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.

Dr. Don Allen


Youngstown, OH

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.

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.

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


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

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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