Leadership and Program Support

Natalie Hoskins

Executive Director

Natalie got her start in the animal welfare industry in 2009 as an Animal Caregiver at EBHS. Throughout the years, she has taken on many roles within the organization including Humane Officer, Shelter Operations Assistant Manager, Customer Relations Manager, Director of Animal Care and Field Services, Director of Special Projects, and now Executive Director! Natalie has one human child and four furry children; Mason a human boy, Gubbins a French Bulldog mix (and the 2023 Wagfest King), Lt. Dan a Siamese mix from EBHS, Stormageddon a Siamese mix from EBHS, and Nightwing a hefty brown Tabby from EBHS. Natalie enjoys most outdoor activities such as boating, hiking, camping, kayaking, paddleboarding, and gardening. The only outdoor activities you won’t catch Natalie trying are hunting or fishing since she is a vegan. In addition to enjoying the outdoors, Natalie loves watching her son’s sporting events and working on home renovation projects with her husband.

Melanie Strenk

Accountant

Melanie attended UW-Milwaukee and earned her BS in Finance & Human Resources as well her MS in Accounting. Melanie has over 20 years of accounting experience and is thrilled to provide that expertise to an organization she is passionate about, EBHS. Currently Melanie’s family consists one cat (Grayson) and two dogs (Abrams & Matilda).

Stephanie DeSwarte

Director of Community Resource

Stephanie attended University of Wisconsin Green Bay and University of Wisconsin Whitewater. Her field of study was elementary education and history. She joined EBHS in September of 2017. Stephanie has always had a passion for animals. She has had dogs all her life and used to breed guinea pigs. She currently has a dog named Sabrina who is a former resident of EBHS. When Stephanie is not at work she enjoys going hiking with her dog, traveling especially on cruises, shopping, and spending time with family and friends. One of her favorite quotes is “Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution.”- Einstein

Nicole Latus

Volunteer Coordinator

Nicole graduated from Madison College in May 2014 with an Associate Degree in Applied Science. Before joining EBHS in 2021, Nicole worked as a Certified Veterinary Technician at a small animal hospital. Nicole has always felt a strong connection with animals and knew from a very young age they would play an important role in her life. Nicole shares her home with five rescue pets; a Boston Terrier/Chihuahua mix named Rally (EBHS alum), an orange tabby named Bob, a dilute calico named Juno, an orange domestic longhair named Maudie (EBHS alum) and a black cat named Lumos Maxima (aka Max, also an EBHS alum). Nicole enjoys spending time with her husband and two young kiddos. You will often find them outdoors playing in the mud, dancing in the rain and soaking up all that nature has to offer. In her free time Nicole loves reading, cooking and upcycling antique furniture. One of Nicole’s favorite quotes is, “To live will be an awfully big adventure.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Sheila Postotnik

Director of Community Education 

Sheila graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with degrees in English and Film Studies. After nearly two decades with the Milwaukee YMCA directing a variety of education and youth development programs, Sheila did a stint as a marketing manager with a dog training facility before landing at EBHS where she has been for five years. Sheila has volunteered for several rescues and shelters through fostering, community outreach, dog walking, and animal care. She served on the first Friends of MADACC board, helping to raise funds for various shelter improvement and outreach initiatives. Sheila has two dogs: Sailor, a havanese and certified therapy dog who joins Sheila at various EBHS humane education visits and Ro, a whippet who is loving life! Sheila’s hobbies include classic films/TV, writing, and dog sports. In April of 2020, Sheila earned the Certified Humane Education Specialist (CHES) Certification from the Academy of Prosocial Learning, becoming one of four Humane Educators in the state of Wisconsin with this distinction. Her favorite quote is,
“Only the educated are free.” ~ Epictetus

Carol Sumbry

Dog Training and Behavior Manager

Carol attended Parkland College and the University of Illinois. Her field of study was Management/Personnel psychology. She joined the team at EBHS in 2007. Carol now loves the study of dog behavior and is an Associate Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (one of only four in the state of Wisconsin certified by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer with almost 2 decades of experience. She does Behavior Assessments, Treatment Plans and Behavior/Training Protocols for dogs who exhibit problems or behaviors due to lack of early socialization, temperament, training or other issues such as aggression, anxiety or fear. She also teaches classes and does private consultations to help clients raise a great dog.

Carol also fosters dogs and has fostered hundreds of dogs over the years, most with behavior issues. She has two foster “failures” from EBHS.  Leine and Timber were puppy mill dogs rescued by EBHS. When she isn’t working Carol loves to paddleboard, walk/run, do therapy work with her dogs, do yoga, and spend quality time with her dog and human family.  Carol’s favorite quote is “Be the change you want to see in the world”. ~ Ghandi

Becky Tetzlaff

Director of Special Projects 

Becky joined our staff team in March 2014 and has fulfilled several positions within our Volunteer Department since then. She now resumes the role of Director of Special Projects, working on a variety of needs we have to grow and fulfill our mission.  Graduating with her bachelor’s degree in business in 2013 and volunteering her time and home to many animals in need, Becky has a deep seeded passion for animals and our fundamental responsibility in caring for them. In her free time, you will find Becky enjoying the company of her 3 cats and dog, spending time in the great outdoors with her family, crafting, cooking, and when at all possible, sitting in the sun.

John Lersch

Director of Marketing and Communications 

John graduated from Marquette University with a degree in advertising/PR with a minor in English. After working 30 years in the marketing field, John joined the Marketing and Communications team here at EBHS in August of 2023. John has always had a great connection with animals. Outside of work, John can be found playing with his 3 rescued English Cream Retrievers Franklin (7), Henry(5) & Maddy(5) or on his boat with them tooling around the lake. John also owns his own candle company that retails at different stores around the city. When John is not working, you can find him relaxing by the lake he lives on or throwing the ball for his dogs with his husband Dan.

Melanie Bergemann

Event Coordinator

Melanie, also known as Mel B. (Spice Girl fans at EBHS), began her journey in animal welfare by volunteering at her local Humane Society at the age of 11. At 18, she enlisted in the United States Army as an Animal Care Specialist, specializing in the care of Military Police dogs. Transitioning into the civilian sector, Mel B. has since served as the Marketing Director for a non-profit veteran group, contributing to various events and galas, including those in the Milwaukee hospitality scene. During her free time, Mel enjoys traveling, seeking out the best lattes, and taking walks along Lake Michigan with her Akita/Husky mix, Lana. 

Beth Blackwood

Director of Animal Operations

Beth was born on a cool spring afternoon back in the 80s. Her parents were surprised she wasn’t born with a tail or whiskers because her love of animals was evident pretty much right away. Her first word was even meow! Beth spent her childhood dreaming about having pets. She had no pets growing up because her mom was conveniently allergic to dogs and cats (turns out she lied about being allergic to dogs, thanks mom). The childhood deprivation of animals only fueled Beth’s love for them. She dedicated her life to becoming a famed savior of animals. She began her groundbreaking work by becoming the president of her high school’s FFA chapter where she competed in cheese and dog breed identification competitions. She went on to receive a BS degree in Zoology at the prestigious MSU-Mankato in Minnesota. After achieving her degree, Beth worked at the Pine Grove Zoo in Minnesota as the zoo curator. She spent her days training lions, tigers, and bears (okay maybe not lions, but definitely tigers and bears!). In 2019 Beth made the move to the great cheesy state of Wisconsin and thus began her career at EBHS. Beth very much enjoys her work at EBHS and the thousands of lives EBHS helps each year.

In her free time, Beth enjoys spending time with her 9 adopted children: 7 cats Maige, Zero, Warlow, Neville, Godric, Ambrose, and Tuppy, and 2 dogs Daenerys and Brutal (Why so many you ask? It’s the childhood deprivation), ghost hunting (NOT like the ghost busters or Zak Bagans), listening to some highbrow music, camping, practicing yoga, and studying pet nutrition. Beth’s favorite inspirational quite is “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”  -Albus Dumbledore AKA the GOAT

 

Animal Care

Elias Meinzer

Animal Care Lead

Elias began his pet care career at the age of 16 when he got his first job at a local pet store. Over the next several years he would build upon his knowledge and experience by working exclusively in the pet care industry. He specialized in aiding guests in finding their pet’s perfect balance of nutrition, enrichment, training, and grooming needs. Elias also has a passion for exotic animals and has traveled all over the state helping reptiles in need! Anything from dogs, cats, reptiles, aquatic life, avians, and small animals, he has a wealth of love and knowledge for. In his free time, he enjoys spending quality time with his border collie, Alteya, and finding new and eccentric hobbies. Two of Elias’ favorite quotes are “Many a rat I’ve befriended, and so many a thorn stood between” and “You shine like the sun and the moon and the stars in the sky” -Ghost

Shelby Adkins

Cat Behavior Team

Shelby volunteered for about two years as a cat socializer at EBHS before she became part of the team. Before this she worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant at an Assisted Living facility for seven years. She loved taking care of the elderly almost as much as they loved her. As hard as it was to leave, she decided to change her path and help animals and people as an Animal Caregiver. She has always loved animals since she was a little girl and her aunt always told her she’ll either be helping animals or people. Shelby hopes for a program that she can help out with that includes animals and the elderly as it is very therapeutic to them. During her free time, she loves to be at home with her two cats, Callie and Tweet who were adopted from EBHS, visiting her past residents, camping, being around family, and enjoying life as it is. Shelby’s favorite quote is advice from her father, “If it scares you or it’s out of your comfort zone, do it anyways, it will almost always be the change you needed”

Laura Hagenauer

Medical Team

Laura has always loved animals but grew up in the Air Force, moving a lot, so didn’t get a chance to have many. She always threatened that she’d grow up to share her home with as many animals as she could, and she and her partner Patrick are really working towards that goal! They moved from Arizona with 5 cats and a cat-loving hound dog named Hannah, all rescues (and some foster successes who moved in and made themselves at home.) Laura has worked in wildlife biology for years and companion animal rescue and medicine for 6 years. She loves fostering cats and kittens and is passionate about continuing to provide gold-standard veterinary care for rescue animals here at EBHS. Laura loves working with wildlife and companion animals and has a special place in her heart for feral and undersocialized cats. She’s also discovered a new love for small companion animals, like reptiles, birds, ferrets, guinea pigs, mice, rats and especially rabbits at EBHS. She’s grateful to be with the EBHS family, caring for the animals and people who love them in this area.

Rena McCormack

Cat Behavior Lead

Rena graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences. From a young age helping animals has been a passion of Rena’s; throughout the years, Rena’s jobs have had a focus on caring for animals, which ultimately brought her to EBHS. While Rena loves all animals, she holds a special place in her heart especially for cats. Because of this passion, Rena volunteered at EBHS as a cat socializer for four years before joining the behavior and counseling teams.  In her free time, Rena enjoys reading and taking pictures, with her best models being her two cats. One of Rena’s favorite quotes is by the author Dean Koontz- “No one can grant you happiness. Happiness is a choice we all have the power to make.”

Starr Vigo

Environmental Team, Humane Officer

Starr joined the Animal Care team on January 13, 2020, and has since been cross trained to help in the Customer Relations Department.  In addition, she jumped at the opportunity to become the go to staff member for wildlife related questions and assistance and joined our Humane Officer team in the Summer of 2020.  Starr knew joining the EBHS team was the perfect fit for her given her love of and desire to help shelter animals and sick and injured wildlife.  Before joining the EBHS team, Starr worked at a local doggy daycare for 5 years and loved every single dog she met.  She holds a veterinary assistant degree and interned at a local veterinary clinic.  She has also volunteered at Scout Camps and enjoys working with children.  In her spare time, Starr enjoys watching “nerdy” movies, reading, spending time with family and friends, but her true passion is being with her animals.  She adopted Leo (cat) and Ricky (dog) from EBHS and adores them both!  Her family shares her love of animals having adopted a stray puppy, Nyx, from New Mexico.  She notes that Nyx and Ricky are inseparable.  An inspiring quote for her is “Every single day of our lives involves wildlife education.  We must teach, spread the word, the wildlife gospel.” – Steve Irwin

Caitlin (CJ) Feely

Environmental Team

CJ has always opened their heart and home to animals of all kinds.  Whether it was taking an injured squirrel to a wildlife center, attempting to befriend wild pigeons, or taking in animals that were in need of rehoming.  Currently, her pets include two cats (Ruby and Leia), an axolotl (Lance), and two chihuahuas (Oscar and Yoda).  She has also found an immense amount of love for small animals and has cared for hamsters since she was young.   In free time, CJ enjoys learning about art history and painting, going to antique stores, and watching sci-fi drama TV shows.

Dr. Emma Sweet DVM

Shelter Veterinarian (part-time)

Dr. Sweet is a Wisconsin native originally from Hartland, WI. She dreamed of becoming a veterinarian since childhood and grew up having pets, working in kennels, and volunteering at HAWS down the road. She received her Bachelors of Science in Biology and Spanish from UW-River Falls in 2016 and her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine in 2022. She is passionate about providing quality, accessible care to animals and people from all walks of life and is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

She currently lives with her wife, Kelsey, and their pack of rescue animals including dogs, cats, and guinea pigs. Dr. Sweet is a huge fan of pugs and has 3 of them at home amongst her other creatures. She enjoys reading, quality time with her family and pets, and a good TV show. Dr. Sweet has an interest in caring for dogs, cats, and exotic animals and loves to help clients who speak Spanish (habla español). She loves all creatures, big and small! Two quotes that she lives by are “If it’s not hard, you’re not dreaming big enough!” and “Stand for something or fall for anything.”

Dr. Kelsea Neitzke DVM

Shelter Veterinarian (part-time)

2021 graduate from the Lincoln Memorial College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Kelsea is an integral part of EBHS since September 2023. Advocating Fear Free medicine, she brings a compassionate touch to every patient. At home, with husband Cameron, Dr. Kelsea shares life with Callan, their human child, and a lively menagerie—Lily the Chihuahua, Cleo the Staffordshire Terrier, Remus the Pug, McGee the cat (inspired by NCIS), and Fizz the leopard gecko.

Beyond saving animal lives, Dr. Kelsea finds joy in hiking, indulges in favorite TV shows like Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill, passionately supports hockey and baseball teams, and enjoys board games. Dr. Kelsea’s dedication to Fear Free medicine, both professionally and personally, and her diverse interests make her an invaluable member of the EBHS team, ensuring the well-being of both pets and their human families.

Kaitlin (Katy) Knas

Dog Behavior Lead

Katy graduated from Carroll University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behavior and a minor in Psychology. She specialized in animal welfare and canine behavior management. Katy started working in the animal field at a doggy daycare following high school graduation and moved on to various veterinary clinics as a vet assistant and client service representative, all leading her to her dream job of working with shelter dogs and developing ways to improve their welfare and aid in their adoption. 

Outside of work she enjoys various outdoor activities, but her favorite is swimming with her two dogs, Grimm and Khaleesi! Katy’s other companion at home is her Maine coon, Ares, who enjoys being held like a baby and snuggling up to his family! She hopes to one-day train shelter dogs to become therapy and service dogs for people struggling with mental illnesses.  

Katy’s favorite quote reflects the risks necessary to find true happiness: “To love at all is to be vulnerable.” 

Jules Payne

Medical Team

Jules brings 26 years of unwavering dedication to the veterinary field, driven by her passion for advocating for animals. At home, she’s surrounded by the love of three feline friends – Bounce, Bumble, and Edgrrr – and a faithful companion, Freyja the dog. Beyond her commitment to animal care, Jules finds solace in the world of literature, immersing herself in books, and delving into the mysteries of true crime and paranormal TV shows. A multifaceted individual, Jules is not only a seasoned veterinary professional but also a Reiki master, combining her love for animals with holistic healing practices. With a heart devoted to both science and spirituality, Jules continues to make a positive impact on the well-being of our furry friends.

Braedon Clanton

Environmental Team

Braedon graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with an Associate’s Degree in Arts and Sciences. He has always had a passion for animals. Braedon has cared for a variety of animals from dogs to snakes, he has a special place in his heart for geriatric dogs. Beyond his professional expertise, Braedon is a history buff, music lover, and Formula 1 enthusiast. His green thumb extends to gardening and houseplants, complementing his passion for antiques and mixology. A seasoned traveler, he has explored 38 states, 3 US territories, and 9 countries. Braedons’s diverse interests and rich experiences make him a valuable and well-rounded member of our team, dedicated to the well-being of every pet.

Brynn Kebisek

Dog Behavior Team

 Brynn graduated from Carroll University in 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science. Her profound love for dogs led her to this role, where she is growing her skills in understanding and enhancing their behaviors. At home, Brynn is accompanied by Scarlett, her cherished senior petite Goldendoodle. Beyond canines, her fascination with ornithology blooms, with corvids like the American Crow, Blue Jays, and Magpies captivating her. In her downtime, Brynn is an avid gamer, immersing herself in zombie survival and storybook games. An artist in her own right, she finds joy in drawing and digital art, and family TV show nights round out her diverse range of interests.

Community Resource

Morgan Gourley

Community Resource Associate/Graphic Designer

Morgan’s two loves in life are art and animals. She’s grown up with dogs but likes all different kinds of animals from cats and dogs to snakes and turtles and most anything in between. She has volunteered at EBHS since she was 16 years old starting with general housekeeping and for the past two years has volunteered as a cat socializer and graphic designer. Morgan graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor’s in Graphic Design and Media Arts. In 2018 she also graduated from Waukesha County Technical College with a dual Associates degree in Graphic Design and Web and Digital Media Design. In her spare time, she enjoys activities like writing stories, drawing, watching movies, listening to music, and spending time with her dog, Joey, who was adopted from EBHS. A quote that guides Morgan in life is “Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile.” ~ Mark Twain

Heather Davis

Community Resource Associate

Heather focused her studies on Marketing Communications, earning a MBA from UW-Whitewater in 2001 and a BA from Lakeland College in 1994. After 25+ years in corporate marketing, she decided to switch gears and pursue her passion for animals. After volunteering at multiple animal shelters, she knew that working for EBHS would be a great fit and enjoys every minute spent here. Heather currently has 2 dogs, an Australian Shepherd mix named Bucky and a Pointer/Lab mix named Lambeau. When she wins the lottery, she’s going to buy a huge farm to foster and “pet all the dogs.” Heather is very passionate about the welfare and humane treatment of dogs and hopes that lawmakers work quickly to eliminate puppy mills and other inhumane animal environments. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, competitively cheers for the Packers, Badgers, Brewers, & Bucks, and enjoys traveling to new countries and tropical places whenever she can. One of her favorite quotes is from Charles Darwin who said, “There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness and misery.”

Nora Biersack

Community Resource Associate

Prior to joining EBHS, Nora worked at Materion, a global advanced materials manufacturing company where she held various positions from Customer Service to Marketing Communications and Project Management, always with one foot in IT.  She led countless impactful IT projects and ultimately served on the global IT Leadership Team, overseeing operations in the US, Europe and Asia.  In early 2023 Nora stepped away from her full time career.  She knew she needed new adventures that would make her heart happy, and was determined to live every day with a purpose.  This pursuit led her to join the EBHS team where she is able to blend her lifelong love of animals, especially dogs, with her passion for providing quality and compassionate customer care. 

Nora has had dogs all her life, and currently shares her home with her husband and two dogs, Max a silly, strong-willed Cocker Spaniel, and Sadie, a sweet and playful Great Pyrenees/Beagle rescue.  When she’s not at EBHS or out walking the neighborhood with her pups, you’ll find Nora volunteering for several different local organizations, working in her own garden or others as a Master Gardener, or exercising and training for her next Triathlon.  Nora’s favorite quote represents the many life-changing events that have led her to where she is today.  “It’s often the places we didn’t plan to go and the people we didn’t know we needed to meet that end up changing our lives in the most beautiful ways.”  ~ Topher Kearby

Julie Hilleshiem

Community Resource Lead

Being very shy as a child, Julie was drawn to animals and preferred their company over fellow humans. Her family usually had a dog but when visiting friends and family, she could be found playing with any pets she could find. Becoming a veterinarian was determined not to be an option after she nearly passed out when dissecting a frog in 6th grade!

Surprisingly enough, Julie ended up studying psychology and sociology and earned her bachelor’s degree from UW-Whitewater. She started her career in social services shortly after graduation and moved to CA with a friend where she continued working with individuals with special needs and pursued a master’s degree in psychology. After a few years of managing care facilities, Julie wanted a change in her career and began working as a veterinary assistant in a small animal hospital. A couple of years later, she was able to combine her management experience with her love for animals and was hired as a Hospital Administrator, followed by Regional Hospital Administrator, for a group of veterinary hospitals. The company eventually merged with Veterinary Centers of America and, after her region in Las Vegas successfully transitioned, Julie moved to Seattle to join a new group of hospitals that former colleagues had started. Due to her growing fascination with real estate, she earned her broker’s license and after six years of serving as Regional Vice President of Operations of Pet’s Choice, she left to sell real estate.

Eventually, Julie decided to return home to Wisconsin where she earned her MBA, sold real estate, and managed veterinary hospitals. Currently, she is a real estate broker, in addition to her new role as Community Resource Lead at EBHS. She joined EBHS to get back into the companion animal field, learn new things, and do something fun and rewarding! When not selling houses or working at EBHS, Julie enjoys traveling, painting, refinishing furniture, camping, exploring wineries, and spending time with her 3 grandchildren and her 3 y.o. Springador, Midas.

Building and Grounds Maintenance

Glen Lauersdorf

Glen’s time at EBHS began in 2017 as a volunteer, transporting injured wildlife to Wildlife In Need Center from our organization. As he thought more about retirement from HP as a Datacenter Hardware Specialist, he thought he better find something to do to stay busy. So the Maintenance Associate position became available, he felt this would be the perfect fit and indeed it was! He has always enjoyed being a handyman around the house, plus he has assisted with many others with projects. he also volunteers with BRATS (Badger Rescue Animal Transport Services) transporting animals in WI between shelters to increase their chance at adoption. Over the years he has had many cats and dogs, however at this time he does not have any pets other than fish. His goal is to start taking in senior Great Pyrenees dogs that cannot find homes. Glen’s favorite quote is “Never give up – never surrender.” ~ Jason Nesmith