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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
Toni Frohoff PhD
Elephant & Cetacean Scientist, and Elephant Campaign Director

Toni Frohoff, PhD is a wildlife behavioral-biologist who has studied the lives, loves, and liberties of cetaceans and elephants for 30 years. She specializes in the study of interspecies psychology, ecology, and wellbeing of nonhuman animals in the wild and captivity. Dr. Frohoff spearheads In Defense of Animals’ Elephant and Cetacean campaigns, exposing the conflict between captivity and conservation, and championing the psychological, ecological, cultural, and physical well-being of elephants and cetaceans.

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 be able to use her background in service of animals, the environment, and the future of food. Nadia has devoted both her professional and personal life to animals.

Charlotte Roe
Wild Horse and Burro Project Director

From an early age, Charlotte believed that animals have worlds of knowledge to impart. As an environmental policy officer and science attache in the foreign service, Charlotte sought to practice the adage that "peace is respect for the rights of others," including all sentient beings. After becoming guardian to a mini-herd of wild mustangs and burros, she felt propelled to defend these beleaguered, noble equines on the range, in captivity, and in the halls of Congress, where she now advocates for equines on behalf of In Defense of Animals.

Will Anderson
Elephant Campaign Assistant

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

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.

Jennifer Kanady
Break the Chains Project Director

Jennifer Kanady campaigns for stronger nationwide legislation to end the epidemic of man's best friend suffering and dying on the end of chains. Jennifer cares for all animals but canines in particular, and is working to reduce the long-term suffering they are subject to. In addition to chained dogs, Jennifer is passionate about working to stop deplorable puppy mills, dog fighting, and dogs being left to die in hot cars.

 
SANCTUARIES
Sheri Speede DVM
IDA Africa Director

Veterinarian Sheri Speede founded and continues to direct IDA-Africa and our programs in Cameroon, including Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue, a sanctuary for chimpanzees rescued from the bushmeat and live infant trades.

Debbie Clark
Hope Animal Sanctuary Director
Sudnya Patkar
IDA India Founder and Hon. Secretary
Sharon Stone
Hope Animal Sanctuary Operations Manager
Vivienne Choudhury
IDA India President
 
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 and Director of Merchandising
Erica Calderon
Development Assistant

Erica Calderon manages Animal Advocates monthly giving program, supporting In Defense of Animals donors whose vital contributions ensure our life-saving work continues. When Clash and Erica aren't at work, they love to curl up on the couch with a good comic book and some yummy vegan food! Erica has been part of the animal rights movement since 2009 and since then has rescued three companion animals: Clash (pictured), and two kitties, Edgar and Edmond.

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 Manager
Adam Kennedy
Audiovisual and Graphics Manager

Adam Kennedy is a multifaceted producer who joined In Defense of Animals to build on the media produced by the organization. Adam has held various roles in all phases of the production process and throughout his career has worked with a plethora public figures including Hunter Pence, Chuck D, and ?uestlove of The Legendary Roots. In generating content, Adam hopes to spread the mission of IDA to new and retained audiences by giving a glimpse of the important work we do for animals. A constant student of film, when not on set, editing, or creating graphics, Adam is watching movies of all genres for inspiration.

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.

Heather Herrell
Major Gifts Officer

An animal activist and development professional, Heather joined In Defense of Animals in 2016. She brings with her nearly 20 years of fundraising experience in the nonprofit sector and a passion for making a difference. When not raising vital funds to help animals, Heather enjoys dancing, snuggling with her rescued kitty Nigel, and delicious vegan food.

Alyson Burton
Creative Consultant

Alyson Burton is an experienced designer and creative leader in the vegan community both through her own vegan creative firm, Firm Tofu, and through her work with In Defense of Animals. She established the brand identity for Carnivores Anonymous and continues to help people on their plant-based journey while leading the pioneering 12 Step support program. Alyson's passion is to do all she can for the animals, through her creative work, volunteer work, and activism.

 
FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION
Melissa Flower
Administrative and Membership Assistant; Bay Area Volunteer Coordinator
Sage Jackson
Membership Manager
Glory Katz
Accounting Manager
Stephanie Gonzalez
State Registration and Administrative Assistant
Victoria Norton
Human Resources Specialist

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.