The Link Between Family Violence & Animal Cruelty:  A Community-Wide Approach to Breaking the Cycle of Abuse



Keynote Speaker - Patricia McConnell, Ph.D.

Patricia McConnell, Ph.D., a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB), has made a lifelong commitment to improving the relationship between people and animals. She is known worldwide as an expert on canine and feline behavior and dog training, and for her engaging and knowledgeable dog training books, DVDs and seminars. Dr. McConnell has seen clients for serious behavioral problems since 1988, and is an Adjunct Professor in Zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, teaching "The Biology and Philosophy of Human/Animal Relationships." For fourteen years she dispensed advice about behavior problems, and information about animal behavior research, on Wisconsin Public Radio's Calling All Pets, which was heard in over 110 cities around the country.

A highly-sought after speaker on dog behavior and training, Dr. McConnell has presented seminars all over the United States, and in Canada, Germany, Australia, Sweden, Belgium, Scotland and New Zealand.

She is the author of the much-acclaimed books The Other End of the Leash (which is now published in 13 languages), For the Love of A Dog: Understanding Emotions in You and Your Best Friend and Tales of Two Species. Her self-published books and booklets on dog training and dog and cat behavior problems continually receive rave reviews from professional trainers, veterinarians and animal lovers from all over the world. Dr. McConnell was also the behavior columnist for The Bark magazine, "the New Yorker of Dog Magazines," and writes for many other publications, including APDT's Chronicle of the Dog and Natural History. She has made numerous television appearances, including spots with Anderson Cooper on CNN, Martha Stewart, and Wayne Brady.

Patricia received her Ph.D. in Zoology in 1988 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison researching dog behavior and communication between professional trainers and working domestic animals. Her dissertation received the prestigious Allee Award from the Animal Behavior Society in that same year. Patricia and Nancy Raffetto founded Dog's Best Friend, Ltd in 1988. Dog's Best Friend Training, LLC is now owned and operated by Aimee Moore of Madison, WI.

Patricia has three dogs, two cats, and a very spoiled flock of sheep on a small farm in Southwestern Wisconsin. Her Border Collies, Willie and Maggie, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Tootsie, keep her outside and active, and the memories of her beloved Great Pyrenees, Tulip, keep her humble. Trisha suffers from Separation Anxiety each time she leaves her dogs at home when she leaves on her numerous speaking engagements around the country.


Phil Arkow

Phil Arkow is coordinator of the National Link Coalition – the National Resource Center on The Link between Animal Abuse and Human Violence – and editor of its monthly LINK-Letter. He chairs the Latham Foundation’s Animal Abuse and Family Violence Prevention Project. He teaches Animal Abuse and Human Violence at the University of Florida and Animal-Assisted Therapy at Harcum and Camden County Colleges. He trains internationally and has authored or edited over 60 key reference works in human-animal interactions and violence prevention. He has founded and served with a dozen national and state veterinary, animal welfare, human-animal bond, and criminal justice organizations.


Diane Balkin

Diane Balkin is a senior staff attorney for Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Criminal Justice Program. She began her career as a prosecutor in the Denver District Attorney’s Office in 1979, where she has worked for the last 32 years. When she retired from the DA’s office on July 15, 2011, Diane was the Chief Deputy District Attorney (trial attorney) where she prosecuted all types of felonies (including homicides) and supervised a team of junior lawyers and support staff. Diane also served as the “animal crimes” prosecutor in her office where she demonstrated time and time again her commitment to ensuring both an effective investigation and an aggressive prosecution of every animal cruelty case within her jurisdiction.

Prior to becoming Chief Deputy, Diane served as the director of the Complex Prosecution Division where she was the legal advisor to the Denver County Statutory Grand Jury and she supervised the investigation and prosecution of crimes committed against the elderly. She has also served as the director of the Juvenile Division and the Domestic Violence Unit. Diane was appointed to the Colorado State Board of Veterinary Medicine in June 2001 and served on the Board for 8 years. She received her J.D. in 1977 from the University of Denver and is a nationally ranked lecturer on animal cruelty investigations and prosecutions with a strong emphasis on training veterinarians.


Yvonne M Bellay, DVM, MS

Yvonne M Bellay, DVM, MS - Animal Welfare Programs Manager/Epidemiologist at Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.  Dr. Bellay oversees the department’s training and certifcation of local humane officers, and its dog seller and rabies control programs. In addition, Dr. Bellay deals with zoonotic disease and public health issues, serving as the department’s liaison with state and local public health departments. Dr. Bellay also acts as a resource to local authorities in investigating and resolving local animal welfare complaints.


Tony Wilkin Gibart

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Tony Wilkin Gibart currently works as the Associate Director of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin (End Abuse). In that role, he provides leadership to the organization’s efforts to support, to educate and to represent local domestic abuse victim advocates. Previously, Tony was the Public Policy Director at End Abuse. In that role, he worked to ensure passage of a number of legislative proposals, including firearm safety and fair housing bills, and to significantly increase funding for domestic violence victims services in Wisconsin. He also is an author of the Wisconsin Domestic Violence Homicide Report and a member of the National Network to End Domestic Violence Policy Committee. Tony graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School and earned his B.A. at the University of Chicago.


Eric Holsinger


Eric Holsinger has served as the Foster Programs Coordinator for Dane County Humane Society since the spring of 2015.  In that role, he is the primary contact at DCHS for foster parents volunteering for the SAAV Program (SAAV’s shelter program for the pets of victims of domestic abuse in Dane County, Wisconsin). 

Eric has been with DCHS for more than five years. He was previously with the reception team at DCHS.

Eric graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in History. He also received a degree in education from Edgewood College. Eric has spent most of his working life in customer service and education before jumping into animal welfare. 


Joseph S. Goode


Joseph S. Goode is the Managing Partner of Laffey, Leitner & Goode LLC (LLG). He approaches client problems with passion and intensity as if those problems were his own. The day he graduated from Syracuse University College of Law, Joe received the George and Evelyn Marcus Award for being the graduate who best demonstrated the qualities of good judgment, ambition, understanding, compassion, and an appreciation of learning. It was an honor, but also an early indicator. In the more than two storied decades since, those exact qualities have become synonymous with Joe. They’ve not only contributed to his countless successes as an attorney both inside and out of the courtroom, but also to the standards by which he sets professionally for those he works with at LLG.

As the last of five children, he honed his advocacy skills early in life and became very good at letting people know where he stands. He’s a tireless leader who is intense and demanding (mostly of himself). He maintains an exacting eye of an old-school newsroom editor. Joe’s joie de vivre is infectious to everyone around him, and his passion for people is routinely used to speak for those who require his advocacy.
Joe is an animal lover and the Mayor of LLG’s Dog Community (LLG is the only law firm in Milwaukee promoting a dog friendly work environment). His beloved boxer, Greta, is an office fixture. Joe is married to Dina and is active in the Milwaukee community. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Dane County Humane Society and serves as its President.


Pamela Hart


Pamela Hart co-founded Sheltering Animals of Abuse Victims with law school friend and colleague, Megan A. Senatori, in 2001. She currently serves as a Board Member/Secretary. Additionally, Pam is director of Strategic Initiatives at the Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS) at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. Pam has an extensive background in Animal Law including helping to launch CALS as a collaboration between Lewis & Clark Law School and Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) in 2008. At the time, it was the first-of-its-kind animal law comprehensive program of studies. Along with co-founder, Megan Senatori, she was the first person to teach an Animal Law course at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as well as the University of Chicago Law School. Prior to joining CALS, she directed the Animal Law Program at the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), supporting over 200 Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF) chapters, managing an extensive Attorney Volunteer Network, and partnering with firms and attorneys.

Pam is a frequent writer and speaker on animal law related issues, including co-authoring Animal Law - New Perspectives on Teaching Traditional Law, a legal casebook published by Carolina Academic Press. She has been featured for her work in multiple regional and national publications, including O Magazine, USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, Dallas Morning News, Baltimore Sun, Houston Chronicle, Raleigh News & Observer, Washington Lawyer and the National Jurist.


Lindsey Ludden

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Lindsey Ludden is a detective with the City of Madison Police Department.  She started her career with the police department in 2006 as a patrol officer and was promoted to detective in 2012.  Det. Ludden has sought out training opportunities related to animal abuse and neglect investigations.  She is often assigned to the cases involving animal victims that occur across the City of Madison.  Prior to being hired by the Madison Police Department Det. Ludden attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. 


Mallory Saurer


Mallory Sauer is the Training and Education Coordinator at Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS). Mallory's role at DAIS is to design, facilitate, and evaluate trainings on domestic violence, trauma informed care, healthy relationships, etc.  She educates health care providers, police, and other professionals who work with survivors of domestic violence. She also is continuing her work with young people through classroom presentations on teen dating violence and as a facilitator of Men Encouraging Nonviolent Strength. MENS is a prevention program which encourages young men to examine their power and privilege and actively work toward ending gender-based violence.


Bob Schwalb


Bob Schwalb teaches humane education programs for Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers in Madison, WI area schools. From 2005-2013 he initially served as HEART's first humane education instructor in New York and later as Chicago Program Director. In addition to teaching students, he has developed curriculum, offered teacher training, managed staff and volunteers, and established local advisory and junior boards. In addition to his humane education work, Bob also offers mindfulness programs for prison inmates through the Wisconsin Prison Mindfulness Initiative, volunteers for Agrace Hospice, and volunteers for Mercy for Animals. He received his B.S. from DeVry University and his M.Ed. with a focus on Humane Education from Cambridge College.


Megan A. Senatori


Megan A. Senatori co-founded Sheltering Animals of Abuse Victims with law school friend and colleague, Pamela D. Hart, in 2001.  She currently serves as President. Megan oversees SAAV's overall operations and coordinates services between SAAV and its collaborating partners, Domestic Abuse Intervention Services and the Dane County Humane Society.  Megan also oversees SAAV's general operations as well as our foster volunteers.  She is a frequent author and speaker on the link between domestic violence and animal cruelty.  Earlier this year, she was a featured speaker on the link in Vancouver at a joint meeting of the American Bar Association and the Canadian Bar Association.  She has been featured in O Magazine, Brava Magazine, and a variety of other publications for her advocacy work protecting human and animal victims of abuse.   She annually trains Wisconsin humane officers on Wisconsin animal cruelty law (Chapter 951) and Wisconsin’s civil animal laws (Chapter 173) as part of their certification by the State of Wisconsin through the Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection.  She also regularly works with veterinarians on the link between domestic violence and animal cruelty.

In addition to her volunteer work through SAAV, Megan is also a full time Shareholder at the law firm of DeWitt Ross & Stevens S.C.  where she practices civil litigation.  In January 2015, she was named the Chair of the firm’s Litigation Practice Group.  Megan handles a wide variety of litigation matters, focusing on complex commercial and business disputes, insurance coverage matters on behalf of policyholders, contract disputes, as well as ethics and discipline matters for attorneys and other professionals.  She is also a skilled appellate advocate and has argued cases before the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.  She served as co-author of an amicus brief before the United States Supreme Court on behalf of a group of 53 law professors from across the country to argue that preventing animal cruelty is a compelling governmental interest to be respected by the court, in the case of United States v. Stevens.


John Thompson

John Thompson is the deputy executive director and chief of staff for the National Sheriff’s Association (NSA). Throughout his 44-year career in public safety, he has served as chief of police for Mount Rainier, Maryland, in addition to being a volunteer firefighter, emergency communications operator, and an animal control officer. While in the Army he served as a canine handler and military intelligence officer.

In 2014, John led a movement that established the National Coalition on Violence Against Animals, an independent collective of local, state, and national organizations that focus on animal cruelty and its relationship to other forms of violence. Last September, with support from the National Sheriffs’ Association and other organizations, his successful petition to the FBI to include animal abuse crimes in the Uniform Crime Report means that crimes against animals are now recognized as their own unique category.

John also established the National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse in 2014, a clearinghouse at the National Sheriffs’ Association for law enforcement on all animal abuse issues they may face. Currently, he is working with others to create a top-notch training program for law enforcement, in order to address officer-dog encounters and reduce unnecessary conflicts.

John serves on a variety of state and national boards for law enforcement. He serves on the National Homeland Security Consortium and chairs the Department of Homeland Security Emergency Services Sector Coordinating Council. He is also a member of the FBI, the Criminal Justice Information Advisory Policy Board, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, and the Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery Review Board.