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ASPCA Expands Investigations & Disaster Response Efforts in Northeast, Midwest to Help More Animals in Crisis

Law enforcement veteran John Bolin appointed Northeast regional investigator; Elizabeth Serca-Dominguez disaster response manager, ASPCA Field Investigations and Response
June 23, 2014

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced two new members in its Field Investigations and Response team: John Bolin will serve as Northeast regional investigator, and Elizabeth Serca-Dominguez as manager of disaster response. Expanding the team with experts in cruelty investigations and disaster response will allow the ASPCA to tackle more animal cruelty cases in the Northeast and help Midwest communities strengthen their disaster response programs, saving more animals in crises.

“We are strengthening our team of investigators and experts to help communities uncover cruelty in their area and prepare for disasters—two major threats to animals in the U.S.,” said Stacy Wolf, senior vice president of ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Group. “The knowledge and capabilities that Elizabeth and John bring to the table will allow us to collaborate with local organizations that need additional expertise or resources to keep animals safe.”

John Bolin—a 17-year law enforcement veteran—will work closely with law enforcement and local animal welfare groups throughout the Northeast to identify and investigate animal cruelty cases. He will also train Northeast law enforcement how to recognize and respond to cruelty in their community. Mr. Bolin was previously a member of the U.S. Marshall’s Fugitive Task Force where he conducted investigations of fugitives wanted for serious, violent crimes. Most recently, Bolin worked as a criminal investigator with the Indiana Gaming Commission, leading the takedown of numerous large-scale cockfighting and dog fighting cases.

Through his work with the Indiana Gaming Commission, Bolin led an Indiana cockfighting investigation in 2010, seizing more than 200 birds that were bred to supply cockfights overseas and throughout the U.S. In 2009, Bolin played a major role in an Indiana dog fighting operation, which resulted in the seizure of more than 100 dogs. Additionally, Bolin taught police recruits for the Indiana State Police how to recognize animal fighting activities and paraphernalia as part of their training program.

As disaster response manager, Elizabeth Serca-Dominguez will work to strengthen the disaster response capacity of Midwest states most vulnerable to natural disasters. Mrs. Serca-Dominguez will team with local animal response teams in the Midwest to provide disaster response training, rescue equipment and disaster planning expertise.

Prior to joining the ASPCA, Dominguez led the state animal response teams in both Florida and Texas—two of the most hurricane-prone states. Over the past ten years, she has responded to countless hurricanes, floods, wildfires and tornados in both Texas and Florida. Following Hurricanes Ike and Gustav, she led companion animal rescue and response efforts in Texas and helped save hundreds of animals affected by the disasters. Dominguez also worked with the Texas Department of Agriculture to incorporate animals into their emergency management and homeland security programs.

"The ASPCA is committed to helping local organizations build capacity to respond effectively to disasters," said Tim Rickey, vice president of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “This program is a great way to share our experience and resources with local groups to accomplish this goal, and we encourage local groups or agencies that need disaster response training or assistance with an animal cruelty investigation to contact us.”

State agencies and animal response teams interested in disaster response training should contact Elizabeth Serca-Dominguez at [email protected] or 646-942-8939.