CAPS Board Members

Deborah A. Howard
President and Chairman of the Board

deborah howards blog2.ld2As president of CAPS, Ms. Howard is responsible for overall management, program planning, and reporting.  Furthermore, she handles public relations, investigations, legislative involvement, membership development, fund-raising, consumer and employee relations, and development of educational materials.

Ms. Howard has extensive experience in the communications field.  
Prior to starting CAPS, she ran an Atlanta-based public relations agency, Howard Communications.  She was formerly with Porter/Novelli -- the lead PR agency with the Omnicom Group -- in San Francisco. Ms. Howard worked with “Dateline” for over a year to prepare an expose of the multimillion dollar pet shop and puppy mill trade.  “A Dog’s Life,” which was over an hour in length, aired in two-parts in the spring of 2000.  Viewers were shocked at the inhumane conditions at puppy mills that provide dogs to pet shops and appalled at USDA’s Deputy Administrator of APHIS Ron DeHaven’s smug indifference to the horrid conditions at two USDA licensed facilities.  They sent more than 9,000 letters and emails to NBC, the second largest response to any “Dateline” program in its history.  “A Dog’s Life” won a Genesis award in 2001. 

Ms. Howard has also generated stories on the pet shop/puppy mill issue with Reader’s Digest, Life, People, Detroit Free Press, The Philadelphia Inquirer (two front page articles), CNN “20/20” (three times), “Hard Copy,” “Marketplace” (CBC) and with numerous television news programs and newspapers around the country. As a public relations professional, Ms. Howard handled a number of national accounts.  The newspaper placements for her PR clients included the Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, The Miami Herald, The Baltimore Sun, and Dallas Morning News.  

Ms. Howard’s numerous magazine placements included U.S. News and World Report, Consumers Digest, Rolling Stone, Elle, Vogue, GQ, Cosmopolitan, Better Homes & Gardens, Working Woman, and Entrepreneurial Woman. Ms. Howard has also worked as a radio news reporter and anchorwoman. 

After graduating from New College of Florida with a BA in Political Science, Ms. Howard earned a law degree from Santa Clara University.

John T. Maher
General Counsel

John Maher is an attorney licensed to practice before all Courts in the State of New York. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his law degree from the New York Law School, and was admitted to the New York Bar in 1990. He is also admitted to the bar of the State of Connecticut and in numerous federal courts nationwide.  

Mr. Maher began his legal career at the law firm of Nourse and Bowles and later became a principal at several firms including The Law Office of John T. Maher, P.C. where he practiced for many years. He is currently of counsel at Russin, Vecchi, Berg & Bernstein LLP and also serves as general counsel for the Companion Animal Protection Society.  

As an attorney, he has represented a variety of individual and corporate clients in various legal areas including securities, employment law, intellectual property, corporate transactions, and First Amendment issues.

Mr. Maher has served as an arbitrator of securities cases at the New York Stock Exchange and is the author of a legal book and several legal journal articles and has reviewed, commented on, and modified proposed securities regulation legislation that became enacted as law.  

Mr. Maher has practiced Animal Law, which includes First Amendment issues for over twenty years. He has handled several First Amendment cases brought against protesters, and in every case has succeeded in getting the case dismissed. In addition to CAPS, he has represented, inter alia, Best Friends Animal Society, Smiling PitBull Rescue, the New York State League of Humane Voters, the Global Justice Alliance, and many smaller animal organizations and individuals involved in animal rights, welfare and legislative campaigns and issues.

Mr. Maher also teaches Animal Law as an Adjunct Law Professor at the Touro Law Center in Central Islip, New York and regularly speaks at Animal Law symposia and events. He has also participated in drafting many legislative measures concerning Animal Law, which have subsequently been enacted in various municipalities nationwide.

Ida McCarthy
Illinois Director

CAPS Advisory Board

Bob Meetin
Web Developer for CAPS
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Josh Colvin
Operations Manager & Cruelty Intervention Coordinator
Animal Care & Control Center
Animal Rescue League of Iowa

Mary LaHay
Iowa Voters for Companion Animals

Jan Price
Saving Death Row Dogs

Pam Sordyl
Puppy Mill Awareness Meetup

Nancy Minion
Co-founder and President
Second Chance Animal Rescue

Ann Olson
Director of Animal Folks Minnesota

Bob Baker
Executive Director
Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation

Libby Williams
Pet Watch New Jersey
New Jersey

Mary O’Connor-Shaver
Founder and Director
Ban Ohio Dog Auctions

Ruth Steinberger
Spay First



Bea's Beat

Blog with CAPS Spokesmodel Beatrice, a puppy mill survivor and vegan advocate.

Blog with Beatrice!

Deborah Howard

Deborah Howard

Learn more about Deborah Howard, president and founder of Companion Animal Protection Society.

Meet Deborah


Keep up-to-date about CAPS and read about issues affecting companion animals, especially those suffering in pet shops and puppy mills.

Visit CAPS Blog

Contact Us

Contact CAPS

Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS)
759 CJC Hwy., #332
Cohasset, MA 02025
p: 339-309-0272
501 (c)(3) Tax ID#: 58-2040413

Contact by Webform

Class Action Lawsuits

scales of justice

If you purchased a sick or dying puppy from Barkworks or Happiness is Pets, you may be able to join consumer class action lawsuits. The first step is to fill out the CAPS complaint form.

Read more about Happiness is Pets or Barkworks.

CAPS Complaint Form