46th Annual Training Conference November 8-11, 2020 - Abilene, TX
All current members of the Texas Animal Control Association are entitled to vote for the Board of Directors that leads the Association. Ballots must be submitted by 11:59 PM on Friday, November 6th to be counted. All voting is done online so click here to cast your ballot. Validity of any questionable ballot will be determined by the Nomination Committee of the Texas Animal Control Association Board of Directors and their decision is final.
If you are unable to register to vote, your membership is likely listed as lapsed in the system. Only current certified members have voting rights. Please click here to obtain or renew your membership. If you feel there is a mistake in the system, please email Jay Sabatucci so that corrections can be made.
Vice President Candidate
Board of Director Candidates (Two Positions Available)
Michael BrickerMichael Bricker is the Director of Operations for the Shelter Embed Program for Best Friends Animal Society. In this role, Michael was first charged with writing a new lifesaving chapter for companion animals in the Rio Grande Valley. Texas has the highest lifesaving gap (the difference between the current save rate and the no-kill threshold of a 90% save rate) in the nation, so increasing and sustaining save rates for dogs and cats in shelters in that area is critical to achieving no-kill nationwide by 2025. Michael joined Best Friends in June 2018 as the Senior Manager of Lifesaving Shelter Operations. Since then, Michael has been embedded as both the Director of Operations and the Interim Executive Director for Palm Valley Animal Society (PVAS) in Edinburg, Texas and was also assisting with the lifesaving journey of Harlingen Humane Society (HSH) in Harlingen, Texas. Within his two year tenure, Michael and the team at PVAS, the largest shelter in the region, and HSH have increased the save rate to over 90%. Today, Michael is embedded in another high priority shelter in Texas, Abilene Animal Services, where he’ll spend the next year as the Animal Services Director, overseeing all operations and field services.
A New Jersey native, Michael started his career in animal welfare in 2014, working for Camden County Animal Shelter (CCAS). As Director of Operations, Michael was handed the responsibility of running the shelter’s day-to-day operations and ensuring that the animals at CCAS received first-class care and treatment. One of Michael’s first initiatives was to rewrite the shelter’s adoption policies in order to remove unnecessary barriers between pets and adopters. Michael helped to create a Lifesaving Department, launch CCAS’s community cat program, bridge the gap between animal control and shelter operations, pioneer the Rent-A-Dog program and modernize the shelter’s medical operations. These changes helped CCAS achieve and surpass the no-kill benchmark of a 90% save rate.
Al GarcesMy name is Al Garces and I am currently the Supervisor for the Humane Department in Deer Park TX. I started my career in Humane work in 2009 working as an ACO for the City of Pasadena TX. After 3 years in Pasadena I left and worked for the City of Baytown Animal Services. In 2012 I transferred to the City of Deer Park where I worked as a city inspector and code enforcement officer. Although my job did not call for me to continue my animal control licensing, I continued my ACO training and kept my licenses valid so I could help out when needed at our city’s shelter. In 2018 took over the Supervisor Position for Humane and have enjoyed working to improve our shelter for our city. I have worked as volunteer firefighter and am proud to be an ARMY vet. In the decade that I have dedicated to this profession I have realized that one never stops learning new things. We never really know what we’re going to see from day to day which makes our jobs in my opinion the best in the world. I enjoy working with fellow employees finding new exciting ways to reach out to the public and draw attention to our shelter. In 2019 I was awarded the Warren J Kilpatrick Award at the TACA conference for raising the adoption rate of our shelter by almost 90% in just my first year as the supervisor. The award is an individual award but it cannot be achieved without a strong team of employees dedicated and motivated to reach the same goals. I believe if given the opportunity I could help motivate new and even veteran ACO’s that need just a spark to get going. If elected to the TACA board, I would make sure to use my time in the position find ways to help other ACO’s statewide.
John HillI am currently employed with the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office as the Animal Control Deputy. I have over 16 years of law enforcement experience. I have a Master Peace Officer License form the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice Administration from West Texas A&M University. I have been a member of TACA since March of 2017 and I became a certified Animal Cruelty Investigator in November of 2017.
During my tenure with the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office, I have served in many positions. I began my career in the Detention Division where I served on special teams and was a training Corporal that over saw the training program. I served in an administrative role as part of the Transition Team which over saw the construction, writing, and reviewing policies and training for a state of the art Direct Supervision Facility. I have served as a Court Deputy where I worked closely with Judges, Prosecuting Attorneys and Defense Attorneys.
I currently hold the position of Animal Control Deputy where I respond to calls for service involving animal within the unincorporated areas of Lubbock County. During my time as an Animal Control Deputy. I have investigated many cased of animal cruelty and presented many cases for prosecution. One of my largest animal cruelty cases involved the seizure of 82 head of cattle.
I feel that with my law enforcement experience and my experience in animal control I would be an asset to the board. I feel I could bridge some of the gaps between the civilian side of animal control and law enforcement.
Rhonda McLendonRhonda McLendon has been serving as Director of Pflugerville Animal Welfare Services and Pflugerville Animal Shelter since 2013. She has worked in municipal government for over 30 years, and in the Animal Services field for 16 years. She retired from the City of Lufkin after serving 25 years in different capacities, including Communications Operator, Police Officer, City Marshal, Municipal Court Administrator, and ten years as Director of Animal Control and Kurth Memorial Animal Shelter.
McLendon worked with K-9 Officers early in her law enforcement career, and began learning canine body language at that time. She was more than 65,000 animals come through the shelter in her tenure as Director with City of Lufkin, and learned much more about feline and canine body language. She was daily exposed to feral dogs and cats, fearful and fractious animals, and animals with behavior issues and began fine tuning her knowledge with thousands of hands on experiences and observing interactions between animals. She has her Master Peace Officer’s License and Advanced and Administrative ACO Certificates. Pflugerville Police Department carries her peace officer’s license, and McLendon teaches police officers and police cadets Canine Encounters-Defensive Tactics as well as teaching Canine and Feline Body Language and Communication locally and at conferences and training seminars across the state. In 2009 & 2010, she served as a Regional Director for TACA.
Julien PeraltaJulien Peralta got his start in Animal Services as a volunteer for the Lake Dallas Animal Shelter in 2015. After almost a year of volunteer work, Julien was hired as an Animal Control Officer for the City of Lake Dallas. A year later, he became the Director of Animal Services. During his tenure at the City of Lake Dallas, Julien’s accomplishments included raising $36,000 in donation funds in one fiscal year toward the medical treatment of animals, initiating an interlocal agreement for sheltering services with the City of Corinth, revitalizing the shelter’s volunteer program by 80 new volunteers, earning the Police Chief’s Award, and earning the first ever Employee of the Year award for the City of Lake Dallas. In January of 2019, Julien accepted the position of Animal Services Supervisor with the nearby City of Denton. Excited for the challenge of a much larger operation, Julien enjoys developing his team, perfecting the processes in each area of the department, and building a culture of compassion and excellence. Helping to build the City of Denton’s vision of “The Happiest Shelter on Earth”. Julien finds great fulfillment in challenging the dated ways of animal control and creating innovative ways to surpass the expectations of what is expected from a traditional animal shelter.Notably, Julien developed the City’s first-ever Supervisor in Training program, or SIT, where staff members can participate in a hands-on fast track to a leadership role. In addition, Julien developed the departments Quality Assurance program for the customer-facing processes of the department. With this process in place, each citizen is presented with, and encouraged to provide feedback on the effectiveness and efficiency with which the department handles animal-related issues.The Texas Animal Control Association can collectively shape the future of animal services through innovative professionals who are committed to the shared mission of saving more animals. As a TACA Board Member, Julien Peralta will have the needs of each shelter as a priority and will spend his term working towards sharing resources, assisting with operational enhancements, and creating an organization that supports its front-line employees.
Joel SkidmoreJoel Skidmore began his career with Animal Care Services in 2010 as an Animal Care Officer after working in animal welfare as a Kennel Attendant and Supervisor for a Pet Resort. Joel Skidmore quickly progressed from Animal Care Officer to Dangerous Dog Investigator where he was instrumental in innovating the position. Joel has conducted numerous Serious Bodily Injury Investigations with a 100% success rate in court. Joel filed with the District Attorney Office the 1st Attack By Dog case a 3rd degree felony in the history of Animal Care Service. Joel was promoted to Animal Cruelty Specialist and during that time he was directly involved in several thousand animal cruelty investigations in cooperation with numerous Law Enforcement agencies. The highlight of his time as a Cruelty Investigator was receiving a 15 year conviction on one of his cases involving the torture of an animal. Joel was again promoted to Field Operations Supervisor where he supervised the Dog Bite and Dangerous Dog Investigations and then was moved to supervising the Animal Cruelty Investigations. Joel held the title of Academy Commander for San Antonio ACS where he ran a 12 week long training academy for the newly hired ACO Cadets. Joel also conducted scheduled bi-monthly training classes for the San Antonio Police Department and Bexar County Sheriff’s Office where he taught the officers about Canine Encounters.In February 2020 Joel accepted the Operations Manager Position with the City of Corpus Christi Animal Care Services where he over sees the daily operations of the department. His new role now includes not only the filed division but live release, clinic, shelter and vector.Joel is a Certified Animal Control Officer in the State of Texas and is a Certified Animal Cruelty Investigator through the University of Missouri- Columbia’s Law Enforcement Training Institute, and state Certified Animal Cruelty Investigator through the Texas Animal Control Association. He is also certified in Crisis Intervention through the San Antonio Police Department and holds a certificate from the Humane Society University in investigating Illegal Animal Fighting.
Ethel StrotherMy name is Ethel Strother and I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. I have been in the animal care and control field for more than 20 years and involved in the Texas Animal Control Association in one capacity or another for 18 of those. First serving as a regional coordinator, then moving to board member and past President. Life events took me away from the board for a short period and I am ready to return as your board member. My goal in the animal control field has always been to support and serve its members to the best of my ability. Thank you in advance for your consideration.