• Cynthia Bathurst

    Cynthia Bathurst


    Dr. Bathurst is co-founder and Executive Director of Safe Humane Chicago, a first-of-its-kind organization based on the concept that a humane community is a safer community. Safe Humane Chicago incorporates its mission to inspire positive relationships between people and animals into non-traditional programs that benefit youth, veterans, and Court Case Dogs through advocacy, educational outreach, and hands-on programs in communities challenged by crime and a lack of needed resources. 

    In 2009, she was the recipient of the AVMA Humane Award, which is given to a non-veterinarian who has advanced animal well-being, shown exemplary dedication to the care of animals, and contributed to animals and society. She is also Acting Chair of Chicago's Commission on Animal Care and Control.

    Dr. Bathurst has also been involved in developing resources for law enforcement on encounters with dogs. She was co-author of the U.S. Department of Justice manual "The Problem of Dog-Related Incidents and Encounters" and the Content Producer for the video training series: "Police and Dog Encounters: Tactical Strategies and Effective Tools to Keep our Communities Safe and Humane."

    She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics & Computer Science from the University of Alabama and a Doctorate in English from the University of Iowa.

    Dr. Bathurst brings unique experience in human/canine community programming and partnerships with law enforcement to National Canine Research Council as an advisor since 2010. 

    See Dr. Bathurst's whitepaper: "Humane Communities are Safe. Safe Communities are Humane."

  • Bill Bruce

    Bill Bruce

    Mr. Bill Bruce is the former Director of The City of Calgary's Animal & Bylaw Services, a position he held from 2000 to 2012. During his tenure, Mr. Bruce was instrumental in the creation of a model “responsible pet ownership” community, which made Calgary one of the most companionable cities in North America for both people and their pets. Mr. Bruce addressed public officials, animal control conferences and humane associations throughout North America on the success of “The Calgary Model of Responsible Pet Ownership.”

    Mr. Bruce earned a Bachelor’s degree in Technology and has a Certification in Conflict Resolution. Mr. Bruce brings his unique experience in community policy, leadership, communication, issue management, compliance, and enforcement to National Canine Research Council, where he has been an advisor since 2010. 

    See Mr. Bruce’s 2010 video interview where he discusses ineffective dog laws such as breed-specific legislation, pet limit laws, and mandatory spay/neuter, and why these broad-based forms of legislation are ineffective: https://player.vimeo.com/video/26979893

  • Kristopher Irizarry

    Kristopher Irizarry


    Dr. Irizarry is an Associate Professor of Bioinformatics, Genetics, and Genomics at Western University College of Veterinary Medicine. While obtaining his Ph.D. he developed computational methods to identify functionally relevant genetic variations in the human genome. During his Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Neuropsychiatric Institute in the College of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles, he focused his efforts on identifying specific genetic variants that were associated with susceptibility to depression, in an attempt to develop genetic diagnostics that could be used to predict patient response to antidepressant treatments. His work led to the identification of specific genomic regions that predicted clinical patterns of anxiety and depression. The results of that work were ultimately patented by the University.

    Since 2009, Dr. Irizarry and a team of colleagues have been sequencing the genome of the endangered Snow Leopard. Dr. Irizarry is also the Director of the Applied Genomic Center which studies comparative mammalian genomics with an emphasis on decoding the behavioral and anatomical information encoded in animal genomes. Dr. Irizarry has published journal articles on various human and animal genetics topics.

    Dr. Irizarry earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry & Biophysics from Rensselear Polytechnic Institute, and a Doctorate in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology from the University of California Los Angeles.

    Dr. Irizarry brings his unique experience with a range of animals and knowledge of genetics to National Canine Research Council, where has been an advisor since 2010.

    See Dr. Irizarry's whitepaper: "Breed specific or looks specific?"


    See Dr. Irizarry’s 2011 video interview where he explains the genetic basis for why dogs that look alike often do not act alike: https://player.vimeo.com/video/26975521

  • Adam Miklósi

    Ádám Miklósi

    Ph.D., DsC, MSc

    Dr. Miklósi is a professor and the head of the Department of Ethology at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest. In 1994, with Vilmos Csányi and József Topál, he founded the Family Dog Project for the purpose of studying human-dog interaction from an ethological perspective. 

    They hypothesized that during the process of domestication dogs had gained skills that allow specific behavioral adjustments in the human social environment. In their research, they have showed that dogs develop specific attachment relationships with their owners, that dogs are able to communicate with humans using a range of fine-tuned visual and acoustic signals, and that dogs are also able to learn through observation and to utilize the knowledge gained for their own benefit. 

    Dr. Miklósi and the Family Dog Project are pioneers in research on dogs and their relationship with humans, and on 2008, they organized a first-of-its-kind conference for researchers and experts to share results and insights on the topic.  Dr. Miklósi has published many journal articles, and is the author of "Dog Behavior, Evolution, and Cognition," one of the foremost books on the topic, which is now in its second edition.

    Dr. Miklósi earned his Masters from Eötvös Loránd University and his Doctorate and Doctorate of Science from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

    Dr. Miklósi brings his pioneering work in canine cognition and unique experience studying dogs in the context of humans to National Canine Research Council, where has been an advisor since 2014. 

    See Dr. Miklósi’s 2014 video interview where he discusses the importance of canine research in the context of humans, social competence, why dogs are individuals, and why we shouldn't rely on breed to predict behavior: https://player.vimeo.com/video/124416933

  • Victoria Voith

    Victoria Lea Voith

    DVM, MSc, MA, Ph.D., DACVB

    Dr. Voith is a Professor of Animal Behavior at Western University College of Veterinary Medicine. She has varied experience in research, private practice, behavior consulting, teaching, and animal shelter veterinary care. 

    Dr. Voith is a Charter Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (DACVB), and is one of the pioneer researchers and clinicians in the fields of applied animal and veterinary medical behavior. Previously, she has also served as the President of the American Veterinary Ethology Society, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior and the American Association of Human-Animal Bond Veterinarians. In the early 1980’s, she established the first residency in Animal Behavior at a veterinary school, the University of Pennsylvania.

    Dr. Voith has published numerous journal articles and chapters on animal behavior and the human-animal bond, and most recently has led research on visual breed identification of dogs. 

    Dr. Voith earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the College of Veterinary Medicine at The Ohio State University. She also earned a Masters of Science in Veterinary Clinical Sciences, and a Masters of Arts in Experimental and Comparative Psychology from The Ohio State University, and a Doctorate in Neuroanatomy / Animal Behavior from the University of California, Davis.

    Dr. Voith brings her experience in animal behavior, the human-animal bond, animal sheltering, and visual breed identification research to National Canine Research Council, where she has been an advisor since 2010.

    See Dr. Voith’s 2010 video interview, where she describes her early research, which concludes that there is little correlation between DNA identifications and dog adoption agencies' visual identifications of dogs of unknown parentage: https://player.vimeo.com/video/27021304

  • Bonnie Lutz


    Bonnie Lutz has practiced law for over 11 years and is a Shareholder in the Orange County office of Klinedinst PC. She is past president of the American Veterinary Medical Law Association and a current Chair of the American Bar Association's Animal Law Committee. Prior to becoming an attorney, she was the supervising microbiologist of the Mycology department of the Orange County Health Department. Previous to that, she owned a medical device manufacturing company and served as the company’s scientific and regulatory affairs director. Lutz’s practice consists of defending veterinarians in litigation and administrative actions in addition to providing general counsel services for humane societies throughout California. Due to her unique practice areas, she has extensive knowledge of the California Veterinary Medicine Practice Act and the laws which regulate humane societies. She is also an experienced litigator and has defended over 100 veterinarians and humane societies. She also assists other animal rescue organizations and occasionally defends owners in dangerous dog hearings. Lutz is an accomplished lecturer and writer and speaks frequently at conferences and seminars held by the American Veterinary Medical Law Association, Southern California Veterinary Medical Association, California Veterinary Medical Association, and VetPartners, in addition to speaking to veterinary and law students. She has published articles in The PulseCalifornia Veterinarian, and Veterinary Economics, and has been interviewed for articles in Sheltering Magazine. She is an advisor to the State Humane Association of California. Lutz was born in Massachusetts and attended the University of Massachusetts and California Western School of Law.

  • Jessica Hekman

    DVM, MS

    Dr. Hekman is a Ph.D. candidate in Genetics, Genomics, and Bioinformatics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she studies canid behavioral genetics. Her research focuses on lines of foxes who have been selected for tameness or aggression towards humans. She uses gene expression to identify differences in the brains of these two groups.

    Dr. Hekman graduated from the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in 2012 with a dual DVM/MS degree. Her Master's work was on the behavior and cortisol responses of healthy dogs to being hospitalized overnight. After graduation, she completed a shelter medicine specialty internship at the University of Florida Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program.

    Dr. Hekman also writes, lectures, and teaches on genetics from a companion animal behavior perspective. You may learn more about her at: www.dogzombie.com

  • Amy Marder

    Amy Marder

    VMD, CAAB, Policy and Research Consultant

    Dr. Marder is currently working as an animal behavior consultant in private practice. In the past she held positions as the Vice-President of Behavioral Medicine at the ASPCA, the Director of Behavioral Service at the Animal Rescue League of Boston, the Director of the Center for Shelter Dogs, and adjunct faculty at Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. During her time at the ASPCA she founded the Center for Behavioral Therapy and studied behavioral evaluations of shelter dogs.

    Dr. Marder has published many journal articles on the topics of animal behavior and issues affecting animals in shelters. She has also written magazine columns, chapters, and books on pet care and behavior.

    Dr. Marder earned her Veterinary Medical Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, where she also completed the school’s first behavior residency. She is also a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist through the Animal Behavior Society.

    Dr. Marder brings her experience in canine behavior and animal sheltering to National Canine Research Council, where was an advisor from 2010-2014, and has been a Research and Policy Consultant since 2014. 

    See Dr. Marder's video interview on why dogs are individuals: https://player.vimeo.com/video/28418966

  • Donald Cleary

    Donald Cleary

    Policy and Research Consultant

    Mr. Cleary, former Director of Communications and Publications for National Canine Research Council, is Treasurer of Animal Farm Foundation. During his tenure as Director, he served as general editor of the Council's print and web publications. He also addressed veterinary and law students, animal control, and humane organizations at conferences and meetings throughout the U.S., reporting National Canine Research Council's findings concerning various aspects of the human-canine relationship: shifting popular attitudes towards dogs in America, media response to dog bite-related injuries, and animal control policy and practices.

    He is a co-author of the U.S. Department of Justice manual "The Problem of Dog-Related Incidents and Encounters," and of “Co-occurrence of potentially preventable factors in 256 dog bite-related fatalities in the United States (2000–2009),” a comprehensive study published in 2013 the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 

    He has been a Policy and Research Consultant since 2014.  

  • Gary Patronek

    VMD, PhD, Policy and Research Consultant

    Dr. Patronek is currently working as an independent consultant. In the past, he has worked in private practice and shelter medicine, among others. Dr. Patronek is the former Vice President of Animal Welfare at the Animal Rescue League of Boston, where he helped develop the Center for Shelter Dogs. He was a founding board member of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians and the Massachusetts Animal Coalition. Dr. Patronek is a former scientific advisor to the National Council for Pet Population Study and Policy. He was also the first Agnes Varis University Chair in Science and Society at Tufts University and the second Director of the Tufts Center for Animals and Public Policy. Dr. Patronek established the interdisciplinary Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium (HARC) at Tufts, the work of which was instrumental in the listing of animal hoarding under the criteria for the new hoarding disorder in DSM-5 (Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).

    Dr. Patronek has published many journal articles on the topics of epidemiology, animal sheltering, animal hoarding, animal welfare, and pet populations, among others. He has also edited books and book chapters, including the Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters. In 2015, Dr. Patronek and two colleagues completed Animal Maltreatment: Forensic Mental Health Issues and Evaluations, the first book to provide an overview of animal maltreatment as a legal, clinical, and forensic issue.

    Dr. Patronek earned his Veterinary Medical Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. He obtained his PhD in Epidemiology at Purdue University where he was one of the first scientists to study pet relinquishment to shelters

    Dr. Patronek brings his experience in epidemiology, animal sheltering and animal welfare to National Canine Research Council, where he has been a Policy and Research Consultant since 2014.