

 
FINANCE AND HUMAN RESOURCES
Jane Elizabeth
Human Resource Director

Jane Elizabeth is a coach and mentor with an extensive background in corporate human resource management, a Master’s degree in HR, and a lifelong passion for animal welfare including rescuing, fostering, and re-homing companion animals. Using her own transformation story as a catalyst for conversation, she often speaks about the power of choosing a compassionate, cruelty free, vegan lifestyle. Her health and fitness journey has been featured in multiple forums including events, global media outlets, & written publications, which continues to inspire people to choose compassion and take animals off their plates.

 
PARTNERS AND COLLABORATORS
Hannah Williams
Graphic Designer

Hannah has always had two main passions, art and animals. Growing up she spent her days in her rural hometown rescuing and rehabilitating wild birds, wild chipmunks, and stray cats. While in college studying graphic design she decided to focus on using her design skills to help animals. Since then she has been successful in doing most of her design work for animal rights organizations and vegan businesses. Hannah moved to Los Angeles in 2016 and resides there with her husband, Korey and their three rescue cats, Odette, Nagini, and Annabelle.

Jack Gescheidt
Campaign Director - Point Reyes Tule Elk

Jack is a lifelong animal and nature lover.

A seasoned environmental activist for trees and forests with his TreeSpirit Project, Jack hosted a screening of Cowspiracy in 2014. Better late than never, he finally made the connections between deforestation, animal objectification and cruelty, the meat and milk and fishing industries, and global warming. Today Jack works to dramatize and publicize these same global issues at Point Reyes National Seashore, his backyard San Francisco Bay Area National Park, where rare Tule elk are imprisoned and/or killed for the cattle industry. He considers the Seashore's magnificent Tule elk the canaries-in-the-climate-crisis-coal-mine.

Jack makes sure to balance the challenges and intensity of animal and environmental advocacy with enjoying time in the natural world, among Earth’s precious wild animals.

Natasha Cuculovski
Communications Consultant

Natasha is half of That Vegan Couple, a powerhouse animal rights activist team whose videos have racked up millions of views.

Based in Eastern Australia, Natasha creates In Defense of Animals' compelling videos, manages Instagram and TikTok, and connects with influencers and celebrities to drive our mission home to the world.

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 passed away in March, 2021. Learn more about how this animal rights trailblazer changed the world for animals.