NEW YORK--The ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced the appointment of Adam Leath as Southeast regional director of its Field Investigations and Response team. He will be based at the Veterinary Medical Center at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
In this role, Leath will investigate and respond to situations involving animal victims of natural disasters and animal cruelty cases in the following states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. He will also work with local law enforcement and animal welfare agencies to rescue animals from life-threatening situations and provide them with the essential care they need.
"Adam's understanding of animal welfare, especially relating to cruelty issues and field operations, make him a vital component to our team," said Kathryn Destreza, director of investigations for the ASPCA's Field Investigations and Response team. "We're delighted to have him onboard."
"Adam comes to us with a wealth of knowledge and experience," added Tim Rickey, senior director of the ASPCA's Field Investigations and Response team. "He is an embodiment of the ASPCA's mission to prevent cruelty to animals."
Leath was most recently the operations manager for Lee County Domestic Animal Services in Fort Myers, Fla., where he oversaw the prosecution of all criminal and civil violations of Florida Statute and local ordinances relating to animals. In addition, he was instrumental in establishing a working relationship with Florida's 20th Judicial Circuit to help increase penalties for felony animal cruelty crimes, spearheading training for animal control officers, and helping lead Lee County's Hoarding Task Force. Leath also successfully investigated one of the largest cockfighting cases in Florida history, resulting in a seizure in September 2010 of 676 birds and numerous arrests. The ASPCA was involved in this case, assisting with forensic evidence collection and documentation.
"I am honored to be working for the ASPCA, the gold standard in animal welfare," said Leath. "I stand ready for the challenges ahead and to defend the defenseless by serving as their voice."
Leath started his career in animal welfare in 2003 at the University of Tennessee's Veterinary Teaching Hospital. From 2005 to 2006, he was employed as a veterinary technician in Knoxville, Tenn. Leath graduated from the University of Tennessee with a bachelor of science degree in animal science and a minor in biology.
The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team assists animal victims of both natural and man-made disasters throughout the country. From hurricanes and wildfires to puppy mill raids and other large-scale animal cruelty cases, the team works tirelessly with other emergency responders, law enforcement agencies, humane associations and shelters to rescue animals from life-threatening situations.
The Field Investigations and Response team is made up of ASPCA experts, including veterinary technicians, humane law enforcement agents, disaster responders and sheltering professionals. They have responded to natural disasters, including major events like Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008, and most recently, the tornado in Joplin, Mo. The team is commonly called upon by state and municipal governments and other animal welfare partners to lend expertise during large-scale animal rescue operations.