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The Board

Laurel Matthews, President

Laurel has 26 years of Community Policing and leadership experience. She currently serves as the COPS Office’s Animal Subject Matter Expert liaison with the five National law enforcement groups and the National District Attorney’s Association, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. She also develops, manages and implements all aspects of safety and security operations for the COPS Office.  Laurel is a Program Manager and COPS Office’s subject matter expert for the U.S. Department of Justice’s COPS Office, 2008 Dogfighting Toolkit and On-Line Training Course: Addressing Dogfighting in Your Community, co-sponsored with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). She also serves as the Program Manager and subject matter expert on the U.S. Department of Justice’s COPS Office, Police and Dog Encounters.  Laurel is the program manager for the publication “The Problem of Dog-Related Incidents and Encounters. She continues to coordinate training and resources for law enforcement, prosecutors, veterinarians, animal control and communities. Laurel serves on the United States Department of Justice’s Animal Cruelty Working Group. She is a past President of the Humane Society of Calvert County.  Laurel has 17 years of animal advocacy and rescue experience and serves on the Calvert County Animal Matters Hearing Board and volunteers with Labrador Retriever Rescue, LRCP.   Laurel advocates for all animals to be treated as individuals and advocates against Breed Specific Legislation.  Laurel is the proud mom of two rescued Pit Bull type dogs.

Debbie Samler, Secretary

Debbie has been an animal lover her entire life. She has been involved in animal rescue since 2005 when she attended an open house for the Humane Society of Calvert County, and a call went out for foster homes for dogs being rescued from Hurricane Katrina. Since that time, she has been a foster home, board member (holding the position of Secretary) and adoption counselor for HSCC.  During her time with HSCC, Debbie adopted 7 of her fosters (2 cats and 5 dogs) after creating an unbreakable bond and realizing they were already in their forever home. She has also driven legs of animal transports to help organizations get animals one step closer to their forever homes. Debbie's full-time job is as a Judicial Support Specialist for a federal court in Washington, DC. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a master’s degree in Reading Education. Unfortunately for her, when she graduated college, there was an overabundance of teachers, and she ended up working for the Federal Judiciary. Thankfully, she enjoyed the job and has been with the court since 1982. Debbie is the proud mom to a grown daughter who is an entomologist in upstate New York. She is also mom to 9 fur kids (7 cats and 2 dogs; several of the cats were rescued from the streets by her daughter when she was in college) and grandma to 3 furry kids who made the trek cross country when her daughter moved to Washington State and eventually Arizona after college and grad school. Debbie lives in Prince Frederick, MD.

Jenna Peterson-Mattera, Fundraising Director and Board Member

Jenna has been involved with animal rescue since as long as she can remember. She started off working at Tri-County Animal Shelter in high school. She went on to work and volunteer for the Humane Society of Calvert County, a private boarding facility and then as an animal care technician at Prince George's County Animal Management Division. While at Prince George's County Animal Management Division, she became an animal rescue coordinator to coordinate animals departure from the shelter via rescue groups.  Not only did she seek rescue groups, she also set up transports across the states to get the animals to their next journey. She even was able to do some of the transports herself. She left Prince George's County Animal Management Division to assist with her parents’ growing business, with the agreement to still assist animals who were in need. Jenna coordinates and hosts special event fundraisers at her store to assist various rescue organizations.  In Jenna's free time, she loves to be involved with animal rescue in any way possible. You can catch Jenna networking an animal to various rescue groups, transporting or setting up a transport for an animal, or transporting an animal to a medical appointment.

Laura Fletcher, Veterinary Director and Board Member

Dr. Laura Fletcher grew up locally in Calvert County, where her love for animals started at a very early age. She began volunteering at Prince Frederick Animal Hospital at the age of 8 and was hired as a kennel assistant at the age of 14. Throughout high school and college, she spent most of her after school hours working as a veterinary technician. Dr. Fletcher obtained her undergraduate degree from Salisbury University majoring in biology and chemistry. During college, she was founder and president of a club called Leash On Life, where she volunteered with the local humane society. Dr. Fletcher went on to pursue her dream to become a veterinarian and was accepted to Western University of Health Sciences in Southern California. She graduated with Phi Zeta honors in 2016 and has special interests in internal medicine, shelter medicine and avian & exotic medicine. Dr. Fletcher was overjoyed to return to her hometown and accepted a position as a general practitioner at Prince Frederick Animal Hospital, where her veterinary dreams all started 20 years prior. She is grateful to volunteer with FOLLKAS in order to make a difference in the lives of Calvert County’s local homeless animals.

Crystal Dowd, Shelter Director and Honorary Board Member

Crystal began working in animal shelters over 15 years ago. She started with the daily care and feeding of the animals before being promoted to Animal Control Officer. Five years later, she transferred this knowledge into a leadership position in animal control. In 2017 Crystal was brought on by the Department of Public Safety to create the first animal shelter for Calvert County, The Linda L. Kelley Animal Shelter. In December 2018 Crystal was also given the additional responsibilities of supervising the Animal Control Division and working with the Animal Shelter Advisory Board and the Animal Matters Hearing Board. November 1st marked the one-year anniversary of the Linda L. Kelley Animal Shelter.

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