Eric Rayvid : 917-861-8290 or

No More Homeless Pets® Conference this weekend prepares attendees to return home, save animal lives

What happens in Vegas … will spread everywhere

LAS VEGAS - In this town where it can be a challenge not to get jaded by celebrity and power, more than 1,400 animal welfare supporters will converge Thursday-Sunday at the nation's largest conference designed to inspire support for ending the killing of adoptable dogs and cats confined in shelters.

The 2012 No More Homeless Pets Conference, sponsored by Best Friends Animal Society® at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, 3700 West Flamingo, Oct. 25-Oct. 28, will be an impressive gathering of animal welfare thought leaders, as well as people who work "in the trenches" at shelters and with rescue groups across the country. Last year, more than 1,300 people came together in Las Vegas for an inspirational conference on saving the lives of homeless pets. And what happened in Vegas didn't stay there. Attendees returned home with renewed passion, new ideas, new contacts, and proven ways to help save animals in their communities.

Celebrities are lending their unique talents to the conference. Cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy ("My Cat From Hell" on Animal Planet is casting for its fourth season) and photographer Seth Casteel (his photography book "Underwater Dogs" has been featured on Good Morning America, New York Times, National Geographic and Time Magazine) will be among the presenters sharing their expertise of working with shelters and rescues to rehabilitate and get animals ready for adoption.

Participants will have six tracks to choose from:

  • Marketing Matters: Tools and Tips for Saving More Lives
  • Empty Cages: Keeping Pets out of Shelters
  • Adoption and Fostering: Finding Good Homes for Pets
  • Making Money: Funding Your Animal Rescue Work
  • Animal Care and Behavior: Understanding and Caring for Homeless Pets
  • Innovation: New Solutions to Old Problems

Notable presenters include:

Rich Avanzino - Widely viewed as the father of the no-kill movement, he is president of Maddie's Fund, a $300 million family foundation, which builds community collaborations to create successful models of lifesaving funds veterinary colleges to create shelter medicine programs and implements a national effort to promote accountability and transparency in animal shelter operations. Since 1999, Maddie's Fund has awarded $106 million in grants.

Mike Arms - President of Helen Woodward Animal Center, located in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., he has served 10 years as district manager for the ASPCA in New York and 20 years as director of operations for North Shore Animal League. He developed the Home 4 the Holidays adoption drive, which has found homes for more than seven million orphaned pets since its inception in 1999. Mike also established the center's Animal Center Education Services program to teach "the business of saving lives" to animal organizations.

Brenda F. Barnette - General manager of Los Angeles Animal Services, one of the largest municipal shelter systems in the U.S., with six shelters serving approximately 60,000 animals annually and responding to 20,000 emergency calls each year. In light of severe budget cuts in Los Angeles, Brenda has forged an innovative partnership with Best Friends Animal Society to help Los Angeles become a no-kill city in five years by achieving a 90 percent live save rate.

Bonney Brown - Executive director of Nevada Humane Society in Reno, Nevada, since 2007. In her first year there, she increased adoption rates by 53 percent for dogs, 84 percent for cats, and increased the save rate for dogs and cats countywide by 50 percent. Nevada Humane Society has achieved a 93 percent save rate and, combined with Washoe County's 91 percent save rate for all animals coming into area shelters, it is one of the safest communities in the country for homeless animals.

Rick DuCharme - Founder and director of First Coast No More Homeless Pets, Inc. (FCNMHP), an organization that has been successful in decreasing shelter admissions in Jacksonville, Fla. by more than 35 percent and decreasing shelter deaths by nearly 70 percent. These advances have been accomplished through targeted sterilization programs responsible for spaying/neutering more than 110,000 animals since 2002. FCNMHP operates one of the largest spay/neuter clinics in the country, performing 24,000 surgeries annually.

About Best Friends Animal Society®

Best Friends Animal Society is a nonprofit organization building no-kill programs and partnerships that will bring about a day when there are No More Homeless Pets® . The society's leading initiatives in animal care and community programs are coordinated from its Kanab, Utah, headquarters, the country's largest no-kill sanctuary. This work is made possible by the personal and financial support of a grassroots network of supporters and community partners across the nation.

Become a fan of Best Friends Animal Society on Facebook: //

Follow Best Friends on Twitter: //

For an interview with experts, celebrities at conference, contact the media contact above.