Erik Alsop, Animal Care Associate
Erik is a writer and farmer who lives in the North East Kingdom. He has a family of three dogs who keep him busy when he is at home. Prior to NCAL, Erik has worked at animal shelters in northern California as well as with private pit bull rescue organizations.
Carlee Brion, Shelter Director
Carlee Brion began working for NCAL in 2012 after graduating college in New Hampshire and moving to Vermont. Carlee has spent a few years caring for dogs and cats as a Shelter Associate, caring for customers and animals alike as NCAL’s Customer Service Manager, and was promoted to Pet Adoption Center Manager in May of 2017. Carlee has recently been promoted to Shelter Director. Growing up, Carlee always had animals living in her home. She currently has two rescue pups and two cats. Carlee loves living in Vermont and exploring all that it has to offer. Carlee and her dogs, Winnie and Roscoe, enjoy hiking and running in the warmer months (although Winnie is secretly is a couch potato at heart).
Jamie Dutil, Animal Health Manager
Jamie has been working with animals in a professional capacity for nearly a decade, ever since graduating from the University of Vermont with a degree in Animal Science. While working in a veterinary clinic, she realized her passion for helping to combat pet homelessness through the nonprofit sector, and went on to obtain a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from Walden University and a certification in humane education. She carries a wide diversity of experience in the animal welfare field, including private practice veterinary clinics, high-volume/high-quality spay/neuter clinics, other animal shelters and humane societies, and volunteering as a first responder for the Vermont Disaster Animal Response Team. She also spent two and a half years living in deep South Texas, fundraising and working to implement life-saving programs in a severely under-served city with an overwhelming pet overpopulation crisis.
Meagan Ferris, Animal Care Associate
Animals have always been a big part of Meagan’s life, and she has considered each one of her adopted pets as family. Prior to joining NCAL in November 2016, Meagan’s worked at an SPCA veterinary clinic in Orlando, Florida, and before that at a daycare and boarding facility where she enjoyed interacting with the animals. When she is not busy with the animals, Meagan enjoys photography, painting, kickboxing, hiking, and taking part in any long outdoor adventures with her daughter, Ryker, and Labrador retriever, Endo.
Andrew Franklin, Animal Care & Adoptions Associate
Before NCAL, Andrew has had years of experience with dogs, having worked as a dog walker as well as a grooming van manager. Besides occupying his time with the shelter animals, he enjoys farming, skiing and camping. He hopes to own his own free range dog sanctuary one day.
Lusana Masrur, Communications & Outreach Manager
Lusana’s earliest memories include farm animals, cats, dogs, rabbits and a crane, all of whom helped her become an animal lover. After college, she worked as the E-Coordinator for the SPCA of Erie County, in Buffalo, New York. She was also the Communication Coordinator for Obhoyaronno -Bangladesh Animal Welfare Foundation and continues to be invested in her home country’s animal welfare movement. In addition, she has worked in youth development in Buffalo, NY and in disaster management and climate change mitigation in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Work and education have taken her to Malaysia, Singapore, the UAE, Tanzania, Sierra Leone and Thailand, but she now calls Vermont her home. Lusana’s love for animals also inspires her to follow a plant-based lifestyle. She hopes to contribute to NCAL’s diverse pool of talents with her non-profit, education and communication background.
Melissa Mattei, Animal Care & Adoptions Associate
Melissa likes backpacking, gardening, reading, cooking, and hanging out with her dogs. Both her dogs are rescues, who have lots of energy and plenty of quirks. She has previous experience in animal care working in a large no-kill shelter in North Carolina where she most enjoyed working with the long-term stay dogs.
Jess McLeon, Animal Care & Adoptions Associate
Jess began working at NCAL in 2012. As a Shelter Associate, Jess helps care for the daily needs of both dogs and cats. From a very young age, she has had a love for animals and has always hoped to find a career that would allow her to work with them. At NCAL, she enjoys caring for the dogs and cats and playing a part in their second chance at life. Jess also serves as NCAL’s staff photographer, capturing the beauty in every animal and helping market each one which improves their chances at finding forever homes.
Alexandra Pelkowski, Customer Care Manager
Alex has over ten years of experience in the field of animal welfare, and has worked in multiple aspects of the field including a veterinary hospital, animal shelters as well as in wildlife rehabilitation. Originally from Long Island, Alex spent many childhood winters up here in Vermont and ultimately went to college at the University of Vermont. In her spare time Alex enjoys hiking, kayaking and overall exploring with her rescue dog Louis.
Emily Peterson, Animal Care Associate
Emily has had animals her whole life, from dogs and cats, to lizards, birds and fishes! She studies at the Northern Vermont University in Johnson and is majoring in the Wellness and Alternative Medicine Program. She has worked with an animal shelter in the past and wanted to continue in the field when she moved back here. Emily is also very interested in exploring how to apply her learning from wellness and alternative medicine to the world of animals.
Connie Riggs, DVM – Veterinarian
This year marks the 30thanniversary of Connie’s entry into the practice of small animal veterinary medicine and surgery. After graduating from Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine she sought out an additional year of advanced training by completing a small animal internship in medicine and surgery at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. Returning to her roots in the Northeast, she then took a job in Derry, New Hampshire at an internal medicine referral practice receiving ongoing learning and clinical training from three board certified medicine specialists. Connie moved to Vermont after the birth of her first son and joined and became a co-owner of one of the largest veterinary practices in Central Vermont, where she remained for eleven years. After her second child, she founded and ran a small full-service MASH unit vet hospital in rural Worcester, VT for 10 years.
Having been owned by animals her whole life, Connie has a thorough understanding of the nuances of animal health, behavior, and nursing care. She enjoys using her knowledge and training to help the shelter animals that come through NCAL, while also helping to maximize financial efficiency in veterinary care, allowing NCAL’s resources to reach more animals in need.
Kaylyn Rood – Animal Care Associate
Majoring in Business as well as Feline Behavior & Training, Kaylyn aims to help cat owners in their times of need. She cannot remember ever living in a home that had less than five cats. That being said, it is easy to guess that Kaylyn is quite the cat whisperer. She has had many unbelievable adventures with her cat Oliver and gives plenty of love to her rescue Pear, along with all the fosters who come into her home.
Shelby Schwartz – Canine Behaviorist & Trainer
With a degree in Psychology and Field Biology, Shelby originally moved to Vermont to teach snowboarding. That being said, she has worked with animals her whole life, from rats to horses, and even great apes! Eventually however, she discovered her true calling with dogs and started her canine career in 2009 with doggy daycares, organizing play groups and doing informal training with the regulars. Shelby has also worked with a team of Siberian huskies giving dog sled tours which made her an obvious choice for NCAL’s Canine Supervisor. Now as the Canine Behaviorist and Trainer, she helps NCAL’s rescue dogs increase socialization skills and manners during their time in the shelter environment. With three rescue dogs of her own (one being from NCAL), her love and passion for dog’s could not be more evident!
A natural dog whisperer, Shelby believes that with time, patience and practice, anyone can understand canine behavior and learn to work with it. In the Positive Reinforcement Training classes she provides, she has seen first-hand how the method can strengthen the bond between owner and dog. Positive Reinforcement Training uses praise and or treats to reward your dog for doing something you want him/her to do because the reward makes your dog more likely to repeat the behavior.
Lindsay Turiello – Office Manager
Lindsay had lived in many different states throughout her childhood, but relocated back to Texas where she was born in 1998. She moved to Vermont in November 2012 after meeting her husband. Lindsay has been an animal lover ever since she can remember and has always had pets growing up. Fostering and caring for injured or abandoned animals was a big part of her life since she was a child. She has mothered cats, dogs, snakes, bunnies and turtles since she was young, and is now the proud mother of her big family of children. Since she has been here, Lindsay has embraced the Vermont way of life and loves to go snowboarding, dirt-biking and camping, among others, and spending time with her family of course!
Aileen Walden – Executive Director
Aileen comes to NCAL with over a decade of leadership in national and regional animal welfare organization including Best Friends Animal Society and Alley Cat Allies. After a successful career in the for-profit sector, Aileen decided to put her passion for animals to work professionally and made the move to full-time animal welfare. She has never regretted a moment. Working for the animals, she is able to combine her love of people and animals and enjoys that she gets to help both every day.
From a family of animal lovers, Aileen grew up in Vermont and after decades of living in other parts of the country, decided to move back home in 2018. She currently shares her home with her husband, four cats and a rabbit.
Come find your next best friend!
To date, North Country Animal League has taken in, cared for, and found homes for over 11,000 homeless animals. Connecting humans with animals is what we do best - whether it be through adoptions, education and outreach, or volunteer opportunities. We created this video to show you what you can expect when you come to NCAL to find your next best friend!