Dahlia Canes was born in Havana, Cuba and was one of the first Cuban exiles in Miami, FL. She made and makes her home there. She has traveled extensively and is an award winning writer, concentrating mostly on animal issues. She has been working with the firm of Gregory A. Moore, P.A., as a Paralegal with trial work experience, for over 30 years. She was a board member for Unity Coalition. She is an active animal advocate and “hands on” rescuer. At this time, she is focusing on animal cruelty issues, legislative matters and Breed Specific Legislation. She is the Director and Founder for the Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation, which is presently fighting to have the 30 year old Pit Bull Ban in Miami Dade County, removed.
The challenge continued in the Miami-Dade county commissioners’ forum. Most recently she was instrumental in the filing of a civil lawsuit against Miami-Dade county to remove the inhumane “Miami pit bull ban”
Dahlia Canes has been involved in political matters from a very young age. As a graduate of Hialeah High in 1971, she served as Student Government President and was the only student to serve on the Board of Governors for Florida national University. Ms. Canes worked as a hair and platform stylist for many years, including working with the Llongera Brothers in Spain. Her position in animal advocacy continues to pave the way for change in future legislation. Ms. Canes was instrumental in the defeat of the 2012 Fl. Senate’s 1276 Bill, which if passed, would have allowed BSL in Florida. She spearheaded the fight in the Florida House and Senate Legislation with the SB1322 and HB997.
She has made her position on anti-dog fighting loud and clear!
“Breed Specific Legislation is an inhumane tool, used to deal with man’s destruction of their own fears. It targets innocent animals, that were not put on this earth to be judged by us.” – Dahlia Canes
Director of Events
Darlene Boitel-Johnson was born and raised in Miami, FL. She is married to Eric Johnson and has two boys and three bully dogs. She graduated in 1991 with an Associate’s degree in Interior Design and has been working with Michael Wolk Design Associates as Purchasing and Installations Manager for the past 14 years. Her love for the breed came to be, when at the age of 15 she was given a Staffie, which changed her life forever. From that day forward she has remained faithful to the breed. She was there in 1989 protesting for “Pitbulls” not to be banned. And now, 30+ years later is happy to join forces with MCABSL to “End the Injustice.”
Director of Marketing
Virginia Cao is a native Floridian and other than a three year move to Minnesota for graduate school, has lived here all her life. She has been married for the past twenty-two years and has two boys (Christopher-18 ½ who is in the Marine Corps and Brayden- 14 going into highschool). The two beautiful “girls” in her life is 7 ½ year old Mimi a Cavalier King Charles and a 3 year old Pringles an American Pitbull Terrier. A nurse by trade she was a past nursing instructor and presently works in Labor and delivery. Since acquiring Pringles she has experienced the “challenges/struggles” of owning a bully breed especially in Miami Dade County and realized the need to get involved in improving the Pitbull reputation here and across the world. Once she found out about MCABSL it was a no brainer in becoming a volunteer and board member to help with the cause. Virginia strongly believes in the saying “Unless you’ve owned one (a Pitbull) you will never understand.” MCABSL has helped her become a passionate advocate via events, social media and on a personal level.
Kelly D. Matacena
Director of Finance
Kelly D. Matacena was raised in Palmetto, Florida, received her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology from the University of Florida in 2009 and is a licensed financial and insurance professional. Following undergraduate studies, she moved to Key West then eventually settled in Miami in 2012, where she works in commercial risk management with BB&T Insurance. Her passion for animals has been prevalent since childhood, rescuing everything from mice and birds to dogs and horses. Working with colleagues statewide, she has directly managed the rescue and adoption of many dogs, focusing on pit bulls. Her bond with the breed stems from her first pit companion, Lexus Marie, currently an 11 year old red nosed therapy dog who has traveled with her significantly, visiting the sick, coaching elementary aged children to read and spending time with those in their last days in Hospice centers. Through volunteer work as a therapy team with Lexus Marie, Kelly has seen firsthand, the immense good done by these animals and the change that can be made to the hearts of those initially unsure. Kelly feels blessed to be part of the MCABSL team and is confident that the dedication and hard work of the group and its supporters will continue to result in more effective legislation and ultimately worldwide community acceptance and protection of all breeds.
Director of Public Relations
Caroline Venditti is a Massachussetts native who moved to Miami in 2008 for college and attended the University of Miami. Caroline has always been an animal lover, growing up with horses, dogs and various other little critters. She now works as a Legal Marketing Director for a small law firm in Downtown Miami.
On Wednesday October 18, 2017 Caroline adopted Lucie (formerly known at MDAS as Trina). It was because of Lucie that Caroline became passionate about addressing and advocating against Miami Dade County’s outdated, inefficient, and inhumane law banning “Pit Bull type dogs and mixes.” Lucie has become an ESA approved companion with multiple flights to Massachussetts under her belt (as a perfectly well behaved princess who loves dressing up in PJs for her flights). Lucie has become a breed ambassador to Caroline’s family and friends and anyone who has ever met her.
Isabella E. Rivera-Gandulla
Jr. Board Member
Isabella Rivera-Gandulla, born January 17, 2008 in Caguas, Puerto Rico.
In 2015 when Isabella was seven years old while living in Puerto Rico, she joined the Roots & Shoots foundation, an organization created by Dr. Jane Goodall. The purpose of Roots & Shoots is to motive children across the globe to participate in projects that will better their communities. When Isabella was asked what she didn’t like about her country her answer was seeing stray and dead animals in the streets. It was estimated that in Puerto Rico there were over 300,000 stray dogs and 500,000 stray cats. In rural areas of the island there are even stray horses and pigs. In 2015 the situation was terrible, Isabella created her program Kids for Animals. Kids for Animals is a program in which children and adults are educated about animal welfare, proper animal care, the importance of spay & neuter and adoption programs along with the importance of vaccinations for animals. Isabella enlisted multiple animal welfare organizations in the island and in one day they visited over 5,000 children at their schools to teach them about animal welfare in a conference designed by Isabella with the help of the Humane Society of Puerto Rico that is appropriate for children. During those visits children in the schools would reciprocate by having pet food drives that in turn were distributed to animal shelters and sanctuaries in the island.
Kids for Animals was a great success, she got to meet Dr. Jane Goodall in person and received the Project of The Month award for her program. During the next years Isabella became a voice amongst the animal rights activists and she took her conference to colleges, universities, malls, summer camps, churches, schools, tv shows, wherever children or adults wanted to hear her information she would go. Her efforts have resulted in over 10,000 pounds of pet food delivered amongst shelters and sanctuaries and to this day over 12,000 have participated in her conferences.
Since then, Isabella has been allowed to participate in Senate meetings to help draft education programs about animal welfare for Puerto Rico Public Schools. After hurricane Maria, devastated Puerto Rico, the stray animal situation in the island went from bad to worst. With thousands of families leaving the island in desperation they would leave their pets abandoned in the streets or in their own backyards to die. Animal welfare organizations were desperate trying to keep up with the heartbreaking scenes of both animals and people. Isabella then joined efforts to facilitate the entrance of veterinarians from the United States for a massive free spay & neuter program and also lift the over 20 year Pit Bull Ban. In 2017 the years of lobbying and meetings with government officials resulted in the approval of the spayathon for Puerto Rico the first free massive spay & neuter program in the USA and the lifting of the Pit Bull Ban.
Currently Isabella is in middle school and she continues to lobby and help animals in need both in Puerto Rico and now in Miami, Florida. She joined the board of the MCABSL and she would like to see the end of the Miami-Dade Pit Bull Ban. Since then she’s also lend her voice to orcas, animals she believes should not live in captivity. She’s also involved in the preservation of the leather back sea turtle, a protected species that is endangered by humans. She is a regular in the Emmy winning show “Corazones Guererros”, with her own segment called “El Mundo Magico de los Animales”, The magical world of animals, in which she interacts with puppets to educate children about animal welfare and proper care of both animals and the environment. She has been featured in several magazines, recently recognized amongst the 10 children making a difference in the USA.
All that public speaking since such a young age has led to a career in TV and Films, she has participated in several featured films, short films, tv series and tv commercials. In the future she would like to follow in the steps of Dr. Jane Goodall and have her own foundation to promote animal welfare and environment protection
Board of Directors (Marketing)
Denice was born and raised in Pennsylvania. She now lives in Miami. At home she takes care of a feral cat colony as well as her three dogs and an indoor cat. Leah, Bruno and Shela are the names of her dogs. Bruno is an American Pitbull Terrier Leah and Shela are Rottweiler mixes. She also has two birds Pokey and Aloha and a cat named Happy. Denice got involved with Miami Coalition about twelve years ago, she attended an event and saw them there. Her sister Lisa had mentioned them and had recently joined as a member. Today Denice is a board member acting as director of marketing for the Coalition and it is something she is very proud of . Her goal in Miami Coalition is to get the Hideous ordinance Banning pit bulls lifted. She is very honored to be a part of this organization and to be aliated with it’s other members. “Everyone works together for the greater good to see to it that pit bulls or pit bull like dogs are treated with compassion and fairness and we look forward to the end of the ban”
John Dasilva (AKA Brazil)
Board of Directors (Events)
John moved to the United States in 1965 and has been a resident of Dade County since 1972. He is Search and Rescue 2 certified. He’s taken courses in Johnston County, North Carolina. In 1982, John was blessed to meet my first bully, he rescued her from abuse and fighting rings. With some tender love and care, she became one of the best family members John had ever had in the past.
John has been an advocate for animals his entire life, he’s taken a personal passion in advocating for bullies “being a part of Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation gives me a chance to make a difference in the lives of these beautiful canines”.
Jr. Board Member
Brayden Cao is a Jr. Board Member with the Coalition. He is a high school student and helps our social media marketing and events. His furry sibling is Pringles, an American Bulldog/Bull Mastiff.
Board of Directors (Events/Merchandising)
My name is Ceci Guzman, I am a Realtor in the State of Florida., and I am on the Board of Directors for MCABSL. I have few passions, but they are quality passions., and one of those is being a part of MCABSL. Since my first Bully Breed puppy, which made me totally fall in love with Pittie’s, I knew I had to do something to help against discrimination towards them. So I’m here to do my part for as long as it takes.
Board of Directors (Marketing)
Hi, my name is Irene Ayala, I am a Registered Behavior Technican, my profession involves me implementing ABA Therapy with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I absolutely love my job, but it is very demanding. On my free time, I am either babysitting or fighting for the rights of my fur nieces and nephew, who I love like they were my own and are all Pitties. Each one of them have different personalities, but what they all have in common, is that they are the sweetest, most caring, loving, gentle, and trusting dogs I’ve ever met. My love for them and my need to protect them is what makes me so passionate about fighting against BSL laws. I also just recently adopted Gwen, an American Pittie of my own.
Regional Director for Palm Beach County
Stacey Paladino was once that girl who was afraid of dogs; especially pits and bully breeds. She fault the media and the general stereotyped, brainwashed population for feeding fear into people; herself included. Never in her life would she have thought a dog could change her life, or any life for that matter. Yet, there she is engulfed in her dog’s world, in the rescue world, and being a Pitbull advocate. Her husband, Matthew, and her moved to Florida in 2019 leaving all they knew behind. Due to chronic loneliness and the meeting of a cute Brussels named Camden, she decided she needed to adopt a little dog for companionship. Being that she was not “a dog person” her family thought she was crazy. Yet, there she was at Furry FriendsRescue, adopting her very first dog. She saw this little chocolate puppy and fell in love. She had no clue what breed Reef was; she just knew she loved him. After DNA tests they learned he was half American Stafford Terrier AKA pit. She was a little taken back, so she dove into endless hours of research and educating herself on this breed and just dogs in general. It became a passion. She joined countless dog groups, as well asPitbull mom groups. That is how she found MCABSL. As Reef grew, so did their bond. He became her child, her teacher, her comfort.He became her inspiration. She started volunteering For Furry Friends Shelter to absorb all she could with these dogs. Shecouldn’t believe the percentage of pits in the shelter. It was astonishing. Learning of the bans and all the abuse they endured was soul-crushing and ignited a fire within her to do more. She became a dog walker, took training classes, and kept educating herself so she can educate others. She strongly believes “knowledge is power”. She has been networking with local businessesand setting up adopting events and fundraisers for Mutty Paws Rescuein Palm Beach County. I created a local dog moms group on Facebook to promote awareness and help spread the importance of adopting a rescue or shelter dog. They recently became a foster fail to Jetty their new pitty mix. She have been around countless pits, most have come from abuse, dog fighting rings, or dumped. They are the most selfless creatures, so forgiving regardless of what they have been through. We don’t deserve their trust, yet they give it so unconditionally. Her mission is to inspire and change the minds of people tainted and scared from the bad rap pits get. She wants to help as many dogs as she can. It takes a village, and she is so proud to be part of MCABSL. Her dogs have been her emotional crutch, her reason for getting up in the morning, her strength to keep pushing for animal rights, and her security blanket for her anxiety issues. In a world that’s so crazy, they make everything ok. When she isnot obsessing over her dogs, or any for that matter, you can find her family and her at the beach or taking a yoga class enjoying family and their new life in Florida.
Jr. Board Member
Carlos Suarez is a 16-year-old Miami native, currently enrolled as a junior at John A. Ferguson Senior High School. Throughout his high school tenure, Carlos has been actively involved with the Florida FFA Organization (“FFA”).
In his involvement with FFA, Carlos has participated in a multitude of competitive teams relating to animals and agriculture. He has taken several leadership roles within FFA, including Chapter Treasurer, and the leader of the chapter‘s Vegetable Evaluation and Judging competition team. He is constantly creating events for students to get more involved in animal and agriculture related events. Carlos is dedicated and passionate about animal rights and their well-being.
Carlos seeks to raise awareness about the breed specific legislation in Miami Dade County through his involvement with the Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation. In his efforts to do so, Carlos organizes informative presentations to other FFA members in high schools.
In addition to his high school duties, Carlos is working on gaining volunteer hours at a veterinary clinic to be able to receive certification for becoming a veterinary assistant.
James A. Cueva, Esq
James is a knowledgeable trial attorney with over ten years of experience in private practice. He is admitted to practice in Florida, including the Federal District Courts and Bankruptcy Courts for the Southern, Northern and Middle Districts of Florida. James graduated from the University of Miami School of Law cum laude, and earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida. James has lived in Miami, Florida since 1980.
James has a wide variety of legal experience including representing clients in civil and commercial litigation matters, real estate closings and title insurance, labor and employment, negotiating and drafting contracts, consumer bankruptcy, trademark registration, first party insurance claims and family law. Since 2017, James has concentrated his practice on defending individuals and small businesses in personal injury matters such as premises liability, commercial auto, and general casualty claims. Presently, he is an associate in house counsel defending individual and corporate clients in premises liability cases.
James is fully bi-lingual in Spanish and English, and conversational in written and spoken Brazilian Portuguese. In his free time, James enjoys watching college football, sailing, fishing, and spending time with his family and their two dogs.
James is MCASL’s general counsel and is forever present when it comes to defending the breed. He has and remains instrumental in legislations.
Luis Daniel Rodriguez
Luis is a native of Miami where he was born and raised. He moved to Gainesville in 2013 and completed his bachelors and juris doctorate degrees at the University of Florida. In January, 2014 he adopted, Lori. In May 22, 2016 he fell 50 feet and suffered life threatening injuries and Lori played a role in the search team that found him. He returned home to Miami to recover with Lori constantly by his side. As it has been since. Lori officially became his emotional support dog in 2017. Luis practices law in Gainesville, Florida and intends to use his legal capacity to overturn this illegal ban in Miami Florida from the outside in. He loves to engage in discussion and talk about the differences between emotional support dogs and service animals to rebut the common misconception that exists between the two.
Lauren N. Turner, Esq., a native Floridian, started her career in the litigation in 2015. She received her Juris Doctorate from Nova University‘s Shepard Broad School of Law in 2015, holds a Masters in Criminal Justice from Boston University and a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management from Palm Beach Atlantic University. Additionally, Lauren served under the Broward County Public Defender in 2015 in an internship within the juvenile felony division.
Lauren runs solo law practice with a focus on animal law, called L. Turner Law.
At law school, Lauren was a member of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund and continues to exert her charitable passion for animals outside of the legal arena as the Principal of POPO Pitbulls, a South Florida rescue and advocacy group. Additionally, Lauren currently serves as General Counsel for the Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation, is one of the committee members drafting mandatory spay neuter legislation for the SNYP coalition and a member of Pets Broward, which throws fundraising events benefitting the animals housed at the Broward County Animal Shelter. She remains active with her law school alma mater, serving as a bar coach for law students, a requested panel speaker and as a judge for mock trials.
Board of Advisors
I was born and raised in a small rural Pennsylvania town, lived in Connecticut for a few years before moving to South Florida in the 80’s. I am happily married to the man of my dreams and we share our home with 6 dogs (all bully breeds). I enjoy playing flyball and training our dogs in various dog sports
I have been a member of MCABSL since 2009 volunteering with my sweet American Pit Bull Terrier Lily in the MCABSL pittie kissing booth.
It is my passion to help these dogs by spreading the word that they make great family dogs and shouldn’t be discriminated against. Educate not discriminate.
Board of Advisors
Franco Sicheri was born in Lima Peru in 1984, where his father trained and showed Peruvian Paso horses. He was always passionate about animals and the outdoors but it wasnt until the age of 17 when he was given his first Pit bull puppy that he became interested in training dogs. Her name was Nana, a beautiful APBT. Nana quickly became a great ambassador for the breed around the neighborhood and neighbors quickly took notice to her happy go lucky demeanor. Soon neighbors began to ask if Franco could help them with their dogs to be as social and well behaved as his Pit bull, and he agreed gladly.
Sadly Nana was stolen one day by someone in a dark colored late 90’s model Ford explorer . In his search for his.Dog Franco began to reach out to local rescue groups and shelters where he began to work with their more problematic dogs. Over time he became well known in the rescue Community for his work with aggressive Dogs successfully rehabilitating and helping place dogs that otherwise would have been put to sleep. In 2007 Franco founded Balanced Paws a dog training and rehabilitating company. He still works with many local rescues .
Board of Advisors
Dony Ponce, was born in New York City and raised in sunny South Florida. From as far back as she can remember, she has always had an immense love for ALL animals. She is involved with reputable Rescue Organizations, and also volunteers and fosters for Miami Dade Animal Services. Dony is a dedicated, Animal Advocate and stands firm and true to all her beliefs. She has had numerous experiences with saving, rescuing and bringing back to life abused and neglected animals. She has a house full of life and shares it with her special needs fur babies. Dony’s passion lies in speaking up for animals and she is firmly against BSL and will not throw in the towel… until Pit bulls are looked at as the Loyal, loving, sweet, affectionate animals they are… until bad owners are punished for their deeds… until society understands that it’s not the breed at fault….Humans need to be educated and Dony spends her days doing just that, educating.
Words she lives by:
**NOTHING GREAT IN THIS WORLD HAS EVER BEEN ACCOMPLISHED WITHOUT PASSION**
Board of Advisors
Raquel Cruz, is the mother of three boys and she was born and raised in Miami, Florida. Ms. Cruz graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Public Administration and has dedicated her life to public and military service. Ms. Cruz is a disabled combat Gulf War veteran and the first and former Enforcement Manager for Miami Dade Animal Services. Ms. Cruz reorganized the entire enforcement division for Animal Services, making it respectable with employees dedicated to helping the animals enforcing animal cruelty laws efficiently and to the extent the law dictates. She spearheaded the re-write for the Miami Dade County Code of Ordinances Chapter 5 Animals and Fowls but her endless fight continues for the repeal of the pit bull ban. “Today my commitment lies with the advocating of saving our pit bulls and to educate our public as to the true nature of who these bullies really are.”
Board of Advisors
Although Pilar was born in Havana, Cuba, she and her family arrived in Miami as exiles in 1969. Pilar, her parents and her brother immediately moved to California. Living in California at the age of seven is when Pilar’s love for animals first began; a neighborhood Boy sold Pilar a kitten for 25 cents. Pilar named the kitten Mily, and Mily lived to the age of 15. When Pilar graduated from North Hollywood High School in 1980, she began attending Los Angeles Valley College, where she began to work in the nursing campus.That was the beginning of her 30 year involvement in the medical administration field. Pilar moved with her two small children to Florida in 1988 and lived in Hialeah up until about a year ago.Pilar became involved with MCABSL shortly after her daughter brought home a pitbull puppy named Tank. After adopting Tank, Pilar wanted to find support from people who were also trying to put an End to breed specific legislation and also become more educated about the legislation in order to end the discrimination. “ Being a Human Rights Advocate for many years, I will not sit back and let dogs be discriminated because of their breed “ Pilar currently lives in Cutler Bay with her husband, Ivan, and her two dogs. With the help of several rescue organizations, there is no stray that crosses Pilar’s path that is left behind. Her beloved Tank, an APBT passed in 2020.
Board of Advisors
I am from ( We all say LOU A VULL), Ky. From the time I was a child,I always took care of those that couldn’t fend for themselves. Either it be a child with disabilities that children made fun of or the “lost” dog that “looked like”it needed a home! I have two daughters, Chelsea and Haley who I am CRAZY about, two doggies, Coco & Louie, and 2 ferrets. I moved to South Florida, a little over 10 years ago after my divorce so that I could be with my kids. They are my driving life force, so I cannot live without them. The greatest challenge I have today is having to separate work and family. I have been a hairdresser for 26 years and I have a successful, thriving business in Louisville, so I had to figure out how to work and life in South Florida . So,I travel back and forth by plane and work as little over a week and a half non stop to provide a roof over their head with their mother and another for myself when I’m back. Not the easiest way to earn a living but it does pay the bills. If it weren’t for the wonderful support from my clients and a terrific, LOVING doggy sitter when I’m gone I would go stir crazy. That pretty much sums me up in a nut shell. I am kind hearted, funny(at least I think I am) and a ginormous animal lover through and through!!
Board of Advisors
Mily was born in Havana, Cuba and came to this country in 1996 at the age of nineteen. At a very young age, she started showing lots of love and admiration for every animal in general. Her first pet was a rat, since rats were not a popular pet for kids in Cuba at all on the contrary they used to exterminate them, Mily became friend with a rat she used to feed and protect from the people. This rat lived very well and became really fat under Mily’s care. Little bit after that, Mily got two female dogs named Bitula and Sissy. She became so attached to them that her parents became a little worry about her because she used to prefer spending more time with her dogs than with other kids. When Mily got to this country like most immigrants, she worked in different places and attended school at the same time but immediately she tried looking for a job related with animals which is her passion. She worked at a pet shop while she was attending college and later Hygiene school where she obtained her associates degree in Dental Hygiene. To Mily, every animal is special in their own way but dogs are simply part of the family. During her pet shop years, Mily found her soul mate Gery who introduced her to the Bully Breeds. They have two “Kid Bulls” Divo and Chanel, one Rat Terrier named Cuquita that passed away at the age of sixteen, and two land turtles. Now in addition to the family, Mily and Gerry found an abandoned Bully which they named Sasha. We are very thankful to Dahlia Canes and her organization for accepting me as part of their board. It is a privilege to defend and be part of such a noble cause, hoping one day to stop the abuse and discrimination for this breed or any other. “Dogs are nothing more than man’s best friend.”
Board of Advisors
Odhra came from Venezuela to the United States in 2003 after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Since then, she has gained valuable knowledge and expertise through many different tasks of public and private accounting, as well as client service and administrative support. She is currently enrolled as a Certified Public Accountant and is part of a well-recognized CPA firm in town. Her strongest attribute is the eagerness to learn and commitment to work but it is also the passion she puts in everything that she does. She is the mother of two adorable dogs, a Beagle that likes to eat a lot and a rescued Labrador that acts like a lapdog, but she is also the proud aunt of a Pitty named Chelsea. Odhra joined MCABSL as volunteer in 2012 to campaign on favor of the referendum that would eliminate the long standing breed specific legislation in Miami Dade. Her main motivation was to provide Chelsea with freedom, safety, and a better life but, sadly, the repeal remained in place. Because of Chelsea, and because she is simply a dog lover, Odhra continues promoting the breed and looking after all dogs well being.
Board Of Advisors
Born in New Bedford, MA to Portuguese immigrants he graduated in 1992 from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with BS in Sports Management. He has worked in the health and fitness industry on full or part time basis for over 25 years. He is currently the National Director of Logistics and Transportation for the Sigma Plastics Group. His wife Dara and him reside in Royal Palm Beach, FL with their Bully Kai. He became a Bully Breed advocate shortly after losing both of his 18 year old Jack Russell Terriers. Promising himself that he would have “perfectly” behaved dogs on next adventure, he spent a little over a year researching and studying dog behavior and training. His research lead him to many professional studies regarding “Pit Bull Type Dogs”.Much of the information he was now reading was very contrary to the information he had previously “learned” through the more conventional means, the media. The information he was finding so contradicted the information he thought he knew, that he brought it to the attention of his wife and step daughter. As a family they decided to learn on their own . So they spent the better part of the next year volunteering at local shelters and rescues. They intentionally directed their focus toward Pit Bull type dogs. What they found was not only amazing but life changing. They found them to be some of the most well tempered and good natured dogs to work with. They shortly thereafter adopted Kai from a friend and his journey into rescue and advocacy exploded. They take Kai to many different social outings to help educate the public. He has become a regular fixture at local stores and parks. He has become a bit of a local celebrity in our community. Michael and Kai continue their educational work while helping local rescues whether it be with transport, walking, home transitions or financially.” He has joined the MCABSL team to fight BSL and continue to spread the awareness.
Regional Director for California
Mr. Concepcion was a Political Science major at the University of Florida and later secured a position as Legislative Aide to Representative Ralph Arza in the Florida Legislature after graduating in 2002. There, he assisted in the areas of legislative analysis and development, handled constituent inquiries and worked to resolve their difficulties with State agencies. He has held other positions through the years including his present job as Chief of Staff to Mayor Julio Robaina of the City of Hialeah, where he focuses on broadening community access to municipal services. David has an impressive record of volunteer activities dating back to his college days when he served as a Volunteer Firefighter in High Springs Florida. Back in South Florida, he has acted as Chairman and Executive Board Member of the Mater Charter K-12 Schools, Secretary and Executive Board Member of Hands in Action and the Flamingo Kiwanis Club, a member of the Hialeah Chamber of Commerce, and the Board of Somerset Charter K-12 Schools. Mr. Concepcion hopes to apply his experience working in the Florida Legislature and municipal government to his responsibilities on the CITT; representing the interests of the entire community to help transportation grow in a sustainable fashion. Mr. Concepcion also has a strong passion for the welfare of all animals. He has shown support to many rescue organizations within the community and is an honorary member of the Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation.
Regional Director for Connecticut
Luen Yeung was born in Hong Kong and came to the U.S. at the age of 5 years old. Growing up in the U.S. he developed a deep-seated love for animals and nature. In 2012 he graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. Throughout his college years he has been doing some traveling, including Bully Shows. Orcalab in Johnston Stone, British Columbia studying orcas. Solvang, CA learning the art of join-up to win the horse’s trust through the horse’s body language. He has a deep seated passion for pit bulls because he can relate to the dogs as himself. “In a world where we judge others based on their looks and what they do, these dogs symbolize us as the underdogs,” stated Luen. He sees Breed Specific Legislation as a form of racial profiling where it’s a vicious cycle that needs to be stopped. Luen works with rescuers and spread the info on BSL because its been affected in the northeast. As a gift for his dedication to this bully breed, he adopted a female American bully name Dreamer. Along with Dreamer they’re both advocating for this misunderstood breed everywhere they go. He has joined forces with MCABSL.
Regional Director for Polk County, FL
Lisa Moehring is a licensed Massage Therapist located in Polk County, Florida. She is also the founder of “Save Our Homeless Pets” which is a foundation dedicated to saving animals in need and placing them into forever homes. Her goal is to eliminate the high amount of deaths among animals within shelters and to promote the spay/neuter programs that help to keep animals off of the streets where they are in danger of death. Lisa is dedicated to changing the public perception of bully breeds and to help others understand the difference between the myths and facts associated with these breeds. She believes in the saying “there are no bad breeds, just bad owners.” Lisa continues to serve as an animal advocate and as an integral member within her community. Lisa feels a sense of pride in being partners with MCABSL. She believes in their goals and believes that the world needs to see these breeds for what they truly are – sweet, innocent, loving beings.
Regional Director for New Port Richey, FL
Devilyn is the most generous, loving soul when it comes to animals. She started her journey many years ago with one dog named “Ruger”. She is not only the Founder/Director of “Rugaz Rescue” Formally “Hernando’s APBT Rescue” but also on the Board of Directors for many Non-Profit local organizations. She has dedicated her life to rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing her Bully friends, and educating the public on Pit Bull Awareness. She is a Certified Animal Control Officer and on the Board of Directors for Alpha Society Therapy Dogs. She majors in Dog Behavior and teaching continuing education courses on The American Pit Bull Terrier and BSL Education Groups. Devilyn has even implemented Home Inspections at the SPCA for American Pit Bull Terrier’s. Her utmost concern is for each one of these dogs safety, health and happiness now and for the future preservation of the breed. She simply lives for the faces and smiles she sees on those dogs faces everyday and the smiles on the family’s faces when they bring home their new family member. The joy of knowing that, no matter what, at least a few will be saved and make it. She is an asset to those dogs who are so often given up on. They are lucky to cross paths with her, and she states she is more lucky to have met and been loved by them.
Regional Director for Jacksonville, FL
Jen Watson is the President of Pit Sisters Rescue in Jacksonville, FL. She also serves on the board of Clearly Jacksonville and is a Regional Director of MCABSL. Jen resides with her 5-year-old daughter and 4 pit bulls, including Nala, an AKC Canine Good Citizen and Registered Therapy Dog.
Regional Director for Hernando County, FL
Krisztina Kallai who founded and runs a Pit Bull, Pit Bull mix Rescue (Buster’s & Foster’s Haven, Inc) in Hernando County Florida, was born in Hungary. After she and her family escaped Hungarian communism in the late 80′s, she lived in Iowa for a short period of time, then moved to Florida where she graduated Countryside High School and later St. Petersburg College.She grew up in a family of animal lovers. According to her parents, the day she was born, she has been an animal lover, so much so that her first word was: “cica” (cat). For years, Krisztina has been raising, rescuing, volunteering and adoring dogs especially pit bulls and pit bull mixes in Hernando/Pinellas and Pasco Counties. Her first dog was a Pit Bull Mix named Foster, who was rescued from irresponsible owners. Her passion and understanding of the breed started for Pit Bulls because of him.Her mission and Buster’s & Foster’s Haven Rescue’s mission is to take in unwanted and lost Pit Bull, Pit Bull mixes, provide shelter, care, find secure and loving homes for them. She continuously provides advice, support and guidance for pet owners and increase the public’s awareness of its responsibility towards animals in our society. She is also an advocate against BSL, which has taken the lives of so many all over the world. When she is not rescuing animals, she is the VP of Operation at Zemplen Barrels.
Board of Advisors
Fio, been working in the Veterinary field since 2005 , I worked in Emergency from 2007-20013. I was a part of Zoo Miami from 2010-2013. I was a volunteer zoo keeper 2010 .Worked as a zoo keeper from 2011-2012 and worked at the education dept from 2012-2013. Then in Jan 2013 I started managing Key Biscayne Veterinary House Calls and in Feb Started working over at Greenleaf Animal hospital , where we practice Western Medicine as well as holistic medicine. I’ve always had a compassion working with animals and avail for humans and animals to coexists in understanding. My main ambition is to help educate humans of the importance of HOW TO live democratically with animals, as for we both share the same home,”earth”.
Regional Director for Lee County, FL
Maria Garcia was born in Havana, Cuba and came to the US when she was 4 y/0. At one year, her Dad had her sitting on horses already..:) She attended Palm Springs Elementary School in Hialeah, Fl. and started rescuing animals since then. She even had a monkey, mean geese, lots of rabbits, dog, turtle, bird…during that time. Her mom was from Spain, her Dad Cuban. She has a a son, Jorge, who lives in Miami. She has in her rescue, Noah’s Ark, 29 dogs, not all for adoption, birds, sugar gliders, confiscated ex fighting roosters, chickens horses and mini horses. Her hobbies are riding her horses, competing them, training mini horses for therapy, writing, and her passions are animals and teaching…Her favorite breed is the Pit Bull and love working with them. (training them). She’s lived in Miami most of her life with the exception of time she lived in England with the Department of Defense work in military base schools and in Puerto Rico a few years after finishing college bachelor’s degree. She teaches and has her PHD in psychology. She is determined to fight BSL and defend the Pit Bull breed in all its glory.
Jorge L. Guerra
Board of Advisors
Jorge L. Guerra Jr. is the president and chief executive officer of Real Estate Sales Force (RESF) and has been responsible for the firm’s strategic direction and growth since its inception in 2005. Guerra’s extensive experience as a former agent, the founder, and owner of a thriving brokerage, an association executive, and a highly regarded keynote speaker has equipped him to remain on top of emerging issues and trends impacting the future of real estate.
A dynamic industry leader serving as 2018 President for the Miami Association of Realtor’s Residential Board of Governors, 2018 Florida Top 50 Broker Vice chair in addition to 2017 Vice Chair for the National Association of Realtor’s Emerging Business and Technology forum, it should come as no surprise that Guerra’s brokerage is leading the revolution in today’s evolving market – betting on technology, social media, branding, and training have paid off tremendously for RESF and the results speak for themselves, the firm has expanded to over 450 agents with offices throughout South Florida.
Recognized as a forward-thinking real estate expert as it pertains to digital marketing – Jorge has served as a keynote speaker at a number of national and international high-profile industry events that include: Miami Rock the Market Florida Realtors Convention, National Association of Realtors (NAR) Convention, NAR’s Tech Edge, Xplode Conference, NAHREP National Convention, Inman Connect Miami, Inman Connect NY and Imocionate in Spain.