Meet The Team

Jennifer Rethwisch

Chief Financial Officer

Jennifer has worked in the public sector since 2012, with her current role as Audit Manager for the California State University system. Previously, she worked as an Audit Manager for the City of Long Beach and led the performance audit for Long Beach Animal Care Services, which assessed the services provided. She has volunteered for local non profit Pit Bull rescues and fostered. But it was her close interaction with animals while performing the audit of the Long Beach shelter and witnessing their plight that inspired her to become more engaged in advocacy. Jennifer graduated from CSULB, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting. Jennifer is a Certified Fraud Examiner and a Certified Internal Auditor.

Laura Vena

Executive Director

Laura has been engaged in animal welfare for fifteen years, in rescue, advocacy, community outreach and policy change. She was a rep for the Long Beach Mayor's Animal Care Visioning Task Force to bring progressive change to her local shelter and collaborates with partners to affect change more broadly. She is also a writer, teacher, translator, and artist whose work has appeared in numerous publications. Her book, x/she: stardraped, is an ecopoetics of the LA River and winner of the 1913 Press First Book Prize by John Keene and and nominee for thePushcart Prize. Laura holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Critical Studies from CalArts and is Cofounder of the journal, Two If By Sea Press. You can find Laura online HERE.

Caitlin Hanley

Secretary

Caitlin was inspired to become more involved in advocating for rescue dogs after adopting her own Blockhead, Ezra, in 2018, and witnessing the discrimination they and their humans experience, and experiencing it firsthand in the form of housing discrimination. Caitlin received her Bachelor's Degree in English from California State University, Long Beach and her Master’s Degree in English from Chapman University. She has worked in both education and social work since 2016, and currently teaches ninth grade English. Caitlin helps to create curriculum for Blockhead Brigade’s Urban Dog program, participates in shelter events and has been involved with planning and coordinating events.

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