ASPCA Names Regional Directors for Anti-Cruelty Initiatives

Kyle Held Appointed Midwest Director; Kathryn Destreza Southeast Director, ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Field Investigations and Response
February 24, 2010

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) has appointed two regional directors to its newly created ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team: Kyle Held will serve as Midwest Director and Kathryn Destreza as Southeast Director.

"Both Mr. Held and Ms. Destreza's life-long commitment to animal welfare and outstanding leadership will enable the ASPCA to further strengthen its anti-cruelty initiatives and save countless animals across the country," said Matt Bershadker, Senior Vice President of the ASPCA's Anti-Cruelty Group. "Their dedication in the fight against animal cruelty resonates with the ASPCA's mission, and we're pleased to have them join our organization."

Ms. Destreza will manage investigations and respond to situations involving animal victims of both natural and man-made disasters in the Southeast region.  Prior to joining the ASPCA, Destreza served as the Director of Humane Law Enforcement for the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (LA/SPCA), where she earned national recognition for handling high-profile animal cruelty cases, improving the quality of life for shelter animals, and leading the largest animal rescue operation in history during Hurricane Katrina.

During her 17-year tenure at the LA/SPCA, Destreza successfully improved programs and services central to its mission and was appointed director of its humane law enforcement team in 2006.  Destreza has provided expert testimony in several high-profile animal cruelty cases and most notably, her testimony aided in the conviction of a major dog fighter in Louisiana.  Prior to her work in animal welfare, Destreza was a member of the United States Armed Services, serving as an engineer with the U.S. Navy on the USS Cimarron AO in the Echo fighter group for Desert Shield.  She was honorably discharged in 1992.

Mr. Held was formerly an Animal Cruelty Investigator for the Humane Society of Missouri (HSMO), where he played a crucial role in the largest dog fighting raid in U.S. history, covering eight states and seizing more than 500 dogs in one day.  In his new post, Held will lead cruelty investigations and respond to natural disasters as well as large and small animal rescue operations in the Midwest region.

"I'm thrilled to have Kathryn and Kyle join the ASPCA to advance our efforts in battling animal cruelty," said Tim Rickey, Senior Director of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response.  "We will continue to step up our efforts to save and protect helpless animals that are in critical need."

The newly formed Field Investigations and Response team is part of the ASPCA's Anti-Cruelty Group, which is also comprised of Humane Law Enforcement, Government Relations, and Forensic Sciences and Anti-Cruelty Projects.