Wednesday, September 26

5 - 7 p.m. Optional Early Registration (Arcadia Foyer) 

Thursday, September 27

8 -11:30 a.m. Registration 

9:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Sessions throughout the day

4:45-5:45 p.m. Beer and Pretzels Roundtables & Raffle 

Friday, September 28

8:00-9:00 a.m. Registration 

9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. Sessions throughout the day

5:00-5:30 p.m. Closing Charge & Grand Prize Giveaway

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100 W Michigan Ave.
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
(269) 343-3333
Supported by:



petco foundation

Maddie's Fund       Animal Farm Foundation  logo color

Alley Cat Allies


Join staff and volunteers from animal shelters, rescue organizations, advocacy groups, policy makers, veterinarians, vet techs, educators, students and compassionate community members to learn ways to save lives in your community. Hear cutting-edge research from leading national animal welfare experts along with success stories and strategies from Michigan shelters, rescues, and advocates.

Registration for the 2-day conference includes:

* Keynote lunch presentation (Thursday) by Dr. Marty Becker, “America’s Veterinarian,” Fear Free

* Shelter awards presentation (Friday) recognizing shelters throughout the state

Nine break-out sessions of your choice

* Lunch, snack and beverage breaks (vegetarian/vegan available)

* Animal CPR & First Aid (space is limited)

 * OPTIONAL shelter tour of SPCA of Southwest Michigan with Kalamazoo city highlights (space is limited)

* Roundtable discussions led by speakers

* Exhibitor Showcase 

* Raffle Prizes

* Access to custom event app to personalize your agenda, engage with other attendees, network with exhibitors and sponsors, and much more!

Single-day registration is available. 

Michigan Certified Rescue organization members receive 15% discount.

Session Options 

View agenda here.

Animal CPR and First Aid   Matt Elvin, TipTopTails Dog Training (space is limited)

The Benefits of Coalition and Steering Committees   Marc Peralta & Tawny Hammond, Best Friends Animal Society

Breaking the Breed Label Habit   Kristen Auerbach, Pima Animal Services

The Care and Feeding of Staff and Volunteers  Dr. Linda Harper

Cat Adoptions from Zero to Infinity!    Monica Frenden, Austin Pets Alive!

Cat Enrichment in the Shelter: Turn Down the Stress and Turn Up the Feline Fun  Pam Johnson-Bennett     

Cats Scratch: Here’s How to Keep Them in Their Homes Anyway Dr. Theresa DePorter, Fear Free

The Decision to Kill for Behavior: Policy and Protocol  Kristen Auerbach, Pima Animal Services 

Decoding Data: Using Your Stats to Save Lives  Nikki Kelley, Best Friends Animal Society

Developing Plans and Addressing Issues - MPFA Assistance   Deborah Schutt and Lisa Rabine, Michigan Pet Fund Alliance 

Diversion Programs: Innovative Approaches that Keep Animals Out of Shelters   Jen Clarkson, Dog Aide and Kelly McLaughlin, Bark Nation

Empathy for the Fearful, Worried, or Anxious Dog   Dr. Theresa Porter, Fear Free

Free Free Husbandry in the Shelter Setting   Dr. Cynthia Delany, UC Davis - Koret Shelter Medicine Program  

Fear Free Training in the Shelter Setting   Dr. Cynthia Delany, UC Davis - Koret Shelter Medicine Program  

Feral Kittens: More Than KMR  Tabitha Kucera, Fear Free Certified

How Does Your Rescue Measure Up? Best Practices for Home-based Rescue Organizations    Courtney Protz-Sanders, Paws for Life Rescue

How to Conduct Conversational Adoptions (Role Play Session)  Katie Timber, SPCA of Southwest Michigan; Tanya Hilgendorf, Humane Society of Huron Valley

How to Powerfully and Effectively Leverage Volunteers   Pat Guerrero and José Ocaño, Best Friends Animal Society

How to Reach Your Target Audience: Digital Fundraising, Email Marketing, Digital Strategy  Amy Starnes, Best Friends Animal Society

How We Improved -  Panel Discussion of Award Winners  Moderated by Deborah Schutt, Michigan Pet Fund Alliance

Let’s Keep Community Cats in the Community Where They Belong  Alice Burton, Alley Cat Allies    

Litter Box Lowdown: Addressing Non-medical Litter Box Issues   Pam Johnson-Bennett     

Midwest Region Overview: Best Friends No Kill 2025 Goal  Tawny Hammond, José Ocaño, and Marc Peralta, Best Friends Animal Society

Midwest Success Stories: Leadership from Around the Midwest states  Moderated by Tawny Hammond, Best Friends Animal Society 

No Cat Left Behind: How to Get Special Needs Cats Adopted  Monica Frenden, Austin Pets Alive

No Kill: What Does It Mean and How Do You Message It?  Tawny Hammond, Best Friends Animal Society 

Progressive Animal Services as a Community Ethic   José Ocaño, Best Friends Animal Society & Lee Ann Shenefiel, City of Austin Animal Services

Recruiting Fosters for the Challenging Dog   Kristen Auerbach, Pima Animal Services

Starting a Successful Barn Cat Program   Monica Frenden, Austin Pets Alive

Temperament Testing and Behavior Assessment: How Dated Are Your Practices?  Lisa Rabine, Michigan Pet Fund Alliance

Thinking Outside the Cage: Shelter Enrichment for Cats  Tabitha Kucera, Fear Free Certified

TNR FAQs ... and Answers!  Moderator: Dr. Diana Newman, Michigan Pet Fund Alliance;   Panelists: Jennifer German, Companion Cats;  Tracy Lee, ROAR; Jody Schrader, Saved by Zade

Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) Training    Dr. Diana Newman, Michigan Pet Fund Alliance

Why Fear Free Animal Shelters Aren't Just Essential - They're Inevitable   Dr. Marty Becker, Fear Free

You Don’t Need to Be an Attorney to Do This!  Richard Angelo, Best Friends Animal Society

 2017 MPFA Outside the Box Award Winners   Marie Green, Gratiot Animals in Need (G.A.I.N.); Tania Jaczkowski, Humane Society of West Michigan; Karen Kazyak, Humane Society of Livingston County; Amy Warner, Genesee County Animal Control

View full schedule and session descriptions here. 

View speakers here


Radisson Plaza Hotel 

100 West Michigan Ave.
Kalamazoo  MI 49007
(269) 343-3333 

The discounted rate block is FULL. 

Kalamazoo pet-friendly hotels are here.

Self-parking in the Radisson garage is $10 per day if not staying at the hotel or $10 per night for overnight guests staying at the hotel. 

Valet is $30 per vehicle per day.

Conference Cancellation Policy: Registration is non-refundable. If you are unable to attend, you may transfer your registration to another person, or to the scholarship fund and request a tax-deductible donation letter.

Register Now!Prefer to mail in your registration? Print out a completed registration form and mail with a check to: 

Michigan Pet Fund Alliance to 2210 Lancaster, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302


 Contact for more information.