ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER (ACO) Instructors:

Chief Investigator Michael Melchionne (retired)
Chief Animal Control Officer and Animal Cruelty Investigator


Chief Investigator Melchionne started his career 1975.  He recently retired after having been an animal control officer for 38 years. He attended the first Animal Control Officers class in 1983 as well as the first Animal Cruelty Investigators Course in 2001. In 1985 he founded and was the first President of the New Jersey Certified Animal Control Officers Association and currently serves as their Executive Board Advisor and Administrator. Chief Melchionne attended and graduated from the Passaic County Police Academy as a Class II Special Police Officer. Investigator Melchionne attended John Hopkins University and holds a certificate for "Non-Profit Business and Management". He served as the Director of Animal Welfare Services for St Hubert’s Giralda. Investigator Melchionne then designed, implemented, and managed the Gloucester County Animal Control Program and Animal Shelter Operations. He served as Chief Animal Control Officer/Animal Cruelty Investigator for Stafford Township managing a staff of three full time and three part time ACO’s covering 5 local jurisdictions. Chief Melchionne has been appointed by two New Jersey Governors to serve on two State councils/task forces. Among his numerous NJ State certifications he is a certified Police Academy Instructor under the NJ Police Training Commission. Chief Melchionne volunteered and spent 10 days in Louisiana after Katrina rescuing animals left by their owners. Investigator Melchionne sits on several boards of directors including as an advisor to the NJ Animal Welfare Federation. Chief Melchionne owns several cats, a Brittany spaniel and a working organic farm in Pennsylvania with numerous rescued animals.Chief Investigator Melchionne is still considered the "GO TO" person for NJ Animal Control Officer and Animal Cruelty Investigator Issues.

Dr. Karen Dashfield, DVM

Karen is an experienced veterinarian who has spent over 19 years designing disease control programs for shelters, kennels and wildlife rehabilitation facilities throughout New Jersey. She has trained and evaluated search and rescue dogs as well as therapy dogs. She designed the original agility program at a leading animal welfare organization She has treated and monitored over 250 infected dogs in a single facility during a canine influenza outbreak and has worked with numerous facilities to identify, treat and control outbreaks of disease. As director of Sussex County Animal Response, she initiated and ran a shelter for Hurricane Katrina Dogs that received, re-homed and reunited over 200 animals. She was a house call veterinarian who provided regular on-site care for the animals of BARKS (Byram Animal Rescue and Kindness Squad) and Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary.
Currently she serves as the on-staff veterinarian for Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary. Through BARKS she runs a pet-food pantry that distributes pet food to human food pantries and needy families throughout Sussex County, N.J. Karen is also a consultant for Best Friends Animal Society, working on the Best Friends Search and Service Dog Program. For many years she responded to incidents like 9/11 with her dog Sophie. Her down to earth style has made her a sought after speaker for Best Friends, Petfinder, the AWFNJ, St Hubert’s and especially for us as instructor for CDI. She shares her home with her four dogs Red, Dusty, Bella and Sadie, and a cat named Princess. Sadie, a rescued Springer Spaniel, is a search dog in training.

Heather Cammisa. CAWA
President St. Hubert’s Giralda

Ms. Cammisa is a New Jersey native. She is currently the President & CEO of St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center with shelters in Madison and North Branch, New Jersey. Prior to joining St. Hubert’s in May of 2010, Ms. Cammisa worked for the Humane Society of the United States where she held several roles, most notably she was responsible for research, development and implementation of a spay & neuter campaign along with shelter outreach and targeted infrastructure investments in Louisiana and Mississippi, partnering with other national organizations and foundations. Prior to joining the HSUS, Ms. Cammisa was the Executive Director of the Jersey Shore Animal Center for five years and led the design, fundraising and completion of its new shelter and implemented cruelty investigations and other programmatic initiatives.

Ms. Cammisa is a certified NJ Animal Control Officer and Cruelty Investigator. She teaches a portion of NJ’s ACO certification course. She holds a Master’s Degree in Economics from Rutgers University. She has served on the boards of Jersey Shore Animal Center in Brick, New Jersey, the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, New Jersey and the Animal Welfare Federation of New Jersey. She is currently serves as an advisory member of the Animal Welfare Federation of New Jersey and is a board member of the National Federation of Humane Societies. She recently achieved the signature designation of Certified Animal Welfare Administrator. Her dog, “Sammy” ( a foster failure) was the Honda dog at the 2009 International Auto Show in New York City, debuting the new Dog Friendly Honda Element. For that, Honda made a donation that enabled the creation of SpayNJ’s customized advertisements in use to effectively message spay & neuter across the state. Heather and Sammy live in Somerset County.

Becky Burton
Vice President of Direct Animal Care and Life Saving Partnerships, St. Hubert’s Giralda

Becky Burton is the Vice President of Direct Animal Care and Life Saving Partnerships for one of the largest animal sheltering, adoption, and rescue operations in New Jersey at St. Hubert’s Giralda, Madison NJ. In her role as shelter manager Becky manages a large group of employees and volunteers responsible for the daily care and re-homing of 100’s of animals including cats, dogs, rabbits, birds, guinea pigs, etc. Becky has been a NJ Certified Animal Control officer for over 20 years and is a NJ Certified Animal Cruelty Investigator. She has been involved in numerous out-of-state animal rescues including; the Joplin Mo. F5 tornado, the largest animal cruelty rescue in history at Caboodle Ranch in Fla, the Bronx Dog fighting case, Hurricane Sandy HSUS sheltering on the Jersey Shore, a large cat hoarding case in South Jersey.  Her numerous other certifications include: HSUS swift water animal rescue, CPR and first aid for animals, Red Rover first responder, ASPCA & HSUS emergency responder, Morris County CART, FBI animal emergency responder qualified to respond to federal dog fighting cases, as well as numerous FEMA and ICS certifications. She began her career in animal welfare in high school as a kennel attendant, groomer, and doggy day care camp manager. She has also served as an assistant to the president of St Hubert’s. In her “spare” time she is mother to two children, 3 dogs, and 4 cats (all of the animals are rescues). One “fun” and inspirational fact about Becky….at a early age, while other girls her age were putting up posters of bands and rock stars in their rooms, Becky was plastering her walls with pictures of dog breeds proving that working with animals is her passion not just her job!

Marjorie Ford
New Jersey Wildlife Rehabilitator (retired)

Marjorie Ford was a licensed New Jersey wildlife rehabilitator for 19 years. From 1997 to 2006, Margie was the founder and Director of Brookview Wildlife Center, a registered 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization located in Boonton Twp., NJ. The Center provided care to native NJ mammals and offered a variety of education programs to the public (adult and children), veterinarians and Police Departments. Margie participated in St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center’s Pet Assisted Therapy program for many years and served on their board of Directors for eight years. In addition, Margie was part of a team that conducted a trial immunocontraception program on White-tailed deer at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum from 1997 through 2001 in cooperation with the Morris County Park Commission and the Humane Society of the United States. She is a past president of the New Jersey Association of Wildlife Rehabilitators, and a member of the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association. Margie was the 2006 recipient of the Animal Welfare Federation of NJ (AWFNJ) “Hero to Animals” award. She has given seminar presentations for St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare and AWFNJ, in addition to teaching the wildlife section of the Animal Control Officer Certification course at several New Jersey colleges.

Margie and her husband Bill live with two shelter adopted English bulldogs (Bertha & Klaus) and two cats, Sam & Gracie.  The Fords own and operate Brookview Farm, and sell Christmas trees during the Holidays.

Mark O’Grady
NJ Fire Captain (retired)

Captain O’Grady started his career as volunteer Firefighter in 1985, becoming a career firefighter in 1987 with Roselle Fire Dept, Roselle NJ. He retired in 2015 with 28 years of service as a Captain and 3 years as head of Training Bureau.  Captain O’Grady is a Fire Instructor level 2 in NJ as well as an instructor with the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. He is a District Forest Fire Warden with NJ Forest Fire Service. Captain O’Grady has spent 16 years as a wild land firefighter. Captain O’Grady teaches ICS 100 and 700.

Timoteo (Tim) Vazquez
NJ Division of Criminal Justice Investigator (retired)

Timoteo (Tim) Vazquez is the founder and chief instructor of Aikido Centers of New Jersey (ACNJ) Manasquan; and, is also the founder of DT Pro - Defensive Tactics for Professionals. Tim has studied a variety of martial arts and compliance systems. He has over 20 years of law enforcement experience and 30 years of martial arts experience. Tim is retired as a State Investigator for New Jersey. Some of Tim’s extensive law enforcement expertise includes:

  • New Jersey State Police certified officer instructor ID# 57170B in compliance with N.J. State "Security Officers Registration Act, SORA".
  • Former lead Defensive Tactics (D.T.) instructor for an accredited NJ State law enforcement training academy and author of the- D.T. lesson plan currently in use.
  • Former Certified Police Academy Instructor by the NJ Police Training Commission since 1992.
  • Certified FBI D. T. Instructor since 1993.
  • Instructor of Special Tactical Response Teams and member on two separate teams holding position of point man.
  • Former member of N. J. State Street Gang Unit and a qualified Hispanic Street Gang Expert in Superior Court.
  • Recipient of N.J. General Assembly Resolutions and U.S. Congressional Recognition for outstanding law enforcement investigations.

John C. Saccenti
President, Founder and Chief Educator for CDI

John C. Saccenti attended Fordham University where he received his Bachelors in Education, Masters in Education and Political Science, as well as his Educational Specialist Degree. After service as an Army officer and undercover work with the FBI, Mr. Saccenti served as a teacher and administrator before working with the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice. Before his retirement from that agency, his primary responsibility was the development of all Basic Law Enforcement Training. His work included the design and writing of the Basic Course for Investigators, the redesign and writing of the Basic Course for Police Officers and other major basic and advanced law enforcement courses.

Mr. Saccenti served as President of the National Association of Local Boards of Health and advised the US Surgeon General and the White House on public health policy. He has served as a consultant to the Office of the Attorney General, Office of Counter-Terrorism. He currently serves as a consultant to the United States Department of Justice. Mr. Saccenti is a nationally known speaker on public health, law enforcement and training development and management. He is the author of many articles on both law enforcement training and public health and serves as an adjunct professor at several New Jersey colleges.

Geoffrey R. Goyette
Vice President of Training & Development, CDI
NJ Certified Animal Control Officer & Animal Cruelty Investigator

Mr. Goyette spent almost 40 years managing private sector organizations from small start ups to multi- national corporations while living in Wisconsin, Illinois, California, New York, Louisiana, and New Jersey. He simultaneously spent 5 years as a Major League Baseball Player Agent, negotiating contracts for professional baseball players while continuing a successful full time management position. He is a certified New Jersey Animal Control Officer and Animal Cruelty Investigator and has worked as an Animal Control Officer and Animal Control Officer & Shelter manager. He is a member of the Sustainable Jersey Animals in the Community task force and co-founded an all volunteer 501c3 animal rescue organization. With CDI he instructs Pet First Aid for the ACO in the Animal Control Course as well as Communications, Media & Community Relations in the Animal Cruelty Investigator Course. He holds numerous certifications including that of NJ Police Training Commission Instructor. As the Bureau Chief of the Middlesex County Animal Rescue Team he has responded to a number of disasters. In 2011, he was recognized by the United Way as a “Hometown Hero” for his volunteer work with animals. His teaching partner is a state and nationally recognized certified therapy 10 year old golden retriever named Belle.

Belle

Belle is a 10 year old golden retriever who is a nationally recognized therapy dog and Pet First Aid instructor. Belle has received recognition from the American Kennel Club as well as is enshrined in the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association Animal Hall of Fame for her work with children, senior citizens, and nursing home patients. Belle has achieved certifications as a Canine Good Citizen and AKC Therapy dog. Belle has also been featured on a statewide television program, Aging in Middlesex County as well as having various article written about her.

 





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