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Valley Humane Society Not Affiliated with National Group; Operates Independently of Humane Society of the United States

February 2, 2018—In light of recent controversy affecting the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Valley Humane Society feels it important to remind the public they are not affiliated with the national organization. “People often assume a funding connection between national groups and smaller local humane societies, but Valley Humane Society is supported primarily by our local community. Those are donations which stay local and help animals and people right here in the Tri-Valley and surrounding areas,” said Executive Director Melanie Sadek.

Last year Valley Humane Society rescued and rehomed nearly 600 dogs and cats. The group also launched a new free online service to help pets find new homes without burdening the public shelter system (Home to Home), and distributed 120,000 meals to low-income families via the AniMeals pet food pantry. Countless hours were spent visiting those in need of a pet’s healing presence during Canine Comfort Pet Therapy sessions at hospitals, senior centers, schools, and the like. Valley Humane Society has been active in the community for more than 30 years. For more information about programs and services offered, please visit

Save Big When You Save a Life on Black Cat Friday Weekend, November 24-25

November 2, 2017—Following the Thanksgiving glut of gravy and gratitude is Black Friday, where frenzied shoppers hope to score the best deals. For those who really want to save big, though, there is Black Cat Friday, a two-day feline adoption event at Valley Humane Society in Pleasanton. All cats and kittens with any black fur go home fee-free to qualified adopters between 10 am and 4 pm on Friday, November 24 and Saturday, November 25.

Talk about specials! Black cats are always in style. They go with everything, and have vibrant personalities that suit any lifestyle. Valley Humane Society carries all sizes and can help find the perfect fit for any family. Save more than money this year…save a life!

Adoption fees for other shades of cat will be 50% off. All cats have been checked by a veterinarian, spayed or neutered, tested for FeLV/FIV, microchipped, and given appropriate vaccinations, dewormer and flea treatment. Standard adoption criteria apply, while “supplies” last. Stock up and save a life!

Adoptions are handled on a first-come, first-served basis to qualified adopters; animals may not be placed “on hold.” Please allow approximately one hour to complete the adoption process. Valley Humane Society is located at 3670 Nevada Street in Pleasanton. Visit or call (925) 426-8656 for more information.

Valley Humane Society Celebrates 30 Years of Change on September 21, 2017; Community Invited

September 1, 2017—For the past 30 years, Valley Humane Society has made positive impact in the lives of cats, dogs and people in the Tri-Valley region. On Thursday, September 21, 2017, the organization will mark this special anniversary with a birthday bash from 5-8 pm at their Pleasanton adoption center, located at 3670 Nevada Street. The community is invited to stop by and join the celebration with cake and ice cream, refreshments, and a furry fun time!

Valley Humane Society was initially formed as a private surrender resource for pet guardians who needed to relinquish their animals but didn’t want to place them at risk of being euthanized in a high-volume public shelter. In the three decades since, the organization has consistently worked at saving and enriching lives, with numerous evolving programs that strengthen the bond between people and pets.

Thousands of animals have received direct assistance from Valley Humane Society over the years. Generations of children have learned humane compassion, and countless local residents have had their lives touched by the unconditional acceptance of a Canine Comfort Pet Therapy visit. Annually, more than 120,000 meals are distributed through the AniMeals pet food pantry to pet guardians struggling to care for their beloved animals.

Valley Humane Society is also asking interested individuals to contribute $30, or $1 per year as a celebration donation to help continue the lifesaving work for another 30 years.

Pleasanton Names First Ambassadog; Title Auctioned at Annual Gala

May 17, 2017—At its May 16 meeting, the City Council proclaimed Amber Hall as Pleasanton’s 2017 Ambassadog. The City of Pleasanton recognizes that creating a livable community means supporting the entire household. For those canine family members, City parks have dog-friendly policies, trails, and a new 1.5 acre dog playground called Cubby’s Dog Park. Now the City has created a new position for this canine-loving community at the request of Valley Humane Society.

“Valley Humane Society has been saving animal lives and supporting our community for 30 years, so it is fitting that we participate with them in designating the first Pleasanton Ambassadog,” said City Manager Nelson Fialho. “Having an official canine representative highlights our dog-friendly policies, while recognizing a valuable local non-profit and its rescue efforts.”

In March, Valley Humane Society held its annual Tails at Twilight gala at which the new Pleasanton Ambassadog title was on the auction block. The Hall family of Pleasanton was eager to be high bidder, as they felt their dog Amber would make an excellent canine representative.

“We are active supporters of animal rescue and proud to support the great work being done by Valley Humane Society. Amber is such an incredible dog and family member. We just knew that she needed to hold this prestigious title,” said Alejandra Hall.

In addition to being presented with a copy of the City proclamation, Amber and her family will also receive special attention on a Tri-Valley Community Television program and a featured article in the Pleasanton Weekly. The City of Pleasanton has also designated a place of honor for Amber and her family in the City’s annual Hometown Holiday Parade.

Take Action to Help Local Animals, People at East Bay Gives on May 4

April 19, 2017—A friend in need…needs a friend in deed! Valley Humane Society invites the community to become friends in “deed” by taking action Thursday, May 4 during East Bay Gives, a 24-hour online local giving day sponsored by East Bay Community Foundation. Visit for information on donating, contests, and participating through social media to provide help and homes to hundreds of local dogs and cats and healing comfort to thousands of people.

Valley Humane Society’s programs and services are made largely possible by the contributions of individual donors. Zorro was an affectionate cat who went from homeless to home-at-last thanks to Valley Humane Society’s adoption program. Milo was a sweet young pup who went from laid up to patched up once his liver condition was treated. And last fall Valley Humane Society’s Canine Comfort teams helped first responders to the Ghost Ship fire move from grief-stricken to hope-given by sharing the soothing comfort of companion dogs. The minimum donation to participate in East Bay Gives is $20.

For a donation with more impact, explore one of several contests available to help Valley Humane Society win a cash prize from East Bay Community Foundation. Special times of day offer opportunities for gift matching, a prize for first donation of the hour, or greatest number of donors at a specified time. Visit for more information about contests and follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

 East Bay Gives is a 24-hour online giving blitz supporting Bay Area nonprofits working in the areas of arts and culture, education, environment, community improvement, health and human services, youth development and much more. The East Bay Community Foundation ( is a leading resource for mobilizing financial resources and community leadership to transform the lives of people in the East Bay with pressing needs.

Gala Promises Magical Night; 3rd Annual Tails at Twilight Set for March 3

January 24, 2017—A  sell-out event for its first two years, Valley Humane Society’s Tails at Twilight gala is practically a “best kept secret.” Scheduled for Friday, March 3, 2017, the festive and elegant soiree celebrates our deep connection with companion animals and raises funds for animal rescue, humane education, and community service efforts. Tails at Twilight will be held at the Palm Event Center, 1184 Vineyard Ave, Pleasanton from 6-11 pm.

This year’s Tails at Twilight will be a magical, memorable evening with a champagne reception, passed hors d’oeuvres, a full no-host bar, and a sumptuous medieval feast, seated and served family style. Live and silent auctions and dancing complete the evening. Tickets are available at for $125 per person. Dress to impress!

An array of incredible auction items will be offered. Live auction packages include dinner for six made by Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department firefighters and the chance to name an Eight Bridges Brewing Company beer after your pet (with custom label design). The San Francisco package includes a two-bedroom suite for two nights at the Fairmont Ghirardelli Square and a day sailing on the Bay, with a car and driver for in-City transportation. For Pleasanton residents only, the exclusive Ambassadog package names the winning bidder’s canine as City of Pleasanton Ambassadog for 2017, complete with declaration, Pleasanton Weekly feature, community television interview, and a spot in the Hometown Holiday Parade.

Proceeds benefit the organization’s lifesaving animal welfare programs and life-enriching community services, such as Canine Comfort pet therapy, which offers therapeutic pet visitation to children with cancer, Alzheimer’s patients, autistic campers, and more.

Tails at Twilight is sponsored by Pleasanton Weekly, Gina Piper Beyond Real Estate, Pet Food Express, Ogden Costa Creative Group, SAGE Centers for Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Care, Four Paws Veterinary Clinic, and Fremont Bank Foundation. Sponsorship opportunities are still available; please call (925) 426-8656 for more information.

Pet Therapy Dogs Take Active Role at East Bay Stand Down, Offer Solace to Homeless and Veterans

September 13, 2016—More than 400 people will experience the healing power of dogs at this year’s East Bay Stand Down event, thanks to Valley Humane Society’s Canine Comfort Pet Therapy program. Members of the San Francisco Bay Area’s local homeless population and at-risk Veterans community will have a chance to interact with therapy teams on September 16 and 17 of the four-day event at the Alameda County Fairgrounds.

East Bay Stand Down organizes a variety of community groups biannually to provide needed services to homeless citizens and at-risk Veterans. This year’s pet therapy offering more than doubles the amount of individuals who will have access to the unconditional love and support that only a dog can provide. Taking the lead on coordinating therapy dog teams for 2016’s expanded program is Valley Humane Society volunteer Paul Wankle. Paul observed the need for expansion to better serve the large number of event participants during a previous volunteer experience at the event.

“Participating in East Bay Stand Down is an honor for me and my therapy dog, Buddy. I am proud to be associated with East Bay Stand Down since both of my parents served during World War II, with my mother being an early member of the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) supporting our troops. As an active Canine Comfort Pet Therapy dog handler for Valley Humane Society, I have the pleasure of watching Buddy make a deep emotional impact on those he interacts with,” said Paul.

The effect dogs have on humans has received increasing attention, with countless research projects concluding dogs are great medicine for humans. Interacting with a dog has been proven to change a person’s brain chemistry by increasing chemicals like oxytocin, endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin. The release of these chemicals has a direct effect on those suffering from a number of physiological and mental illnesses. “When I started working at Valley Humane Society, I was surprised how many doctors prescribed time at our facility cuddling with animals to their patients suffering from depression,” said Valley Humane Society Executive Director, Melanie Sadek.

Valley Humane Society’s Canine Comfort Pet Therapy program boasts a roster of 200 therapy dog teams and an excellent reputation in pet therapy, thanks to a thorough screening process which requires background checks on handlers and annual veterinary check-ups for participating dogs. Canine Comfort teams visit locations all over the East Bay, including Veterans Affairs in Livermore where Valley Humane Society is the VA’s exclusive pet therapy provider.

Valley Humane Society Teams Up with NBC Bay Area and Telemundo 48 to Clear the Shelters

July 13, 2016—Valley Humane Society has teamed up with NBC Bay Area/KNTV and Telemundo 48/KSTS to host NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations’ Clear the Shelters second annual nationwide pet adoption drive. Valley Humane Society will offer the public fee-free adoptions on Saturday, July 23, as part of the nationwide Clear the Shelters initiative that seeks to find new homes for homeless pets.

Valley Humane Society is located at 3670 Nevada Street in Pleasanton, and will be open from 10 am to 4 pm on July 23. Standard adoption criteria apply. For more information and to view adoptable pets, please visit

A full list of participating shelters is available at nbcbayarea/ Follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #ClearTheShelters or #DesocuparLosAlbergues. Event-themed Snapchat filters will be activated on July 23 and a real-time pet “Adoption Tracker” at will record the total number of pets that are adopted nationwide.

This year’s Clear the Shelters event comes after last year’s highly successful inaugural effort, which resulted in nearly 20,000 pets finding new homes through an unprecedented partnership between the NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations and hundreds of animals shelters located all across the country and in Puerto Rico. The nationwide day of action literally emptied dozens of animal shelters across the country and inspired local communities to take action and open their homes to animals in need.











Supporting Businesses

Valley Humane Society thanks the following business partners for their donation on significant or ongoing services and support. We encourage you to show appreciation for their compassionate contributions by supporting them in turn.

Randick, O’Dea & Tooliatos, LLP Pet Food Express
Ogden Costa Creative Group
Maddie’s Fund® Feline Medical Center
Performance Landscape PCG Logo Final_Pacific Color Graphics
 Shear Magic by Cinda & Michael proformalogo-bt
TheCloroxCompany_Medium Richert Lumber
Dodger's Paws cropped-charitycab-brandmark (1)

About VHS

Valley Humane Society has worked to save and improve the lives of Tri-Valley companion animals since 1987. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, our programs and services are made possible by the generosity of private donors — we receive no government funds, tax dollars, or money from national humane organizations.

Our Vision

A world in which every animal is loved and every person knows the love of an animal.

Our Mission

Valley Humane Society (VHS) creates a brighter future for cats and dogs by encouraging and strengthening the bond between people and pets. VHS rescues and rehabilitates companion animals, champions responsible caretaking, shares pets’ soothing affections with people in need of comfort, and supports and preserves existing pet-guardian relationships.

Our Values


Kindness is at the core of our mission. At VHS we treat everyone with respect and understanding. Animals at VHS are treated individually with the sensitivity and caring they deserve.


Everyone deserves a friend. VHS creates opportunities for people to experience the love of a pet, as well as connect with others. We believe that life lived as part of a loving family is richer, happier, and more fulfilling.


VHS is a warm, happy place, a feeling reflected by the well-being of the animals in our care. We believe visiting, volunteering, and working here should be a fun, positive experience, a vibe we carry out with us into the community. Our good spirits cultivate enthusiasm for our mission and keep us hopeful when things get challenging.


We appreciate the many talents brought to bear by our volunteers and staff to achieve our mission. The mental, physical, and emotional gifts offered to VHS are as important as the financial contributions, both large and small, of our many donors. We recognize that these gifts, taken together, are what allow us in turn to serve the animals and people of our community.


The task before us is greater than any one person. Our relationships with the community, business, and other rescue organizations increase our capacity and amplify our impact. We work together to achieve a common goal. At VHS we lead the way by actively cultivating cooperative partnerships.


Our path is paved with more than good intentions. At VHS we strive to act with integrity and honesty. Decisions are based on sound judgment and careful reasoning. We are fiscally responsible and understand our commitment to our animals, donors, volunteers, and community.

Sponsorships & Corporate Giving

Join Valley Humane Society as a sponsor, and demonstrate your corporate compassion to employees, clients, and the community! With many opportunities to get involved in both our animal welfare and community programs, it’s easy to give back, feel good, and spotlight your philanthropic contributions.

Please contact Development Manager Kim Stange-Herlihy today for more information on any of these opportunities.

Program Sponsorship

Link your name to one of our three community outreach programs: Canine Comfort Pet Therapy, Animeals, Humane Education. Each program reaches thousands of community members every year and offers a wonderful way to support a great cause while meeting your social responsibility goals.

Event Sponsorship

Join us for one of our annual fundraising events, including the gala event Tails at Twilight or Yappy Hour series. Select from a variety of sponsorship levels to fulfill your sponsorship objectives.

Event Coordination

Valley Humane Society is lucky to have wonderful community partners who coordinate events throughout the year to benefit the organization. Events like a raffle, a dog wash, or Santa Pet Photos are some examples of great partner-based fundraising activities. Bring us your idea for a community event to benefit VHS, and we’ll explore our many cross-promotional channels to help you reach your goals.

Holiday Giving

Let VHS help you decorate for the holidays! Contact us by November 1 and we will supply you with a set of adorable ornaments bearing much-needed wish list items to directly benefit our programs and adoptable animals. Everything from pet bedding, treats, and toy mice to small financial contributions or assistance for lifesaving surgeries is included. Hang ornaments on your lobby Christmas tree or whatever else you display for the holidays and encourage staff and clients to help you fulfill all the wishes.

Donation Matching

Spread the good by encouraging your employees in their personal charitable contributions or volunteer work. Donation matching doubles their efforts and has twice the impact for our rescue and community programs. If you already offer a matching program, please consider endorsing VHS as one of your preferred charities. We are also available to speak during giving campaigns, and would love to share our passion for pets with you in a specially-tailored presentation of whatever length is desired!

Teambuilding Projects

Looking for a teambuilding project to unify and energize your group while supporting a great cause? Valley Humane Society offers volunteer teambuilding activities for up to 12 employees at our adoption center. Projects can include indoor or outdoor work. Our classroom can be used before or after the project for additional projects or offsite planning sessions. A minimum donation is requested.

Food Drives

Valley Humane Society’s AniMeals program relies on community donations of cat and dog food. Coordinating a food drive to help meet the programs food goals is an excellent way to get your team involved, support a wonderful program, and help thousands of families in the Tri-Valley. More than 20,000 pounds of food is needed each year to meet the demand of low-income families who need assistance feeding their pets.


Hope Hospice

Those who know the love and support of a pet can understand how important that relationship becomes to individuals in hospice care. Through a unique partnership with Hope Hospice, VHS allows patients to enjoy the loving company and comfort of their beloved cats and dogs for as long as possible by providing in-home pet care during this critical time. Then, if no other family member is able to assume guardianship of an animal once the patient dies, VHS takes that pet into our adoption system to find a new forever home.


AniMealsWe would much rather see pets in homes than in shelters. That’s why Valley Humane Society operates AniMeals, a pet food pantry that provides regular free meals for the dogs and cats of seniors and low-income families. Read this great article about our collaboration with Meals on Wheels delivery.

Donations of wet or dry dog and cat food are always accepted, even if opened or recently expired, and can be dropped off at VHS during open hours. Pet-related items such as litter, treats, and toys are also needed.

Volunteer opportunities with AniMeals are ongoing; please contact Volunteer Programs Manager Shoshannah Reed for more information.

Pet food distribution takes places through partnerships with local food banks:

In Pleasanton:
Valley Bible Church
1st Thursday of every month 6:30 – 7:30 pm

In Livermore:
Asbury United Methodist Church
4743 East Ave
1st Monday of the month 3:30 – 5:30 pm

Tri-Valley Haven
3rd Wednesday of every month 12:00 – 1:00 pm

Saint Bartholomew’s Church
678 Enos Way
4th Friday of every month 3:30 – 5:30 pm

Critter Camp

Camper_boy with catWhether you’re curious about cats or dedicated to dogs, we have the camp for you! Join VHS for a hands-on humane adventure teaching kindness, compassion, and responsible pet care. Each week-long camp runs from 10 am – 2 pm daily; registration is $300 per student. Check back next spring for enrollment information on this infinitely valuable program for the young pet lover!

2018 Summer Camp

Paw Partners

Ages 6-8

Join us for indoor and outdoor Humane Education activities and games, animal yoga, and critter crafts to take home or for shelter enrichment. Learn the elements of responsible pet guardianship and what it takes to keep a pet happy and healthy. Practice acting safely around pets, including how to greet and play with animals by paying attention to their body language. Team up for the week with an adoptable kitty for Paws and Tales, practicing reading fluency while helping the cats to be more comfortable during their stay. Meet a variety of animal ambassadors (rabbits, pigeons and doves, reptiles and more!) and learn from accompanying guest speakers. Discover what you can do to help our fellow creatures and the environment, while strengthening skills in empathy, compassion, mindfulness and social responsibility. Includes Critter Camp t-shirt and Journal. Bring a lunch, snack, and reusable water bottle each day.

Animal Allies

Ages 9-11

Join us for indoor and outdoor Humane Education activities and games, animal yoga, and critter crafts to take home or for shelter enrichment. Learn the elements of responsible pet guardianship and what it takes to keep a pet happy and healthy. Practice acting safely around pets, including how to greet and play with animals by paying attention to their body language. Team up for the week with an adoptable kitty for Paws and Tales, reading out-loud to your feline partner to help them be more comfortable during their stay. Meet a variety of animal ambassadors (rabbits, pigeons and doves, reptiles and more!) and learn from accompanying guest speakers. Discover what you can do to help our fellow creatures and the environment, while strengthening skills in empathy, compassion, mindfulness and social responsibility. Includes Critter Camp t-shirt and Journal. Bring a lunch, snack, and reusable water bottle each day.

Humane Heroes

Explore careers working with animals, learn pet first aid tips, relax with animal yoga, and review responsible pet guardianship, and what it takes to keep a pet happy and healthy. Practice pet safety, including how to interpret pet communication, interact with and train them. Team up for the week with an adoptable kitty for Paws and Tales, researching animal topics while socializing with your feline partner. Meet a variety of guest speakers who work in animal-related fields as well as their accompanying animal ambassadors (rabbits, pigeons and doves, reptiles, and more!). Discover what you can do to help our fellow creatures and the environment while developing your creativity, mindfulness, leadership and critical-thinking skills. Includes Critter Camp t-shirt and Journal. Bring a lunch, snack, and reusable water bottle each day.

Other Camp Programs

Critter Camp Leadership Program

Ages 15-17 • $100 per week for one or more weeks of camp
Critter Camp Leaders love working with children and animals, and are able to engage the attention of campers while they supervise activities and games.

Applicants are interviewed and attend an Orientation before camp begins. Not all applicants will be accepted into the Leadership Program.

Please contact our Humane Education department for more information about the CC Leadership Program.

Board of Directors

Gina Piper, Board Chair

Gina has spent her entire life in Pleasanton and is very passionate about her hometown. A Foothill High School graduate, she earned her degree in Nutritional Science at Cal Poly University. Upon returning home from San Luis Obispo, Gina embarked on her successful career in real estate. During her 21-year career she has assumed many leadership roles, including President of the Valley Marketing Association as well as President of the Women’s Council of Realtors, and she also served as Director of the Bay East Association of Realtors and the California Association of Realtors. Among her many accomplishments in real estate, Gina is most honored to have been voted the Best Realtor in Pleasanton from 2011 to the present by readers of the Pleasanton Weekly. Giving back to the community that has given her so much is very important to Gina. She is currently President-elect for Pleasanton North Rotary and authors the very popular local Facebook page “Living in Pleasanton,” which she developed in 2008 as a platform to help support and promote local businesses. Her love of animals began with her first boxer, Rico, and she now shares her home with two wonderful dogs: Kodiak the boxer, or Kodi, as his friends call him, and Frankie the Chihuahua/Italian Greyhound mix she rescued in 2011.

Lori James Rice, Executive Committee Officer

Well-known in the community from her prolific volunteer activities, Lori James Rice brings a wealth of volunteer management, fundraising, and event planning experience to VHS. A member of the VHS Board of Directors since 2006, Lori guided the organization through a capital campaign and the building of our long-awaited adoption center. She served as Board Chair in 2010. Additionally, Lori has co-chaired numerous VHS fundraising events, including Paws in the Park, Jazzed About Pets, and Villa del Sole. In 2014 she stepped down from her Board role to assist as interim Volunteer Program Manager, then rejoined the board in 2015. Among her achievements Lori lists: first woman President of Amador Valley High School’s Athletic Boosters Club and 2008 recipient of the City of Pleasanton’s Juanita Haugen Community of Character Award, service on the PTSA board and School Site Councils for Amador Valley High and Vintage Elementary schools, and service on the Executive Board for the Pleasanton PTA Council. She is also a 1997 graduate of the Leadership Pleasanton program. Lori’s family includes her daughter Catie, son Kevin, dogs Rocky, Izzy, and Walter, cat Julia Roberts, and grand-kitty Vinnie, joined by occasional foster animals.

Clyde Ogata, Treasurer

Growing up in Honolulu, Clyde began a lifelong journey with pets that included a dog, rabbit, mouse, as well as tropical fish, frogs, chickens, and homing pigeons. He has lived in San Ramon for nearly 20 years with his wife and three children, and they share the house with three cats from Valley Humane Society and other rescue organizations. Clyde began volunteering in VHS’s cat isolation unit in 2011, and joined the Board in November 2016.

Clyde is currently Managing Tax Counsel at Chevron Corporation’s headquarters in San Ramon, and loves his short commute time. Prior to that role, he was a Tax Planning Coordinator for Chevron’s exploration and development operations in Australia, Southern Africa, and the Middle East. He became a CPA in Hawaii and California and received his law degrees from Santa Clara University and New York University. Clyde served on the Steering Committee of Chevron’s Asian Employee Network and was Chairperson of the State Bar of California’s Corporate Tax Committee.

Paul Bommarito, Director

Growing up in Michigan, Paul began a lifelong journey of loving animals that included goldfish, tropical fish, gerbils, a Flemish Giant rabbit, his beloved dog Taffy, and now his beloved dog Lexi. Paul has lived in Pleasanton for nearly 8 years where he and his wife raised their two adored sons. Paul previously served as a board member for the Silicon Valley March of Dimes. Paul recently joined Valley Humane Society’s Board in August 2017.

Paul is a graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in electrical engineering. He attended the University of Michigan where he received a masters in business administration. Early in his career, Paul held various sales and leadership positions at Johnson Controls, AT&T, Sun Micro Systems and spent the majority of his career at Cisco Systems in leadership roles. Paul currently is Vice President Americas Enterprise Sales for Nvidia in Santa Clara, CA.

Paul is passionate and his love of animals runs deep. Paul became acquainted with Valley Humane Society during the Clear the Shelters program. Paul was so impressed with both the staff and the facility he wanted to support the mission both financially and with his services. Paul is thrilled to both represent and be a part of Valley Humane Society.

Peggy Budnick, Director

Peggy has lived in Pleasanton for over 25 years and has been an avid animal lover all her life. She enjoys spending time at animal rescues wherever she travels around the country. For the last 10 years, Peggy has been involved in various fundraising activities for Valley Humane Society.  In 2015, she decided to further her commitment to the animals in our community by joining the Board.

Peggy works as Sr. Director of Business Development at Corporate Visions Inc., a marketing and sales messaging, content, and skills training company that helps companies create more conversations that win. Corporate Visions is a supporter of Valley Humane Society and actively promotes a culture of giving back to the community in a variety of ways.

Peggy and her husband, Dave, currently live with five rescue cats: Charlie, Abigail, Buddy, Sheldon, and Lilly.

Sandy Gardiner, Director

Sandy is a California native, calling Pleasanton her home since 1991 – raising two Amador Valley graduates. Sandy has been an avid animal lover all her life. She rescued her first of two dogs at the age of 19 while attending the University of California, Davis where she graduated with a degree in Management Economics. After college, Sandy returned to the Bay Area to begin her career in the life sciences.

Sandy currently holds the position of Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer with Cutera, Inc., a medical aesthetics company located in Brisbane, CA. Although much of her 30 year career has been focused in medical devices, Sandy has also worked in biotechnology, diagnostics and specialty pharmaceuticals. She has been Chief Financial Officer of three publicly traded entities and four privately held companies.

Over the years, Sandy has focused her spare time volunteering in a variety of community or special needs programs related to animals. Whether mucking stalls and cleaning hooves of rescued horses to prepare them for troubled youths to ride, or providing business knowledge to organizations in support their mission, Sandy finds this time fulfilling in her walk in life. Sandy joined Valley Humane Society’s Board in August 2018, an organization she is honored to be a part of.

No longer raising children, Sandy enjoys spending time with her husband and dog Cadán, an Irish terrier, who goes just about everywhere with them.

Jennifer Hosterman, Director

Jennifer holds a juris doctorate from the John F. Kennedy University School of Law. She and her husband raised their three daughters in Pleasanton. Jennifer is passionate about her community, and in 2002 was elected to serve on the City Council, and subsequently as the Mayor of Pleasanton from 2004 – 2012. During her public service, she represented the people of Pleasanton on a number of local, regional, statewide and national boards and committees, including Alameda County Transportation Commission, Association of Bay Area Governments, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Local Government Commission for California, co-Chair Water Committee for the United States Conference of Mayors, and served as a member of the Local Government Advisory Committee for the Federal Environmental Protection Agency under Secretaries Jackson and McCarthy, under the Clean Water Act. During her service, Jennifer received numerous awards, but the one she is most proud of came in 2014 when she was recognized as a Local Tri-Valley Hero. She was also awarded the Alumni of the Year from John F. Kennedy School of Law.

Subsequent to her public service, Jennifer joined Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Drysdale Properties as a Realtor. Jennifer is passionate about all animals. As a child, she raised everything from chickens to horses, had goats and cats and dogs, and especially loved snakes. In her spare time, she enjoys walking her dog, Faith, cooking, and flying her Harris’ hawk, Sarraqa. Jennifer is a licensed Master Falconer. Her give-back to her community is her volunteerism with Valley Humane Society. Jennifer also serves on the Board of the California Hawking Club.

Dr. Marianna Juergens, Director

Dr. Marianna Juergens graduated from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1999. After practicing in a traditional hospital environment for many years, Dr. J established Tri-Valley Mobile Veterinary Service in 2009 to offer a low-stress alternative for pet healthcare. She is passionate about practicing high-quality, comprehensive medicine, which she has provided in the Tri-Valley for over 13 years. In 2006, Dr. J completed a year-long course in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture. Dr. J has been a long-time volunteer in Valley Humane Society’s Canine Comfort Pet Therapy program, participating in Paws to Read at the Pleasanton Library with her Italian Greyhound, Icy. She joined the Board of Directors in 2014. Dr. J currently shares her home with four beloved rescued pets: Icy, Chihuahuas Esme and Gia, and Daphne the talking cat.

Joi Pentin, Director

Joi was born and raised in Pleasanton, California. She attended the University of California, Berkeley and currently works in Business Operations at tech start-up by the name of GuideSpark. She was raised with the motto of ‘Service over Self’ and follows in the shoes of her father, Jerry Pentin, who has played an active role in giving back – whether it be on Pleasanton City Council, Rotary International, or numerous other organizations. Joi spent a large portion of her childhood and young adult life playing competitive golf, where she competed amongst the top players in the nation and at the collegiate level where she played on the Cal Women’s Golf Team. In partnership with that experience she spent a lot of time mentoring junior players in The First Tee and LPGA-USGA Girls Golf Organization. Now that she finds herself in the working world she wanted to become involved in helping to act as a voice for animal welfare. Valley Humane Society offered just that – a solid organization in her hometown. Joi joined the Board in 2014.

On the animal front – Joi does not personally own any animals in her small San Francisco apartment, but she considers her pets at her parents’ house to be her own. They have a dog by the name of Chester who is a quite a project but is improving daily. In addition they have two cats – Patrick and Vince. Vince is her favorite, a 22-pound ball of fur who demands full attention of everyone in the room. She looks forward to the day that she can walk into Valley Humane Society and get one of her own.

Phillip Vermont, Legal Advisor

Phillip has been a partner at the law firm of Randick O’Dea & Tooliatos, LLP in Pleasanton since June of 1995, practicing as a litigator in the real estate, business, and construction areas. His practice includes complex landlord-tenant disputes primarily on behalf of property owners and property managers. Phillip was awarded the Bay East Association of REALTORS 2011 Affiliate of the Year.

He has lived with pets his entire life and currently lives with two Maine Coon cats, Trooper and Mr. Buddy, who were adopted in 2009 from VHS. Phillip served on the VHS Board for six years and termed out in 2010 as the new VHS building was nearly complete. After one year as an active volunteer and the VHS General Counsel, he is again serving on the Board as of January 2012.

Lisa Hazelwood, HR Advisor

Lisa’s passion for animals and desire to help find long-term solutions to the homeless pet problem in her community has led her to join the VHS Board of Directors in 2012. As a young girl, Lisa was introduced to the harsh reality of pet overpopulation when a box of kittens was abandoned overnight in her parent’s driveway. Although her family adopted two of the kittens and found homes for the others, the experience left a lasting impression helping to shape Lisa’s views on the importance of responsible pet guardianship and the impact that spay/neuter and animal adoption programs have on bettering the lives of companion animals.

Lisa grew up in Pleasanton and moved to Southern California after high school to study music at CSU, Northridge.  She relocated to the Midwest where she continued her graduate studies receiving master’s degrees in Music Therapy and Health Services Administration from the University of Kansas. Lisa has worked as a Human Resources professional in the high-tech industry for nearly twenty years, including managing the employee benefits and retirement programs for Equinix, Inc. in Redwood City. Lisa and her daughter are fortunate to share their lives with three amazing rescue cats: Hailey, Twyla, and Lucky.

Community Collaboration

Paws to Read

Operated by local Public Libraries including Pleasanton, Livermore and Danville, Paws to Read brings Valley Humane Society Pet Therapy dog/owner teams into a library setting to promote literacy and a love of animals in children age five to twelve. By providing a safe, happy experience with animals, Paws to Read encourages children to improve their reading skills in a non-judgmental environment.

Hope Hospice

We have a partnership with Hope Hospice, whose goal is to provide quality, end-of-life care for patients. Valley Humane Society contributes in three ways. First, we offer guidance and support to hospice staff, volunteers, and clients regarding various pet issues. Then, barring an alternate housing arrangement, we may accept the animal into our adoption program to eliminate a patient’s anxiety over the future of his or her pet. Lastly, we provide volunteers to care for the pet in-home when the patient becomes unable to do so himself. This service is only available to clients of Hope Hospice.

Daisey’s Gift of Life

A special donation of pet resuscitation kits by Valley Humane Society to fire districts in Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin, the San Ramon Valley, and portions of Alameda County. Known as Daisey’s Gift of Life, a variety of specially shaped masks allow firefighters to deliver life-saving oxygen to pets suffering from smoke inhalation.


Melanie Sadek, Executive Director

Melanie Sadek 2017_squareMelanie Sadek is the Executive Director of Valley Humane Society (VHS). She has worked in both for-profit and non-profit environments, including 11 years of corporate and small business management. As manager of the traffic safety department for the California State Automobile Association, Melanie worked to develop education and outreach programs and build volunteer coalitions. She was also instrumental in governmental affairs activities, facilitating effective marketing outreach programs, and screening non-profit funding requests. Melanie opened Murphy’s Paw, a retail store in downtown Pleasanton selling dog and cat supplies in 2007. During the four years she owned the store, Melanie created strong brand recognition and great community support, which she passed along the new owners in late 2011. Melanie’s excellent relationship-building skills coupled with her marketing and public relations experience have allowed VHS to step out of the shadows and become a more visible animal welfare leader within the TriValley region. Melanie’s dedication to supporting the community was recognized in 2016 when she received the TriValley Hero Award for her Community Spirit.

Sandy St. Dennis, Medical Director

Sandy has been an active volunteer for VHS since 2001, serving as VHS’s Medical Director, providing veterinary medical care and supervision for all VHS pets. A graduate of UCD veterinary medical school, Sandy has previously practiced veterinary medicine in Fremont and Livermore as well as working as a spay/neuter surgeon for the Tri City Animal Shelter in Fremont. She is an advocate for the humane treatment of homeless animals as well as responsible pet ownership. She is a member of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians. Her family includes her husband, 2 children, 4 cats and 2 dogs.

Yayoi daCosta, Operations Manager

Yayoi DaCosta with Zoe2_squareYayoi started at VHS as a volunteer assistant vet tech in 2010. She has been in the animal medical field all of her life. She began by following a dairy cow veterinarian on his daily rounds by the time she started to walk. Her most recent involvement prior to joining VHS was volunteering at a SPCA in Southern California. On the business side, after graduating from UC Davis with a business degree, and being fluent in her native Japanese, Yayoi became an asset manager to the largest fee for service company and managed over 2 million square feet of commercial real estate all over the United States. Her family includes a husband of 20 plus years, boys 9 and 11 and faithful dogs Zoe and Mia.

Melissa Adkins,  Marketing Communications Manager

Melissa Adkins_squareJoining Valley Humane Society in February 2012, Melissa is in her second stint with VHS, having also worked for the organization from 2005-2008. In the interim, she worked as a marketing coordinator for Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation in Walnut Creek, where she honed her writing and social media skills. A San Diego native, Melissa has lived in the Tri-Valley for more than thirty years. She shares a home with her husband, daughter, and two black cats named Olive and Simone. Outside, she feeds a pair of black feral cats, dubbed Top-Notch and Sideswipe, and the occasional racoon.

Shoshannah Reed, Volunteer Programs Manager

Shoshannah Reed_squareShoshannah’s love of animals led her to become a volunteer for VHS in 2007, when she helped care for the beloved dog of one of our early Hope Hospice partnership clients. She officially joined staff in 2010 as Humane Education Manager, developing the humane education and Critter Camp programs. In 2015 she assumed the role of Volunteer Program Manager. Shoshannah also oversees the Canine Comfort Pet Therapy Program. Her current dog, Peach, is a VHS alumni pet adopted in 2018.

Emily Scholz, Adoption and Foster Manager

Emily Scholz_squareEmily started volunteering with Valley Humane in February of 2012, providing customer service at the front desk, as an adoptions counselor and at off-site events. In November of 2014, Emily became a staff member continuing to focus on customer service and adoptions.  Emily starting fostering dogs and puppies in 2015 as well as managing the foster program at Valley Humane.  Emily lives in Pleasanton with a cocker spaniel, Poppy, and two cats, Salty and Olive.

Kim Stange-Herlihy, Development Manager

Kim Stange-HerlihyKim Stange Herlihy was born and raised in the Bay Area. She spent her early adult years working in the medical services field as an EMT while working toward a Fire Science Degree. During this period she began to realize that a far more compelling drive was to care for abused and abandoned animals and the pursuit of funding sources to secure the future of vulnerable pets in need.

For the past decade, Kim has worked in the Non-Profit industry. For over five years she was the Development Director for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, (SPCA) of Northern Nevada. A relocation of her husband’s job brought Kim to North County Humane Society as their Shelter Services Coordinator primarily focusing on community outreach and fundraising. In 2012 an opportunity to return to her home in the Bay Area brought her to Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter as Communication and Marketing Director. During her period of employment with these three animal life-saving organizations, she raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and assisted with more than 7,000 animals that were rescued and given a second chance for happiness.

When not working, Kim enjoys spending time with her husband and their six animals. Kim’s other passions include health and fitness. A certified Pilates instructor for ten years, she additionally donates time to students with special needs who could not normally afford private instruction.

Becki Mathers, Volunteer Programs Assistant

Becki Mathers with Wombat_squareBecki’s first venture with Valley Humane Society was as a foster volunteer. After several months caring for some great foster animals (including one “foster failure” which joined her family permanently), Becki took on a customer service position at the adoption center’s front desk. In July 2017, a little more than one year after she began volunteering with VHS, Becki joined the staff. A huge animal lover, she is extremely grateful for the opportunity to work in animal welfare. Becki is also currently a site supervisor for Open Heart Kitchen, an organization dedicated to feeding people in need. She grew up in Chichester, on the south coast of England, and worked six years as a restaurant manager for a fast food company in the U.K. In 2012 she left to go travelling and settled in Melbourne, Australia to be with her (now) husband. The pair moved to California in 2016. Here only pet is her foster failure Robinson Crusoe, a chatty Siamese-mix kitty.

Laura Van Wagner, Humane Education Coordinator

Laura grew up in Pleasanton and graduated from Amador Valley High School in 2013. After pursuing a BA in Human Geography & Planning from California State University Chico, Laura returned to Pleasanton at the beginning of 2018 and began volunteering for Valley Humane Society doing dog care. Later that year Laura joined the staff Operations teams, and subsequently assumed the role of Humane Education Coordinator. Laura has loved animals all her life, and currently has a sweet Shih Tzu/Poodle mix dog named Pirate. When she’s not at Valley Humane Society, you can find Laura hiking, traveling, or enjoying time with friends and family.

Robert Sterne, Operations Coordinator

Robert Sterne_and_Lex_squareRobert grew up in Livermore, and graduated from Livermore High School. He received his BS in Chemistry from University of California, Davis, and his MS in Chemistry from the University of Arizona. It was while in Arizona that he adopted his first pet, a black cat named Lex, in 2009. Robert returned to the Bay Area after graduation, and was introduced to VHS in 2014 when his mom adopted a dog. Soon after, Robert became an active volunteer working in both Cat Care and the AniMeals program. He accepted a part-time staff position as an Operations Coordinator in 2015.

Snjezi Krattiger, Operations Coordinator

Snjezi grew up in Switzerland with Croatian roots. She was always surrounded by animals. Snjezi earned a higher business degree and worked for nearly 15 years in sales and marketing, but after 9 years as a stay-at-home mom, she was ready for a new adventure. A love of animals brought Snjezi to Valley Humane Society in 2016, and she began volunteering. The following year she graduated the Animal Behavior College as a Veterinary Assistant, and in 2018 joined the Valley Humane team as Operations Coordinator. She is happy to be part of such a great organization. Snjezi has lived in Pleasanton with her husband and daughter since 2014.

Anna Moniz, Operations Coordinator

Anna Moniz_cropAnna began volunteering for Valley Humane Society in 2015 doing cat care in Kitty City and the isolation ward. Having grown up with a variety of pets, Anna’s love of animals extends back her entire life. After earning her degree from UC Davis in microbiology, Anna worked for a biotech company as a microbiologist, later moving into clinical research. During her spare time she trained her Rhodesian Ridgeback in AKC obedience trials, and her Siberian Husky in Canine Nose Work. After getting married and having children Anna expanded her family by adopting two cats from VHS in 2010. She now shares her home with her husband, four kids, one dog, four cats, one corn snake, and a leopard gecko.

Brooke Mapelli, Operations Coordinator

Brooke was a dog care volunteer before joining the Valley Humane team in 2018. She is a student at Ohlone College and also moonlights as a barista.