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Team HSUS: Assessing the Situation in the Gulf

The HSUS assembles expert team for first-hand look

The Humane Society of the United States


    Dr. Barry Kellogg is part of the HSUS expert team on the ground in the Gulf Coast.

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As oil continues to spew from the Deepwater Horizon well, it seems there’s no end in sight. The HSUS has assembled an expert team to assess the impact of the largest oil spill in U.S. history on birds, marine mammals and other wildlife. We'll be working to identify any gaps that exist in the current response and to prepare for the long-term effects of this cataclysm.

Our assessment team includes Debra Parsons-Drake, The HSUS, senior director, animal care centers; Laura Bevan, The HSUS, regional director; Sharon Young, The HSUS, marine mammal issues; Barry Kellogg, Humane Society International, veterinary medical doctor; Jim Reed, Wildlife Land Trust, habitat biologist; Lynn Miller, International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council, Ph.D. in oiled wildlife (bird) impacts; and Ed Clark, Wildlife Center of Virginia, Clinical Wildlife Health Initiative. Meet the members»

Debra Parsons-Drake

Debra is the senior director for the animal care centers operated by The HSUS.  She previously served as director of field services and as director of emergency sheltering. Debra left a career in corporate management for animal protection and has served roles ranging from volunteer to executive director. As director of a humane shelter in Florida, she worked with The HSUS in disaster response during the 2004 hurricane season and then as a consultant managed the disaster shelter in Mississippi during Katrina.

Laura Bevan

Laura is director of the eastern regional office for The HSUS. She has been with the organization since 1987 and is known for her extensive experience in working natural disasters, starting with Hurricane Andrew in 1992. She has since responded and helped direct animal relief efforts in numerous hurricanes, wildfires and floods.

In 2004, Laura coordinated companion animal response efforts for the state during the four storms that hit Florida within a six week period. In 2005, she was team leader for The HSUS’s Hurricane Katrina response in Mississippi and directing rescue efforts and overseeing emergency sheltering of companion animals for the state.

Sharon Young

Sharon is field director for marine issues for The HSUS. Before joining the organization in 1992, she spent more than 10 years in field research on marine mammals (with publications largely focused on feeding and foraging ecology). She also served on the Cape Cod Stranding Network.

Sharon is a member of the National Marine Fisheries Service ‘s working group to advice on stranding response and assessment of marine mammal health in cases where elevated mortality is occurring. As an appointed member of the agency’s Atlantic Scientific Review Group, she reviews the federal governments’ stock assessments of marine mammal abundance, distribution and conservation concerns in the Gulf of Mexico.

Barry Kellogg, VMD

Dr. Kellog is senior veterinary advisor for Humane Society International. He has been involved with disaster response for the last two decades at many levels on the local, national and international levels. He has taught disaster preparedness and response both nationally and internationally.

As a veterinarian, Dr. Kellogg has 35 plus years of small animal clinical practice. He served as a veterinarian for the Pelican Man Bird Sanctuary and the Venice Wildlife Center, both in Florida. He also served on their animal care team.

Barry is currently the senior veterinary advisor for both The HSUS and HSI. Most recently he has been involved with bringing animal welfare to the forefront internationally by educating the international community on spay/neuter and its role in animal welfare. Dr. Kellogg has taught and helped establish clinics in Venezuela, China, The Philippines, Egypt and Mexico.

Lynn Miller

Miller is a biologist with International Wildlife Rehabilitators Council. Her background is in veterinary technology, conservation biology and environmental toxicology. She is an expert in oiled wildlife (birds) impacts.

Her concern of the effect oil spills have on birds and their long-term survival rate and rehabilitation led her to her doctorate studies. She explored the role acute phase proteins play as indicators of toxicity and found many subtle and probably overlooked impacts which include increased anxiety-like behaviors such as drops in pair bonding levels; poor nest building and brooding behaviors developmental issues with eggs including teratogenesis, all potentially very damaging at the population level.

She has been a wildlife rehabilitator for the past 25 years.

Jim Reed

Reed is director of stewardship for the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust where he is responsible for the management and protection of the Trust’s properties in 38 states and seven other countries.

Prior to joining the trust in 1999, he was the director of the environmental and forestry programs for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation in Idaho. There his principal duties included protecting the Tribes treaty reserved rights and overseeing on and off reservation environmental issues that affected the Tribes interests.

In addition, Reed has held diverse wildlife and fisheries management positions, working with the State of Maryland doing timber rattlesnake den colony surveys and raven banding and serving as a Fisheries Technician with a private fish farm operation.

Ed Clark

A national leader in the field of conservation for more than 30 years, Clark is co-founder and president of the Wildlife Center of Virginia, one of the world’s leading teaching and research hospitals for wildlife medicine. In 2007, the center was named Conservation Organization of the Year by the National Wildlife Federation.

Clark has served in leadership positions on the boards of many national and international conservation organizations, including the National Wildlife Federation, the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council, and the Philippe Cousteau Foundation. He also is a representative of the Clinical Wildlife Health Initiative.

Current projects include the deployment of the first standardized recordkeeping system for wildlife care facilities and wildlife incident monitoring across North America.

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