Matthew Bershadker

Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President & CEO

Matt Bershadker with a black and white pitbull

Matthew Bershadker is President and CEO of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the first animal welfare organization in America and a national leader in the rescue and protection of at-risk animals. Matt is a national thought leader in modern animal welfare, and his vision and commitment have catapulted the ASPCA into a leadership position advancing the field’s evolution and national impact.  

Throughout his leadership, Matt has set the strategy for the organization and overseen the development and execution of innovative programs that impact thousands of lives and drive compassionate systemic change for animals in need.  

In 2020, under Matt’s leadership, the ASPCA launched a series of programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on pets, owners, and communities. This $5 million effort included free pet food for dogs, cats, and horses in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, and Asheville; grants to struggling animal welfare organizations; emergency pet boarding services; expanded stationary and mobile veterinary care; and other vital resources for animals, people, and shelters coping with this crisis. 

In 2014, based on an idea proposed by Matt several years earlier, the ASPCA and the New York City Police Department kicked off a groundbreaking collaboration to provide enhanced protection to New York City’s animals. In that partnership, the NYPD leads in responding to all animal cruelty complaints in the five boroughs, while the ASPCA provides direct care for animal cruelty victims and assists law enforcement officials with forensics work and prosecutions. 

That same year, Matt envisioned and led the establishment of the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center. Located in Asheville, North Carolina, the Center is the first-ever facility dedicated to providing behavioral rehabilitation to canine victims of cruelty and neglect. The Center’s Learning Lab also disseminates rehabilitative innovations and best practices to shelters around the country. 

Matt also oversaw the kickoff of the ASPCA’s $25 million commitment to assist at-risk animals and pet owners in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, including a fully subsidized spay/neuter facility in South Los Angeles operated by the ASPCA and a dedicated campaign to encourage the fostering of local vulnerable kittens. 

In 2011, Matt helped reestablish the ASPCA’s Washington D.C.-based Government Relations department and lent his voice to support essential local, state, and federal animal welfare legislation. He has spoken before Congress in Washington, D.C. and given public testimony before the New York City Council on many critical issues, including ensuring proper funding for New York City shelters and advocating for legislation to protect dogs and cats sold in city pet stores. In 2020, Matt began overseeing a strong legislative push to stop the cruel puppy mill pipeline by ending the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores across New York State.  

Matt continues to lead the ASPCA on a variety of other critical animal welfare fronts, including field rescue and care for natural disaster and large-case animal cruelty and animal fighting victims; the establishment of community veterinary clinics in Miami and New York City that provide accessible and affordable services; advocating for stronger state and federal legal protections; helping vulnerable U.S. horses find safe homes and careers; and fighting widespread farm animal cruelty through legislation, industry influence, and consumer advocacy and food label education.

Matt is also a frequent speaker on animal welfare issues, having authored more than 100 editorials on various animal welfare issues in publications including The New York Post, the New York Daily News, The Hill, The Times-Picayune, The Star-Ledger, and CNN.com. Matt’s interviews and broadcast appearances have appeared in national media ranging from The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal to Rolling Stone magazine, The Today Show, and Good Morning America. 

Before becoming President and CEO, Matt served the ASPCA as Senior Vice President of ASPCA Anti-Cruelty, Vice President of Development, Senior Director of Major Gifts and Special Events, and Senior Director of Partnership Marketing. Before joining the ASPCA in 2001, Matt worked for ICF Consulting and organizations including Share Our Strength.

A Board Member of the Global Animal Partnership, Matt received his Master of Business Administration degree from Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Ohio University. Matt and his family have two dogs, Tarzan and Loki. 

Read Matt's Blog.