Erie Puppy Mill Awareness


Meet EPMA's Executive Board

Denise Radford, DVM ~ EPMA Founder / President

As a veterinarian, Denise is an expert in the fields of animal health and welfare. She’s been raising awareness about puppy mills for over 10 years, and has been speaking up for neglected animals much longer than that. As a teenager with a brand new license and a broken down old car, she applied for a job at a local pet shop that she had visited countless times as a kid. She left the interview unsettled by the condition of some of the puppies that she saw. That night she went home and learned about puppy mills for the first time. She was immediately passionate about ending the cruelty and educating the animal lovers that didn’t know. The first people she told? Her parents. They became avid supporters of her mission and they’ve even volunteered at anti-puppy mill events near their hometown.

She founded Erie Puppy Mill Awareness just a short while after moving to the Erie area and is responsible for the vision, mission, and strategy of the organization. She tells her volunteers all the time – “Be peaceful. Be factual. Be tactful!”

Outside of EPMA and being a veterinarian, Denise enjoys being outdoors, exercising, and spending time with her family and rescue pets. She knows there are a lot of dog lovers in Erie, and she knows that if we all speak up, Erie can join the other 130 municipalities in the US that have “gone humane”. Have you told someone about puppy mill cruelty today?

Jenny Grimshawe, DVM ~ Vice President

Dr. Jenny is a hometown girl who attended Harborcreek High School and Mercyhurst University. For Veterinary School, Dr. Jenny went to Ross University in St. Kitts and completed her fourth year at Auburn University. Animal welfare has always been of the utmost importance to Dr. Jenny. As a teenager, she was a 4-H member and an employee at the local Humane Society where she participated in animal care, adoptions, and cruelty seizures. She also trained to be a veterinary technician at a local animal hospital and the Pet Emergency Center for over six years before graduating as a veterinarian.

Becoming a veterinarian meant being able to save the life of any animal in need, and there was no other career that made Dr. Jenny happier. It was a lifelong dream. It also meant that she would be able to share her education with the public, other animal lovers, and spread awareness. Dr. Jenny joined EPMA to locally make Erie citizens aware of the cruelty behind mass animal breeding in puppy mills and the local people who are actively selling mill puppies.Let’s promote kindness to animals. Let’s unite to demand strict PA laws against the sale of puppies in a retail store. Let’s work together to make Erie a place that other towns want to emulate. Join EPMA today, we’d love to have your support!

Sherry Beliveau ~ EPMA Secretary

As Secretary of the Erie Puppy Mill Awareness Board, Sherry is honored and excited to be a part of a passionate group of people using education and love for man’s best friend to make local and national changes for the lives of all puppy mill companion animals. Sherry holds an ASB as an Executive Administrative Assistant and enjoys communicating with all interested in being part of the solution in stopping puppy mills. Sherry’s love for animals has been a large part of her life since childhood. Besides working full time as a Correspondences Specialist for Erie Insurance, he has been the phone receptionist at Animal Ark Pet Hospital for 11 years. In that job, she has learned much about the dedication of pet owners and the devotion of animals that brings nothing less than complete love and happiness to their owner’s lives. Sherry has two beautiful Alaskan Malamutes who bring her and her husband great joy every day. Sherry enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling as much as possible, and writing in her spare time. Sherry’s favorite quote is by Gandhi – “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Jessica Carlson ~ EPMA’s HSUS Liaison

Jessica grew up not far from Erie, PA in Jamestown, NY.  Her love for animals showed from a young age.  Besides the love she gave to her family dog, she extended it out to other animals.  In elementary and middle school, Jessica would write letters to non-profit organizations asking about how she can do more to help the animals that were being harmed or on the verge of extinction. 

In high school and college her activism carried on and she joined organizations to help bring awareness not only to animal concerns but issues that were affecting our planet as well.  She became a full vegetarian by the age of 16.  Jessica wanted to do more for the community so she would volunteer at the local animal shelter.  After college she lived in Pasadena, CA for almost 5 years.  There she continued to educate herself on the many animal issues and started to make even more compassionate changes in her life that would benefit animals.  By the time she was 30, she was living a full vegan lifestyle.

Over the years, Jessica has had some amazing life experiences and has worked a variety of jobs to get her to the place she is now.  She has an Associate degree from Jamestown Community College in Humanities and a BA in Theater from Fredonia.  In 1999-2000, she toured the USA, Europe and Canada with a cast of 150 members from numerous countries with the performing group Up With People.  While traveling she performed, stayed with host families and took part in community service work in every city she visited.  While living in CA she pursued a career in acting and worked as a background actor on many TV shows, movies etc. 

Jessica currently works in Erie full time as a Center Director for an early childhood education company.  She values the importance of educating our youth on helping our planet, being healthy and making compassionate choices to help animals so she implemented the international campaign “Meatless Mondays” at her previous and current school.

In the local community she donates time to helping at fundraising and pet adoption events as well as fosters animals whenever possible.  She also offers support to “Erie Trap and Release” and continues to educate others on helping our feral friends.  Jessica is also a certified transporter of injured wildlife through “The Tamarack Center”. 

Other community involvement includes being a former member of “The Erie Photography Club” and “The Eerie Roller Girls” roller derby team.  She currently serves on the board at our local “Whole Foods Co-op”.  Jessica is also the founder and organizer of “The Erie Vegan Meetup group”. 

Jessica actively keeps busy with many larger, national organizations.  She volunteers time at many of Farm Sanctuary’s events such as their “Hoe Downs” and “Celebration for the Turkeys” and tries to visit as much as possible to see her friends (both human and animal).  She also is a volunteer District Leader in PA for “The Humane Society of the United States”.  She will be working closely with the community and reaching out to local and state representatives to help change laws that will better the welfare of animals.As you can see, Jessica is very passionate about helping animals.  She truly believes that the best way for change to happen is to educate and raise awareness to others and the community.  By working together, good things will happen.  She looks forward to meeting and working with many of you!

Laurie Craig ~ Treasurer

Laurie moved to Erie, PA in 2013 from northwest Ohio, where she spent much of her spare time advocating for animals.  She served as a Volunteer Coordinator for ballot initiatives with Ohioans for Humane Farms and the Coalition to Ban Ohio Dog Auctions.  She also participated for many years in Humane Lobby Days where she met with lawmakers in Ohio’s capital, educating them on humane legislation and asking for their sponsorship and support. In addition to advocacy, Laurie was an active volunteer with Toledo Area Humane Society, Planned Pethood and English Springer Rescue America.

Outside of her job as an Account Manager for a national health insurer and volunteer work with EPMA, Laurie enjoys outdoor activities such as camping and hiking with her husband and their dog, Iggy, who himself was rescued from a puppy mill, as well as spending time with their families throughout the Midwest. Laurie is excited to be part of Erie Puppy Mill Awareness and getting active in the community to help promote humane legislation and spread the word of the inhumane practices of puppy mills.

monica Kidder, Action Committee Coordinator

Born and raised in Erie, Monica has loved animals since she was a kid and always wanted to help them in any way she could. She donates to both national and local animal organizations as well as utilizes social media sites to share petitions and spread awareness. She has also previously volunteered a short time at Orphan Angels Cat Sanctuary.

Never giving it much thought before, Monica learned the truth involving puppy mills and store-bought pups thanks to the Erie Puppy Mill Awareness group. She is one of the original followers and volunteers of EPMA. She’s excited to further her efforts of being a voice for the voiceless and has recently joined the EMPA board.

She hopes to someday have dogs of her own, but due to her living situation she is currently unable to. Until then, she is happy being a “birdmom” of two lovebirds. Monica is looking forward to seeing what the future holds for this group and is hoping to see more people join this cause! 

Lisa Totleben ~ fundraising chair

Lisa has lived in Erie nearly all her life and while she was late to the “animal lovers club” she is making up for lost time.  Lisa met her first dog rescue while dropping off a donation at the Humane Society in 2010.  The little Shih-Tzu was considered unadoptable but it was love at first sight.  It soon became apparent that Lisa had a knack for “special needs” dogs and was drawn to the toughest cases.  In 2012, she adopted two puppy mill survivors from Cleveland.  These mill Moms were both physically and psychologically wounded and Lisa came to know first-hand the puppy mill survivor characteristics she had only read about previously.  In addition to her full time administrative job, Lisa has been volunteering with EPMA and is excited to take a more official role in furthering the organization’s mission.  Lisa and her family continue to adopt mill survivors and elderly, hard-to-place Shih Tzu rescues – helping them live the life they were supposed to and spoiling them in their golden years.