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Find out how we're reimagining animal services to keep people and pets together.

Human Animal Support Services is a collaborative effort, facilitated by American Pets Alive!, that is bringing together animal welfare organizations internationally to support the bond of people and animals.

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Official Bios

Dr. Ellen Jefferson holding small tabby cat

Ellen Jefferson, DVM

President and CEO

Dr. Ellen Jefferson, a longtime shelter veterinarian, and groundbreaking animal welfare visionary, is the President and CEO of Austin Pets Alive!. Now a global leader in transformative animal welfare, Dr. Jefferson took over APA! in 2008, a grassroots, volunteer effort to protect Austin’s most vulnerable shelter pets. APA! has directly saved the lives of more than 100,000 at-risk pets throughout Texas. Through tireless advocacy and APA’s lifesaving programs, in 2011 she achieved her dream to make Austin the country’s largest No Kill city. Prior to her work with APA!, Dr. Jefferson founded and served as the executive director of Emancipet and founded San Antonio Pets Alive!. Expanding her reach beyond Texas, Dr. Jefferson leads the work of American Pets Alive!, the national arm of APA!, which she founded in 2010. In 2020, at the start of the COVID pandemic, Dr. Jefferson met the urgent need to keep pets out of shelters and with people by launching Human Animal Support Services (HASS), an international collaborative movement to transform animal services to support the bond between pets and people. Among her many current passions are saving dogs with distemper and solving the toughest problems preventing progressive changes in the animal welfare industry.

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Maddie’s® American Pets Alive! Director

Kristen Hassen, MA, is the Maddie’s® Director of American Pets Alive!, overseeing the Human Animal Support Services project, the Maddie’s® Learning Academy, and AmPA!’s lifesaving initiatives. Previously, she served as the Director of Pima Animal Care Center, the open-admission animal services department in Tucson, Arizona, and before that, the Deputy Director of Austin Animal Center, in Austin, Texas. Kristen is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Arizona’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and serves on the Board of Directors of the National Animal Control Association. Kristen writes and teaches nationally and internationally on a variety of subjects including animal services organizational restructuring, transforming animal services culture, progressive animal control, high volume foster programs, animal welfare as social justice movement, crisis communications, community-centered sheltering practices, the Human Animal Support Services elements, and the future of animal welfare volunteer programs.

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For additional files and information, email marketing@americanpetsalive.org.

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Do you want to make sustainable change for pets and the people that love them? Join our movement.