FACE ADVISORY BOARD
Senator Raymond J. Lesniak
Senator Raymond J. Lesniak After a 40-year career in the NJ Legislature, Senator Raymond J. Lesniak has formed The Lesniak Institute For American Leadership at Kean University to teach the leaders of America the art and politics of public advocacy. Senator Lesniak served in the US Army from 1967 to 1969. He graduated from Rutgers University, class of 1971, and with honors from St. John’s Law School in 1974. He served in the State Assembly from 1978 to 1983 and had been in the Senate since 1983. He retired from the state legislature January 2018. As a champion of animal welfare, Senator Lesniak sponsored the first law in the nation which banned the trade of ivory products to help save elephants and other ivory tusk, preventing the mammals from extinction. He also banned “trophies” of endangered species from entry and transportation in New Jersey. He championed for Nosey’s Law, S1093 and NJ became the first state in the nation to ban the use of exotic animals from performing in the state. “Nosey’s Law”; prohibits use of elephants and other wild or exotic animals in traveling animal acts
Co-Founder of ADP
David Ebert is a co-founder of The Animal Defense Partnership (ADP) Animal Defense Partnership, a nonprofit that provides pro bono legal and related administrative services to animal charities. As a lifelong proponent of animal welfare, rights and protection, David co-founded ADP in 2016 as a means to devote himself more fully to defending animals using the skills developed over his 30+ year legal career. In his private practice as a litigation partner at the Ingram law firm in New York City, David litigates complex commercial matters and regularly tries cases in state and federal court in New York and around the country. After graduating with a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, David received his law degree from New York University Law School.
Dr. Anna Katogiritis
Greek American Biologist and Veterinarian
Dr. Anna Katogiritis, is a Greek American biologist and veterinarian based in the US. Anna has been involved in animal welfare campaigns for over 15 years. Dr. Kagitiritis coordinated the implementation of Dr. Jane Goodall’s (PhD, DBE, UN Messenger of Peace, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute) educational program Roots & Shoots in Greece (starting in 2016) and served as the co-Founder and Executive Director of Jane Goodall’s R&S Greece; a non for profit based in Athens, Greece. During her time in Greece she organized spay and neuter campaigns on the island of Karpathos. Dr. Katogiritis has volunteered numerous times in Greece, Sierra Leone, Congo and Indonesia to name a few countries, where she has assisted organizations with the rehabilitation and medical care of wildlife and domestic animals as well as the training of local personnel in medical techniques. In April of 2017, she was selected by the Greek America Foundation as one of the “Young Philanthropists 30 under 30” for her work in developing countries as well as Greece. Her special interests are in wildlife conservation and rehabilitation, animal rights and animal welfare of domestic animal populations- with a particular interest to those that are in underdeveloped areas of the world. Anna is currently an emergency veterinarian and independent consultant based in Virginia (USA). Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram): @DoctorAnnaK
Dr. Toni Frohoff
Ethologist and Wildlife Behavioral-Biologist
Dr. Toni Frohoff: Director of Research, SONAR (US) — Dr. Toni Frohoff is the Director of Research for both Terramar Research and Sonar. Toni, an ethologist and wildlife behavioral-biologist, has researched – and advocated for – the lives, loves, and liberties of elephants and cetaceans for over 30 years. She specializes in studying stress, behavior, and well-being in captivity and the wild. Toni has co-authored two University-Press books and has contributed to many others. Most recently, she contributed a textbook chapter on ecocultural identity and human-elephant interactions for Routledge University Press. Toni’s work has been featured extensively in the media and has contributed to legislation protecting wildlife in over a dozen countries. She serves on various government and professional boards, task forces, and committees. She has spoken at the Smithsonian Institute, TED Global Oxford, and most recently, a conference on Animal Culture in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Crystal Kramer serves as FACE’s General Counsel. A lifelong animal lover, Crystal began advocating for animal rights in 2015 and began handling pro bono matters on behalf of animal rights’ legal causes in 2017. As a litigation attorney in her private practice at the law firm of Offit Kurman, Crystal handles landlord-tenant and commercial litigation matters and regularly tries cases in Virginia state courts. Crystal received her B.A. from James Madison University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law.
FACE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
President – Robin Vitulle has been the Vice President and on the Board of Directors of FREE ALL CAPTIVE ELEPHANTS (FACE) since the nonprofit’s inception in 2017, stepping into the role of President in 2021. Robin began her advocacy in 2013 while learning of the elephant poaching crisis in Africa. This brought her to become aware of captivity of elephants right here in the USA and decided this is where she could do more to advocate for elephants in circuses and zoos. Robin was instrumental in the passing of Nosey’s Law in New Jersey. She gave testimony before the NJ Senate and Assembly Committees while working alongside retired NJ Senator Raymond J. Lesniak. Nosey’s Law made NJ the first state in the U.S. to ban the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling animal acts. She has also organized many peaceful circus protests, both in New Jersey and for other advocates where circuses are held. Boots on the ground advocacy is Robin’s specialty where face to face interactions with both the circuses and the public fuels her passion.
Vice President – Dee Gaug, Dee served as Secretary and on the Board of Directors for FREE ALL CAPTIVE ELEPHANTS (FACE) in 2017, stepping into the rold of President in 2019 and recently taking on the role of Vice President in 2021. Prior to her involvement with FACE, Dee worked as a trial attorney for 15 years. She has done pro-bono legal work both in Massachusetts and Florida including the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Dee received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of New Hampshire and her Juris Doctorate degree from Massachusetts School of Law. Dee was honored in 2018 by being asked to be on a panel at both the Free the Oregon Zoo Elephants Conference and The Performing Animal Welfare Society’s International Captive Welfare Conference. Dee is instrumental in the day to day operations of FACE.
Treasurer – Michelle Weirich is one of the founding members and has been the treasurer of FREE ALL CAPTIVE ELEPHANTS (FACE) since 2017. Michelle was instrumental in bringing information and education to legislators in New Jersey and has supported Senator Raymond Lesniak, the sponsor of Nosey’s Law in that state. She has helped organize circus protests on many occasions and is an advocate for all animals, using her voice and her action to rescue many needy animals on a daily basis. Every day Michelle is out rescuing dogs, pigs, goats, horses and any suffering animal that needs help. Boots on the ground advocacy is Michelle’s expertise where the ability to engage with the public is most beneficial.
Secretary – Adrienne Possenti began elephant advocacy in 2013 by starting a letter writing campaign to local newspapers to educate the community of the need for legislative intervention on behalf of traveling exotic animals. Adrienne was determined to be a force and a voice for abused captive elephants. Adrienne convinced her local elected officials to enact an ordinance banning traveling exotic animal exhibitions, ending a 52 year-long circus tradition in her community. A county resolution to ban circus animal exhibitions was put in place with Adrienne’s sponsorship. Adrienne gave testimony in favor of Nosey’s Law in New Jersey’s state capital before both the House Appropriations Committee and the Assembly Committee. Nosey’s Law was passed in December, 2018. This groundbreaking legislation made New Jersey the first state in the nation to ban all traveling exotic animal exhibitions. In May, 2018, Adrienne became an Administrator for FACE and a member of the Board of Directors. Adrienne now dedicates herself full-time to FREE ALL CAPTIVE ELEPHANTS (FACE) and to supporting the TRAVELING EXOTIC ANIMAL PUBLIC SAFETY PROTECTION ACT, H.R. 2863 (TEAPSPA). A highlight in Adrienne’s advocacy history was being present in Washington, DC during the reintroduction of TEAPSPA, May, 2019.
Susan Meredyth Smith
Susan Meredyth Smith has been a grant writer for nonprofit organizations for the past 10 years. Her primary interests are focused on animal welfare, wildlife protection and endangered species. She is a native of Virginia and joined FACE after hearing about their work on behalf of Asha at the Natural Bridge Zoo. Susan has helped define our fundraising goals, develop a strategic plan, and build relationships with funders. As a resident of Virginia, she has been an important part of our work with the legislators in Richmond to free Asha and move her to an accredited sanctuary. Susan’s desire to help elephants was strengthened two years ago when she took a trip to Africa and came home determined to use her professional experience to help nonprofits succeed in their work on behalf of elephants. She is honored to be a part of the FACE team.