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

Presented by:
Sheltering Animals of Abuse Victims (SAAV)



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. Patricia 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, 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. For more information about dog training classes and behavior consultations in the Madison, WI area, go to 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.


Diane Balkin

Diane Balkin is a senior staff attorney for ALDF’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.


Bob Schwalb

Bob Schwalb teaches humane education programs for HEART 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.


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.


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.


Pamela Hart

Pamela Hart oversees ALDF’s programs dedicated to the development of animal law in academia and legal practice. These programs include supporting over 184 Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF) chapters, managing ALDF’s extensive Attorney Volunteer Network, and partnering with firms and attorneys interested in developing animal law opportunities with ALDF. Additionally, she was a Lecturer of Animal Law at the University of Chicago Law School for three years. Pam also helped launch the collaboration between ALDF and Lewis & Clark Law School to produce the first-of-its-kind Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS). As a world-class animal law program, the Center for Animal Law Studies provides essential programs and services for law students under the guidance of experienced animal law professors and ALDF attorneys.

Prior to joining ALDF, Pam was in private practice and co-taught the first animal law course at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While in law school, she cofounded Sheltering Animals of Abuse Victims (SAAV), a nonprofit animal protection organization dedicated to recognizing the role of animals in family violence. Pam is a frequent writer and speaker on animal law related issues, and has testified on a congressional panel regarding a federal Farm Animals Anti-Cruelty Act. She is frequently invited to be a guest judge at the National Animal Law Competition- most recently held at UCLA and Harvard Law Schools. Pam recently co-authored Animal Law—New Perspectives on Teaching Traditional Law published by Carolina Academic Press.


Tess Meuer

Tess Meuer is a 1983 graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School.  She is Director of Justice Systems at End Domestic Abuse — the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WCADV).  She teaches Law and Contemporary Problems:  Domestic Violence at the University Wisconsin Law School and has taught Family Issues Workshop:  Domestic Violence at Marquette University Law School.  Ms. Meuer is a frequent lecturer and instructor on legal issues affecting victims of domestic violence.  She is the author of many articles about legal issues affecting domestic violence victims in state and national journals and publications. In 2004, the State Bar’s Public Interest Law Section awarded Ms. Meuer the Dan Tuchscherer Memorial Award for her work in the field of domestic violence.


Mallory Saurer

Mallory Saurer, Training and Education Coordinator at Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS). 

Mallory's role at DAIS is to design, implement, and evaluate trainings on topics such as Domestic Violence 101, Trauma Informed Care, and Healthy Relationships. She trains health care providers, police, and other professionals who work with survivors of domestic violence. She also has the pleasure of working with young people through classroom presentations and as a facilitator of MENS (Men Encouraging Nonviolent Strength). MENS is a preventative program which encourages young men to examine their power and privilege and actively work toward ending gender-based violence.

Before coming to DAIS, Mallory was a teacher for the Madison Metropolitan School District where she taught in traditional and alternative high schools. Recently, she has worked for the Northside Planning Council as a Neighborhood Navigator.


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. Yvonne Bellay manages animal welfare programs for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, where she is also an epidemiologist.  She  oversees the department’s training and certifcation of local humane ofcers, and its dog seller and rabies control programs. In addition, 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.