Conference presenters

Hope for Animal Hoarders
April 28, 2017
Embassy Suites, Independence

Keynote Speaker & Moderator

Gary Patronek, VMD, PhD

Dr. Patronek is a veterinarian and epidemiologist. He currently works as an independent consultant and is also an Adjunct Professor at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts. He founded the Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium (HARC), a multidisciplinary group of investigators who conducted much of the initial research concerning animal hoarding. The work of HARC was instrumental in the mention of animal hoarding in the new hoarding disorder included in DSM-5 in 2013. He has also been a shelter director, Vice President for Animal Welfare at the Animal Rescue League of Boston, and was formerly the Director of the Tufts Center for Animals and Public Policy. Dr. Patronek has published over 50 peer-reviewed papers and textbook chapters, many of which deal with animal welfare and shelter issues. He was one of the authors and editors of the Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters put forth under the auspices of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians and is one of three co-editors for the new book Animal Maltreatment: Forensic Mental Health Issues and Evaluations published by Oxford University Press in October 2015.


Jeff Hanchar
Registered Sanitarian, Cuyahoga County Board of Health

Hanchar is a Registered Sanitarian for the Cuyahoga County Board of Health where he has been involved in several Environmental Health programs over the last 17 years. Hanchar graduated from Ohio University in 1999 with bachelor’s degrees in Industrial Hygiene and Environmental Health.


Juliet Kocik
Animal Control Officer, City of Euclid

Kocik has 28 years of experience as an Animal Control Officer, including 14 years with the City of Euclid, two years with Cleveland Animal Protective League as Humane Investigations Officer, and 12 years with the City of Parma, where she is currently employed. Kocik is a certified animal control officer and euthanasia technician. She holds certificate in Survival of Aggressive and Dangerous Dogs; Investigating Dog Fighting; Investigating Animal Abuse; Combating Dog Fighting; and Animal Crime Scenes.

Sharon Harvey
President & CEO, Cleveland Animal Protective League

Harvey has been a leader in animal welfare for 14 years, with the last 10 years at the Cleveland Animal Protective League. The Cleveland APL is a private, nonprofit humane society that assists more than 14,000 animals annually through a variety of progressive programs. Under Ohio law, the Cleveland APL employs humane agents who have police power to investigate reports of animal cruelty, enforce state animal protection laws in Cuyahoga County, and work with prosecutors to seek justice for animal victims. Harvey and her team have transformed the culture of the APL from traditional shelter with a high euthanasia rate to that of a proactive, lifesaving organization. She thrives on finding new solutions for old and new problems and is regularly invited to speak about the APL’s innovative programs at conferences across the country. Harvey serves on the Board of Directors of the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators and Ohio Federated Humane Societies. She is owned by four dogs and is closely managed by her office cat Ozzy.

DanaMarie Pannella, JD
Associate Attorney, Holland & Muirden

Pannella is an attorney practicing with the law firm of Holland & Muirden, located in Medina County, Ohio. Her particular area of practice is the broad field of animal law, including animal cruelty prosecution, nonprofit issues, civil matters and legislative efforts. Ms. Pannella earned her Bachelor of Arts at Arcadia University and her Juris Doctorate at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. She writes and speaks frequently on issues involving animals and the law and has prosecuted many cases involving animal hoarding for humane societies and other law enforcement in Ohio.

Bert Rahl, LISW-S
Director of Mental Health, Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging

Rahl has been employed at the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging for the last 35 years. For the first 30 years, he worked as a Social Worker and then became a Mental Health Case Manager. He assumed the position of Assistant Director of Mental Health Services in 2004 and was promoted to Director in 2006. Rahl has had extensive clinical experience working with mentally ill clients in both individual and group settings. Primarily using evidenced based practices such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Illness Management Recovery, he has worked with individuals suffering from severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, psychotic disorders and personality disorders. Rahl serves on several committees including The Council of Agency Directors, The Suicide Prevention Committee of the ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County, The Hoarding Connection of the ADAMHS Board, The Adult Protective Services Steering Committee and the Mental Health Advocacy Committee. He also sits on the Board of the Supplemental Care Services Association. Rahl obtained his Bachelor's Degree from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Individual and Family Studies with an emphasis in Gerontology. He obtained his Master of Science in Social Administration with an emphasis in Mental Health from Case Western Reserve University.