About the Instructors



Karla Brestle, DVM

Karla Brestle, DVM

Instructor — Veterinary Student Extern Program
Humane Alliance

Dr. Karla Brestle received a Bachelor of Science degree in Emergency Medical Care from Western Carolina University in 1987 and graduated from North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1993. Following graduation, she spent 3 years in a mixed animal practice in rural NC and developed an interest in shelter medicine which led her to a position as shelter veterinarian for 2 years in central NC.

Dr. Brestle joined Humane Alliance in Asheville, NC in 1998. The mission of Humane Alliance is to provide high quality, high volume, targeted, affordable spay/neuter services as the non-lethal solution for homeless, abandoned, and feral companion animals. Dr. Brestle works for the day that euthanasia is no longer a method of animal control, and believes that pursuing that through the mission of Humane Alliance is, in some small way, her contribution to that end.

While with Humane Alliance she has been the clinic medical director, the medical director of the NSNRT (National Spay/Neuter Response Team), a program developed to teach others to duplicate the HA model and currently is an instructor for the veterinary student extern program. She initiated the spay-neuter summit of 22 veterinarians culminating in the veterinary medical care guidelines for spay-neuter program published in JAVMA in 2008 and is on the steering committee to complete an update of those guidelines.


Cynda Crawford, DVM, PhD

Cynda Crawford, DVM, PhD

Director, Maddie’s® Clinical Assistant Professor of Shelter Medicine
Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida

Dr. Crawford’s interests include diagnosis, treatment, management, and prevention of infectious diseases in dogs and cats in sheltering facilities. Her current focus is the diagnosis of viruses and bacteria that cause acute respiratory infections in dogs in shelters. Dr. Crawford’s accomplishments include discovery of canine influenza virus and evaluation of diagnostic assays for common canine pathogens in animal shelters.


Cynthia Delany, DVM

UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program
Supervising Shelter Veterinarian- Yolo County Animal Services
Executive Director – California Animal Shelter Friends, Inc.

Dr. Delany graduated from UCLA with a degree in Business/Economics in 1993 and from UC Davis with her DVM in 2000. Dr. Delany has worked as an animal shelter veterinarian, high volume spay/neuter veterinarian and an emergency veterinarian for the past 14 years. Initially working for the UC Davis Shelter Medicine Program from 2001 to 2004 at Sacramento County Animal Care and Regulation. Dr. Delany is currently working for the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program as the Supervising Shelter Veterinarian for Yolo County Animal Services (YCAS).

Dr. Delany has been working with YCAS for 4 years, starting many new programs, including programs focusing on improved population management, increasing live release rates and environmental enrichment in the shelter. She has also started a very successful community cats program and a foster care program at YCAS. With the increased focus on live release and population management at YCAS, live release rates have increased during that period from 73% to 91% for dogs and from 30% to 89% for cats (with an even higher increase of 30% to 94% for kittens).

In addition to her work at YCAS, Dr. Delany has helped other shelters with population management, implementing new life saving programs, shelter software use, reporting and statistics. She also runs a private, non-profit rescue group that rescues sick, injured and newborn animals.

When not focusing on saving lives, Dr. Delany enjoys training and competing with her dogs in the sport of dog agility (all rescued dogs of course). She is also an advocate of positive reinforcement based training of all animals and uses these techniques successfully with her own dogs, cats, draft horse, miniature donkeys and Bactrian camels.

Dr. Brian DiGangiBrian DiGangi, DVM, MS, DABVP

Clinical Assistant Professor of Shelter Medicine
Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences
University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. DiGangi is board certified in canine and feline practice and recently completed a three-year residency in shelter animal medicine.  He serves as vice president of the board of directors of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians.  During his veterinary school career, he completed clinical externships in both shelter medicine and exotic animal medicine. As co-founder of the University of Florida Student Chapter of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, he volunteered at the county animal shelter on a regular basis, organized spay-neuter wet labs for students, regularly participated in Operation Catnip, and fostered animals for local rescue organizations.  Dr. DiGangi’s special interests include cleaning and disinfection; high quality, high volume spay-neuter techniques; and enhancing the welfare of animals in shelters.

Nancy Ferguson, DVM

Nancy Ferguson, DVM

Pets ALIVE Spay/Neuter Clinic

Dr. Ferguson completed eight years of general private practice with her husband of twenty-five years. In her ninth year of practice she accepted the opportunity to work with Indiana’s first high-quality, high volume spay/neuter clinic, FACE,Inc. She has spent the last fifteen years involved with participating in and developing effective spay/neuter techniques.

She was a participant in the Association of Shelter Veterinarian’s Task Force to Advance Spay Neuter. She has enjoyed the opportunities to assist in the instruction of several pediatric spay/neuter wet labs.

Recently, she accepted the newly created position of mobile veterinary clinician at Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. This new position will involve the instruction of senior veterinary students performing sterilization surgeries on patients from area shelters in a mobile unit. Her enthusiasm for surgery, coupled with her passion to bring the needs of the unowned to the forefront, have been the driving force in her career.



Brenda Griffin, DVM, MS, DACVIM

Brenda Griffin, DVM, MS, DACVIM

Adjunct Associate Professor of Shelter Medicine
Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program
University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Griffin spent time working in general small animal practice as well as animal shelters before completing a residency in small animal internal medicine in 1999. For the past 15 years, the major focus of her work has surrounded the development of clinical and didactic training programs in Shelter Medicine.

From 2000-2006 she established and directed a feral cat TNR program at Auburn University. In 2006, she became a founding member of the Association of Shelter Veterinarian’s Task Force to Advance Spay Neuter. She currently serves as an adjunct associate professor at UF and as the Regent for the new veterinary specialty in Shelter Medicine within the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners.

Her passions and professional interests surround strategies to keep cats and dogs out of shelters including sterilization methods, behavioral wellness programs, and pet identification. She is an avid cat watcher and loves spending time with her own animals–including a clowder of cats, a pack of dogs, and a pair of very cute goats!


Dr. Sarah Kirk

Dr. Sarah Kirk

Consultant, Cat Depot

Dr. Kirk received her DVM from Michigan State University in 1977,  completed her Certificate in Shelter Medicine from UF in 2013, and is currently enrolled in the MS in Shelter Medicine program.  Her career

has been spent in private practice, research, and her passion, shelter medicine.  After “retiring” to Florida in 2008, she became involved as a volunteer with Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at UF, participating in Operation Catnip, shelter consultations, and disaster response.  She recently retired from the position of Medical Director of the Field Investigation and Response team of the ASPCA.  Currently, she acts as a consultant for Cat Depot, a cat-exclusive shelter located in  Sarasota, FL, where her daughter, Dr. Jill Kirk (UF CVM ’14), practices.




Julie Levy, DVM, PhDJulie Levy, DVM, PhD

Diplomate American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Professor of Shelter Medicine
Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program
University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Levy graduated from the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California-Davis in 1989, followed by an internship at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital, and a residency in small animal internal medicine and PhD at North Carolina State University.

Dr. Levy’s research and clinical interests center on the health and welfare of animals in shelters, feline infectious diseases, humane alternatives for cat population control, and contraceptive vaccines for cats. She is the founder of Operation Catnip, with two university-based feral cat spay/neuter programs that have sterilized more than 44,000 cats since 1994. Dr. Levy has published more than 100 journal articles and textbook chapters.

Most recently, Dr. Levy collaborated with Dr. Kate Hurley at the Koret Shelter Medicine Program to launch the Million Cat Challenge, a campaign to save one million cats in 5 years.

She is the recipient of the Carl J. Norden-Pfizer Distinguished Teacher Award, Outstanding Woman Veterinarian of the Year, and the European Society of Feline Medicine Award for Outstanding Contributions in the Field of Feline Medicine.


Janet Martinjanet martin, DVM

Medical Director, Athens Area Humane Society

Dr. Martin obtained her DVM from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, followed by two post-graduate specialty internships, one in surgery and one in zoo and wildlife medicine. She spent 10 years working as a zoo veterinarian in Providence, R.I., work which also took her to Australia, where she developed a passion for marsupials, and later deep into the cloud forests of Papua New Guinea as a field research veterinarian. Later she returned to Tufts University and directed projects on rabies control in wildlife, and wildlife disease surveillance.

Following her interest in animal welfare, she returned to working with dogs and cats, practicing at several animal shelters in central Massachusetts providing high-volume spay/neuter surgery and advising on shelter animal medical cases.

She relocated to Athens with her husband in 2011, where she joined the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine in the Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery to develop a new Shelter Medicine program for the veterinary curriculum.

Dr. Martin is currently the Medical Director of Athens Area Humane Society in Georgia.




Luisito Pablo, DVM, PhD

Luisito Pablo, DVM, PhD

Clinical Professor in Anesthesiology
Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Luisito S. Pablo received the degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1978. He received his Master of Science in Large Animal Medicine and Surgery from Auburn University in 1982. His interest in anesthesia started when he came back to Auburn University to pursue his PhD in 1984. He started as a visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Florida in 1989.

He became board certified in Veterinary Anesthesiology in 1993. Presently, Dr. Pablo is a clinical professor in veterinary anesthesiology at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University. 

Dr. Sheilah A Robertson, BVMS (Hons), PhD, MRCVSDr. Sheila Robertson

Associate Professor, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University

Diplomate American College of Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia, Diplomate European College of Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia, Diplomate American College of Animal Welfare, Diplomate European College of Animal Welfare and Behavioral Medicine, (WSEL), Specialist in Welfare Science, Ethics and Law.

Certificate in Veterinary Acupuncture: Chi Institute of Chinese Medicine and Traditional Chinese Veterinary Society

Maddie’s® Graduate Certificate in Shelter Medicine, University of Florida

Dr. Robertson received her veterinary training at the University Of Glasgow, Scotland. After graduation she worked in a mixed animal practice. Following this she spent a year as a surgery intern followed by training in anesthesia and a PhD at the University of Bristol. She has been a faculty member at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, Canada, the University of Florida and Michigan State University. She was an Assistant Director in the Animal Welfare Division at the American veterinary Medical Association for two years. Her research interests include assessment of pain in cats, dogs and horses, the use of opioids in cats and the development of anesthetic protocols for pediatric patients and large scale spay and neuter clinics. She is a member of the Association of Shelter Veterinarian’s Task Force to Advance Spay Neuter.


Terry Spencer, DVM, MEdTerry Spencer, DVM, MEd

Maddie’s Clinical Assistant Professor of Shelter Medicine

Dr. Spencer brings a unique background in both science education and veterinary medicine to the Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program at UF.  During her first career, she worked as a science educator for K-Junior College students as well as a curriculum developer for the American Chemical Society and for National Science Foundation grants.During her second career, she worked as a small animal veterinarian, owned a veterinary practice, and worked full-time as a shelter veterinarian for both open and limited-admissions animal shelters in California and Florida.

Dr. Spencer has experience with managing disease outbreaks in shelters, conducting cruelty investigations, training volunteers to assist with disasters, providing testimony as an expert witness in criminal animal cruelty trials, working with victims of domestic violence and their pets, performing sterilization surgeries in high-volume shelters, developing standard operating procedures for busy animal shelters, and serving on advisory boards for the improvement of animal shelters. Her current mission is to develop distance learning programs to meet the needs of practicing veterinarians who desire to develop expertise in shelter medicine.




Christine L. Wilford, DVMWilford

Founder, The Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project
Lynnwood, Washington

Dr. Christine Wilford received her D.V.M. from Texas A&M University in 1987 and then completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Virginia Tech. In 1990, she moved to private companion animal practice in Washington state.

Having written a research paper on pet overpopulation and spay-neuter in 8th grade, she was destined to work for increased access to spay-neuter. In 1997, Dr. Wilford cofounded a free feline spay-neuter clinic, The Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project, in the Seattle area. Focusing on feral cats at the beginning, she quickly realized that all free-roaming cats whether feral, tame or in-between must be part of any effort to address feral cat populations. The clinic started as a MASH style clinic admitting 100-150 cats on one day per month. Due to the huge void of accessible spay-neuter for free-roaming cats, the clinic moved to a freestanding clinic in 2003, and a larger clinic in 2007. The organization now provides almost 10,000 spay-neuter surgeries per year, surpassing 75,000 total surgeries in 2013. The FCSNP launched a Clinic Model website in 2007 to mentor organizations worldwide to increase access to spay-neuter.

Amidst all the volunteer work, Dr. Wilford practiced in a six-doctor, feline-exclusive, high acuity hospital in the Seattle area for 17 years. Her current passion is to align with like-minded people focusing on solutions so that all cats and dogs will enjoy better lives.