From left to right: Aaron Wheatley, Loudoun County Animal Control and Rodney Taylor, associate director of Animal Services Management for Prince George’s County and chair of the Animal Services Committee.
The Washington region’s outstanding animal services professionals were honored at the third annual Animal Services Awards program today at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG).
Liz Crenshaw, NBC 4 News Consumer reporter, hosted the event in its third consecutive year. Plaques were awarded to recipients in 15 categories including the Animal Control Officer/Humane Officer Award, Humane Education Award, and the Animal Rescue Awards.
Chris Schindler of the Washington Humane Society was awarded the Animal Control Officer/Humane Officer award for responding to almost 1500 complaints of animal cruelty and neglect, as well as rescuing injured animals. Sarah Mark, an editor of the Animal Watch column at The Washington Post received the Humane Education Award for providing a venue for distributing information on programs at local shelters. Montgomery County Police Officer Douglas Tressler received the Wildlife Animal Rescue Award for rescuing a dark bay horse that had fallen through a swimming pool cover on the deep end of a swimming pool.
The committee added a new category this year to honor leadership in the animal care service. Kay Speerstra, Executive Director of the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, won the Leadership Award for increasing the League's visibility in the metropolitan region.
“Since joining her organization in 2002, Kay has overseen major changes in their policies and procedures,” said Susan Sherman, a manager at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. “She has increased the shelter’s participation in the local animal welfare community, and enhanced the relationship between the shelter and the County government.”
Elected officials from local, state and federal branches of governments were nominated. Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA) won the Elected Official of the Year Award for spearheading the reformation of the Emergency Assistance Act. In order for a planning agency to receive Federal Emergency Management Agency funding under this new law, it must include provisions for companion and service animals in their plans.
“The significance of this awards ceremony is to recognize the hard work that animal service professionals provide for the animals in our region,” said Rodney Taylor, associate director of Animal Services Management for Prince George’s County and chair of the Animal Services Committee. “They work tirelessly and spend countless hours for the safety and livelihood of the animals.”
Since 2000, COG’s Animal Services Committee has provided the animal services community with an opportunity to meet and address regional animal care and protection issues as well as public safety and health concerns. It has worked on a dangerous dog ordinance, animal disaster planning, and the reduction of wildlife-vehicle collisions. This year’s awards were sponsored by COG, The Humane Society of the United States, and The American Humane Association.
COG ANIMAL SERVICES AWARD WINNERS------
2006 Domestic Animal Rescue Award:
Aaron Wheatley, Loudoun County Animal Care and Control
2006 Wildlife Animal Rescue Award:
Earit Powell III, Fairfax County Police, Animal Services Division
2006 Farm Animal Rescue Award
Douglas Tressler, Montgomery County Police Department Animal Services Division
2006 Administrative/Customer Service Award:
Ann Beam, Animal Welfare League of Arlington
2006 Adoption Award:
Jenny Swiggart, Loudoun County Animal Care and Control
2006 Animal Care Award:
Animal Care Team, Loudoun County Animal Care and Control
2006 Animal Control Officer Award:
Chris Schindler and Timothy Moyer, Washington Humane Society
2006 Community Partnership Award:
Julia Eichhorst, Greenbelt Homes, Inc., Board of Directors
2006 Dedicated Service Award:
Anne M. Lewis, Washington Humane Society
2006 Humane Education Award:
Sarah Mark and Animal Watch Editors, The Washington Post
2006 Elected Official of the Year:
The Honorable Ted Stevens, (R-AK) and Congressman Tom Lantos, (D-CA)
2006 Volunteer of the Year Award:
Jamie Nicholas, Animal Welfare League of Arlington
2006 Wildlife Rehabilitator Award:
Barbara Prescott, Independent Wildlife Rehabilitator
2006 Leadership Award:
Kay Speerstra, Animal Welfare League of Arlington
2006 Veterinarian of the Year Award:
Dr. Brock McGee, Washington Humane Society
More information about the Animal Services Committee, including the Annual Animal Service Award, is available at http://www.mwcog.org.