Annual UGA Shelter Medicine Symposium

This all-day event is focused on the best management and medicine practices for local and regional animal shelters. Veterinary professionals and others who work in animal control facilities and humane societies, or with animal rescue groups in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina are encouraged to attend.

Have questions about the symposium or whether you should attend? Download the symposium FAQ sheet here for more information.

Upcoming Seminar

Check back for more information regarding our 2017 Shelter Medicine Symposium to be held in February of next year. Thanks to all of this year attendees!

Previous Seminars


The 8th annual UGA CVM Shelter Medicine Symposium was held on Saturday, February 6, 2016.


The 7th annual Shelter Medicine Symposium was held at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine (UGA CVM) on Sunday, January 11, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


The 6th annual Shelter Medicine Symposium was held at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine (UGA CVM) on Sunday, January 12, 2014.

Download the available presentation PDFs from our 2014 symposium:
Scott Trebatoski's "Outstanding Animal Control Programs: Moving Toward No Kill"
Dr. Sara Pizano's "Target Zero Institute"
Dr. Staci Cannon's "Management of Parvovirus in Animal Shelters"

Sponsorship for the 2014 symposium was provided by Nestlé Purina, Iams, Merck, SCAVMA, the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, and a SAVMA Animal Welfare/Human-Animal Bond Educational Lecture grant.

Keynote and Speakers

Scott Trebatoski
Division Chief of Jacksonville Animal Care and Protective Services
Formally educated in finance and human resources, with an MBA from the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, Scott made a dramatic career move to try to rescue a county shelter that was in serious decline. He has accomplished amazing results in two different Florida animal shelters. In 2008, he joined Jacksonville's vision of creating a modern animal control model. Jacksonville Animal Care and Protective Services was recognized as the outstanding animal control agency for 2011, 2012 and 2013 in Florida. At the time Scott began his changes in Jacksonville over 85% of the animals entering the shelter died or were euthanized; last year 87% left the shelter alive.

Other presenters for the 2014 conference included:

  • Dr. Sara Pizano, Medical Assessment and Curriculum Specialist with Target Zero Institute
  • Dr. Janet Martin, developer of the shelter medicine program at the UGA CVM
  • Dr. Staci Cannon, a UGA CVM graduate who is currently in the highly acclaimed residency program in shelter medicine at University of Florida
  • Dr. Gerryl Hall, lead veterinarian for Merck Animal Health
Speaker Bios
  • Sara Pizano, DVM
    Medical Assessment and Curriculum Specialist, Target Zero Institute

    Dr. Pizano holds a BS in Zoology from SUNY Oswego (Oswego, N.Y.), an MA in Physiology from Columbia University (New York City), and a doctorate from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine (Ithaca, N.Y.). After completing her formal education, Dr. Pizano was an intern at the highly acclaimed Animal Medical Center in New York City.

    Following her passion for homeless animals, Dr. Pizano worked at North Shore Animal League on Long Island, then served as the Director of Veterinary Services at the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. For six years, Dr. Pizano was the director for Miami-Dade Animal Services where she was instrumental in rewriting the county ordinances, introducing pain medication and treatment plans, increasing the live release rate and creating a variety of life-saving programs. During that time, Dr. Pizano also served the Association of Shelter Veterinarians as a member of a panel formed to create the baseline for Shelter Medicine as a specialty.

    She has served on a variety of boards including the Broward County Veterinary Medical Association, the Florida Animal Control Association and the HSUS National Companion Animal Advisory Council. Dr. Pizano has also been the recipient of numerous awards that include the Miami-Dade County Manager's Excellence Award, received recognition from the Florida Animal Control Association for Outstanding Agency and Outstanding Team Achievement and in the same year was recognized by the South Florida Veterinary Medical Foundation as the Outstanding Government Employee and Community Partnership when the ASPCA added Miami-Dade as their tenth partner community nationwide.
  • Janet Martin, DVM
    Shelter Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia

    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.
  • Staci Cannon, DVM
    Shelter Medicine Resident, Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida

    Dr. Cannon graduated from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 2010 and completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at VCA South Shore Animal Hospital in Weymouth, Mass. Dr. Cannon worked for several shelter and rescue organizations in Massachusetts, including the Animal Rescue League of Boston, prior to joining the Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida as a resident in 2012. Her primary interests include infectious disease prevention and control, behavioral enrichment, and community engagement with shelters.
  • Gerryl Hall, DVM
    Lead Veterinarian, Merck Animal Health

    Dr. Hall started volunteering at Atlanta Humane Society in 1978 prior to going to UGA to get her veterinary degree. She practiced in Lawrenceville, then move to Orlando where she worked with Orange County Animal Control and became the veterinarian on the Orange County Animal Control Board.

    Although she still practices and works with shelters today, she now works with a manufacturer dedicated to helping shelters find ways to help themselves. Today, her contributions to this effort include practicing in Atlanta, Ga., as well as working with two rescue groups and one shelter; creating vaccination life plans for animals with genetic problems or suspected adverse events; presenting the latest product developments and applications to veterinarians, as well as keeping them informed on recent industry changes; updating shelters on immunology and sanitation protocols; visiting veterinary clinics and shelters personally to educate the staff on the issues involved in the use of currently available products. She also serves as the primary Merck Animal Health representative at international, national and state meetings concerning infectious diseases and internal medicine.


The 5th Annual Shelter Medicine Seminar was Sunday, January 27, 2013 at the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine.

The keynote speaker was Emily Weiss, Ph.D., a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, and Vice President of Shelter Research and Development for the ASPCA. Weiss has focused her career on improving welfare for animals, both those in zoos and in shelters. Through many years working with zoo species she developed enrichment and training programs to improve husbandry and reduce stress in these animals. Additionally, she developed several behavioral assessment tools for shelter animals now used throughout the United States, including Meet Your Match™, Canine-ality™, Puppy-ality™, and, Feline-ality™. She is the co-editor of the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, and has published extensively in the field of applied behavior. Recently, Dr. Weiss’s work has focused on developing ways to increase the Live Release Rate in shelters around the country. Her research includes projects on feral cats, behavior modification, targeted spay/neuter, ID tagging and fee-waived adoptions.

Other presenters included:

  • Dr. Janet Martin, staff veterinarian and developer of the new shelter medicine program at UGA CVM
  • Dr. Andy Moorhead, an assistant research scientist at UGA CVM who studies potential resistance to drugs used to prevent canine heartworms
  • Dr. Sonja Zabel, an assistant professor of veterinary dermatology at UGA CVM
  • Bill Wise, director of Walton County Animal Control
  • Dr. Gerryll G. Hall, lead veterinarian of Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health’s VetReach Program, and a private practitioner in Atlanta

Sponsors for the 2013 UGA Shelter Medicine Seminar include Nestlé Purina, UGA CVM SCAVMA, and the Association of Shelter Veterinarians.


The 4th Annual Shelter Medicine Seminar was Sunday, January 29, 2012 at the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine. There were 124 attendees.

Keynote and Speakers
The keynote speaker for the 2012 conference was Dr. Melinda Merck, a veterinary forensic scientist who helped compile evidence to prosecute NFL quarterback Michael Vick. Merck is frequently called upon for expert testimony in legal cases involving animal cruelty, including animal fighting and neglect. She is the senior director of veterinary forensics at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in New York; she also helped found the International Veterinary Forensic Sciences Association.

In addition to traveling around the U.S. educating veterinarians on forensic science, Merck also helped launch the University of Florida’s online certificate program in veterinary forensics, which is a collaborative effort with the ASPCA. At the seminar, Merck will present two lectures on forensic science.

Other scheduled presenters included:

  • Dr. Brenda Griffin, associate professor of shelter medicine at the University of Florida
  • Dr. Gloria Dorsey, vice president of medical services for the Atlanta Humane Society
  • Dr. Janet Martin, staff veterinarian and developer of the new shelter medicine program at UGA CVM
  • Dr. Miranda Spindel, senior director of shelter medicine for the ASPCA
  • Dr. Gerryll G. Hall, lead veterinarian of Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health’s VetReach Program, and a private practitioner in Atlanta

Sponsors for the 2012 UGA Shelter Medicine Seminar included Nestlé Purina, PetSmart Charities, and The Association of Shelter Veterinarians.


The 3rd Annual UGA Shelter Medicine Seminar focused on best management and medicine practices for local and regional animal shelters, and was targeted for all those who work with animal shelters and rescue organizations, including shelter veterinarians, shelter management professionals, members of rescue organizations, veterinary technicians, veterinary students, and community veterinarians whose clients include shelters or animals adopted from shelters.

Download the 2011 Shelter Medicine Seminar Network List here [PDF].

The featured speaker was Rachel Michaud, Program Coordinator for Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida. Ms. Michaud is a leader in the field of shelter medicine and has extensive experience in nonprofit shelter operations, management and administration.

Additional speakers included faculty members from the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine as well as the lead veterinarian for the Intervet/Schering-Plough VetReach™ Program. These professionals shared their expertise in relevant topics including parasite monitoring and control, infectious disease management, and animal behavior issues. An interactive lunchtime discussion session gave seminar attendees a unique opportunity to ask questions and exchange information and ideas.

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