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Our Board Members

Doug Sawyer - President

Doug and his wife Carole have a beef operation near Pine Lake. Doug has over 20 years experience working within the livestock industry, as well as serving in various capacities on numerous industry-specific boards and committees, and uses a combination of skills and abilities within the boards he serves on. Doug is a producer who stays up-to-date with current industry trends and impacts. He has a strong history of identifying and implementing advanced strategic practices and policies, and has an extensive history of engaging and collaborating with a wide range of stakeholders. He has proven experience within many facets of the beef production sector, including both cow/calf and small scale feedlot operations.

Doug joined the Alberta SPCA Board of Directors in 2014.

Andrea Edwards RVT - Vice President

Andrea Edwards with Stella

Andrea has enjoyed a diverse career as a Registered Veterinary Technologist and currently works in a small animal/exotic practice in Edmonton, where she is the hospital manager.

Born in Alberta, she was raised on an equine farm where she raised and showed black Arabians. After graduating from the NAIT Animal Health Program, she started working as an RVT in mixed animal practice where she learned a lot about dairy and beef cattle.

After having her 3 children, she went into small animal practice and found her passion for HR and business.

Andrea has been on the board of both Alberta Veterinary Associations (ABVMA and ABVTA) and is now excited to join the Alberta SPCA Board to help make a difference in animal welfare.

In her downtime she enjoys spending time at the lake with family, dog Remy, and can’t leave out her cat Stella!

Dr. Duane Landals - Past President

Dr. Landals and Duke

A fourth generation Albertan with deep roots in the province’s pioneer history, Dr. Duane Landals graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with a major in animal and soil science, in 1971.  In 1975, he obtained his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon.

Dr. Landals spent 25 years working in a rural mixed veterinary practice. After leaving private veterinary practice, he served 13 years as Registrar and Secretary-Treasurer of the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association. He is Past-President of both the Alberta and Canadian Veterinary Medical Associations and served as Vice-President of the World Veterinary Association as well as chair for the 29th World Veterinary Congress in Vancouver.

Aside from a career in veterinary medicine, Dr. Landals’ commitment to improving the care and welfare of animals extends to several appointments, including Director and Vice Chair for Alberta Farm Animal Care, and Director for Veterinarians Without Borders, Canada. 

Dr. Landals lives on a small farm near Onoway with his wife Lucille. They share their life with 19 head of riding and driving horses and a joyful golden retriever. Their farm is conveniently located close to the families of their three daughters and six grandchildren.

Dr. Landals joined the Alberta SPCA Board in 2016 and was elected President in 2018.

Dr. Connie Varnhagen - Treasurer

Dr. Varnhagan is a professor of Psychology in the Agricultural Life and Environmental Sciences department at the University of Alberta. As part of her work, Dr. Varnhagan studies, teaches and writes about the human-animal bond. Her educational achievements include a Masters of Psychology from the University of Notre Dame in 1980 and a PhD in Psychology from UC Santa Barbara in 1985. Dr. Varnhagan is affiliated with the Centre for the Human Animal Bond at Purdue University of Veterinary Medicine where she began working with the organization to help low income people keep their pets.

Dr. Varnhagan joined the Alberta SPCA Board in 2017.  

Lexi Burt - Secretary

Lexi and Cayenne

Lexi and her husband Michael have a beef and grain operation south of Leduc. All cattle work on the farm is completed off horseback or using a dog. Lexi is a University of Alberta graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Health in 2016. Growing up around animals gave Lexi the passion to work in agriculture, and through post-secondary education, she expanded her knowledge of livestock production practices and the realities of livestock production in Alberta.

Aside from work on the farm, Lexi enjoys training dogs in agility and disc dog.

Lexi joined the Alberta SPCA Board in 2020.

Dr. Marion Anderson

Marion Anderson

 

Dr Marion Anderson is a veterinarian from the Innisfail area. She completed her veterinary training from WCVM in Saskatoon and spent three years at Iowa State University completing an internship and residency and earning her MSc in animal reproduction. After returning to Canada she worked in large animal practice with a focus on equine, especially equine reproduction.

After nearly two decades of private practice, Marion joined the faculty at Olds College as coordinator and instructor of the Equine Science program and manager of the Equine Reproduction Center and she is still there.

Marion has a very strong affinity for animals and takes their care and well-being very seriously. She joined the board of directors of the Alberta SPCA in 2011 and served as its president from 2012 until 2018. After a brief break, Marion returned to the board in 2021. She believes strongly in the mission and vision of the Alberta SPCA and in the great work that the organization does. She feels that it is a privilege to be able to contribute in a small way in supporting its operation.

 

Kris Rooney, B.Ed., CPDT-KA

Kris and Angus

Kris brings an educator’s point of view and over 30 years of experience as a teacher and school counsellor as she returns to the Board of Directors. She has been a long-time supporter of the Alberta SPCA and served as a Director from 2004 – 2012.  Now retired, Kris was employed by Battle River School Division and taught at Holden Elementary School using her dogs, Archie, Angus and Spencer as Activity Assistance Dogs in her classroom and role as school counsellor. The welcoming of dogs in the school was unheard of at the time but became an important part of the school’s culture. She has a passion for humane and character education, and the study of canine body language. Kris has participated in a number of projects with the Alberta SPCA, including informational interviews, presentations for SPCA staff and video for the organizations’ YouTube Curious Questions segments.

Kris is a professional member of the Canadian Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers and the Alberta Force Free Alliance.  In 2009, Kris earned her professional designation as a Certified Pet Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) from the Council for the Certification of Pet Dog Trainers, an organization recognized world-wide for its adherence to the highest standards of education. For five years prior to the presence of COVID and the enormous changes it forced in the canine training community, Kris was working as a Wellness Dog evaluator for CAAWLS (Chimo Animal Assisted Wellness and Learning Society). This included offering prep classes for up-and coming dogs, in addition to serving on the team that developed the test and ongoing evaluations.

Having grown up on a mixed farm in central Alberta, Kris has an understanding of the workings of a small farm which featured raising beef cattle and grain production. As a youngster, Kris rode her pony daily out to the pastures to “check on the cows just in case rustlers had raided the herd” and spent summers on the tractor raking hay for 10 cents an hour.  Kris and her husband, Daryl, live on an acreage named Ministik Hills, in the Tofield area, sharing the land with their furry family, which currently includes Golden Retrievers Quinn and Cooper. Most recently and perhaps foolishly, Golden puppy Dublin and kittens Fiona and Orla have been added to the gang. Aside from companion dog training activities, Kris enjoys travel, gardening and walking the groomed trails on the acreage.

Julie Brewster

Alberta SPCA News

Dan Kobe

Numerous Large Seizures Strain Alberta SPCA Resources

Latest seizure brings 82 additional animals into the care of the Alberta SPCA On April 23, 2024, the Alberta SPCA was asked to assist the RCMP during an investigation on a property in Mountain View County. Once on site, Alberta SPCA Peace Officers determined the animals on the property were in distress. As a result,

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Dan Kobe

Alberta SPCA to take over answering ALERT Line

March 21, 2024 The Alberta SPCA, in collaboration with the former Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC) Board of Directors is pleased to announce plans for the future of the AFAC ALERT Line. With the dissolution of AFAC underway, effective March 21, 2024 calls to the ALERT Line will be answered by the Alberta SPCA. “We

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Dan Kobe

Compassion for Collectors

When the Alberta SPCA Peace Officer arrives at a property to check on the welfare of animals, she is always on the lookout for signs of a bigger problem. Sometimes, it’s a nearby vehicle that is stacked full of clothes or bottled water, or perhaps it’s the home’s windows, with the curtains drawn shut, but

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The vision of the Alberta SPCA is that every animal in Alberta be treated humanely.

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