Twenty-four people, many with backgrounds involving working with animals, have emerged as candidates for 15 open board seats at the SPCA of Niagara.
A large group of candidates recently appeared at a closed-door "meet and greet" with SPCA members. After that meeting, the candidate list was narrowed to 24 with the help of a committee comprising two board members, attorney Paul J. Cambria Jr. and others.
SPCA members -- people who donated to the shelter before Feb. 29 -- will vote to elect 15 new board members in late May, when the incumbent members will resign their seats.
The candidates are:
*Brian Barish, who owns Allbreed Obedience Academy and Hidden Fence Company in Lockport, was a former Niagara County Sheriff's Office K-9 officer.
*Andrew Bell, a former optometrist and owner of Grandpaws Emporium, a Lesitton pet supply store.
*Susan Black, a teacher and former volunteer for the Save A Pet fundraiser.
*David Bower, a Niagara Falls police officer and former Air Force police officer.
*Pamela Bruns, an animal foster parent with the SPCA Serving Erie County who owned a corporate training/consulting firm.
*Dr. Denise Callari, a Tonawanda physician and animal foster parent at the SPCA Serving Erie County. She said she established a fund to prevent the animal euthanasia.
*Susan Campbell, a veterinary technician who has worked at Ellicott Small Animal Hospital and as a transporter and foster parent for rescued pets.
*AnnLouise Carosella, a volunteer at the SPCA of Niagara who is an animal foster parent and has held fundraising roles with the SPCA Serving Erie County. She was the 2007 Volunteer of the Year at the Erie County shelter and said she helped start the volunteer program at Niagara.
*A. Joseph Catalano, an assistant Niagara County public defender who volunteered at an SPCA shelter during law school.
*Shana DiCamillo, who works as grants and development coordinator for the University at Buffalo's geology department. She said she holds a master's degree in nonprofit management.
*Michael Dupre, associate vice president of facilities at UB. He is a former horse breeder, and his wife has bred Airedale Terriers for 40 years.
*Lawrence Eggert, police chief for the City of Lockport.
*Karen Karsten, board chairwoman for the Seneca Gaming Corp. Karsten worked for The Buffalo News and has adopted cats through the SPCA and other organizations.
*Kathy Lamont, a former teacher who educates pet owners on natural and holistic ways to keep pets healthy. She has been a volunteer with New York State Weimaraner Rescue and other animal groups.
*Michelle Madigan, a volunteer at the SPCA of Niagara and controller for the EGW Associates staffing firm. She is a former chief financial officer of Smokin Joes tobacco shop.
*Terri McDonald-Gale, who has worked in hotel marketing and is a member of the SPCA of Niagara, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, ASPCA, the Humane Society and the SPCA Serving Erie County.
*Kris McMahon, an office manager and volunteer at the SPCA Serving Erie County.
*Christine O'Hara, a board member of Leadership Niagara and Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara.
*Stephanie Ortel, a veterinary technician and member of the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management. She said she was also involved with the SPCA Serving Erie County.
*Susan Persico, a veterinarian who has run the Central Park Animal Hospital in Buffalo with her husband for three decades. Persico served on the committee that replaced the decrepit Buffalo Animal Shelter on Niagara Street with the current Oak Street facility, she said, and has worked with the SPCA Serving Erie County.
*Bob Richardson, a law clerk to State Supreme Court Justice Frank Caruso. He has volunteered and transported dogs for All Bassets Cherished Basset Hound Rescue.
*Rachel Stepien, an Air Force member with a bachelor's degree in animal behavior, ecology and conservation. She helps transport dogs from kill shelters to foster homes and has kennel experience from internships, she said.
*Kristen Strobel, an SPCA of Niagara volunteer who has a veterinary license and is a licensed educator for the National House Rabbit Society, a rabbit rescue nonprofit. She worked at the SPCA Serving Erie County for five years as a surgery technician.
*David Urban, an accountant who specializes in providing services to nonprofit organizations. He was also a campaign coordinator for the United Way of Buffalo, treasurer of the Alzheimer's Association of Western New York and a frequent SPCA visitor.
Visit www.niagaraspca.org for full biographies.