Dr. Don Allen
Dr. Allen’s companion animal practice in Youngstown, Ohio cares for dogs, cats, reptiles, birds and exotic animals. Prior to starting his own veterinary clinic in 1992, Dr. Allen was Medical Director of Animal Charity, a nonprofit private humane society and veterinary facility in Youngstown. During his five years at Animal Charity, he discovered that a number of sick puppies requiring treatment had been purchased at a local Docktor Pet Center.
After Dr. Allen went to the Docktor Pet Center and questioned the source of the puppies -- an employee denied the puppies were from mills -- he received a call from the franchise owner. The owner stated that he did not buy dogs from puppy mills and asked Dr. Allen not to visit the store.
Animal Charity then filed a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General’s office against the Youngstown Docktor Pet Center for misrepresenting the source of its puppies. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Allen visited six puppy mills and a broker’s facility in Missouri to verify the conditions under which some of his clients’ dogs had been raised.
At Dr. Allen’s instigation, the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) stopped running a Docktor advertisement seeking veterinarians as franchisees. Dr. Allen then wrote a letter to JAVMA encouraging veterinarians to “unite against the ongoing atrocity of puppy mills.” This letter prompted negative responses from veterinarians in puppy mill states, including one from a staff veterinarian for Honeydew, a Missouri brokerage facility owned by the Hunte Corporation.
In 1994, Dr. Allen and his wife started a joint venture business with a veterinarian and her father in Kaunas, Lithuania. Dr. Allen’s maternal grandparents were from Lithuania. The business provides high quality veterinary vaccines, pharmaceuticals and supplies at affordable prices. It also helps Lithuanian and other Baltic veterinarians start their own private practices. Dr. Allen travels to Lithuania twice a year to lecture at the Lithuanian Veterinary Academy on business methods and veterinary science.
Dr. Allen hosts "Pet Talk," a daily call-in program on WKBN radio in Youngstown. He also appears twice a week on WKBN Television News.
Dr. Allen has bachelor degrees in animal science and veterinary science, a masters degree in animal nutrition, and a DVM. He completed all of his studies at the University of Illinois.
Deborah A. Howard
President and Chairman of the Board
Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS)
As 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.