Meet the Staff

 

ANIMAL RESCUE AND CONTROL STAFF MEMBERS

L to R: Officer Carlos Montes, Officer Todd Stosuy, Officer
Michael Sharp,
Officer Lauren Nixon, Dispatcher Lisa Holland, and Officer George Deleon

Photo of SCCAS staff
   
Officer Todd Stosuy
Officer Todd Stosuy is the Field Services Manager for the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter. Todd has two Bachelors degrees from Rutgers University, one in Criminal Justice and the second in Sociology. During and after college Todd worked as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) for an urban Rescue Squad in New Jersey for 4 years before switching careers and becoming a first grade teacher in urban Philadelphia. After working one heartbreaking year in this capacity, he switched modes and spent time volunteering with rescued farmed animals at the Farm Sanctuary in upstate New York. Afterwards he became a Cruelty Caseworker for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and eventually moved to California and became an Animal Control Officer with Santa Cruz County. Todd has been with the Agency since 2003 and is the current President of the National Animal Control Association (NACA). Todd shares his life with his wife, two dogs and four cats.
   
Ben Winkleblack Officer Michael Sharp
Officer Michael Sharp has been an animal control officer for Santa Cruz County since 2006. Prior to his employment with ASA he worked in the retail and security fields. Despite career success he states he “was unable to find job satisfaction until I followed my heart and sought employment at Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter. Working as an officer has helped me fulfill longstanding desires to work with and around animals and to provide public service.” Officer Sharp enjoys spending his off duty time “spoiling” his two dogs, Jesse and Maxx.
 
   
Officer George Deleon
Officer George Deleon has been an animal control officer with Santa Cruz County since 2006. In this capacity he has also served as the Humane Education Officer. Prior to working for the department, he worked for three years at California Department of Fish and Game as a Scientific Aide and two years at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a Biological technician working on endangered fish projects. Additionally, Officer Deleon worked for over five years as an Animal Control Officer and Humane Education Officer with San Joaquin County. Officer Deleon is married with 3 kids (2 boys and a daughter), a Golden Retriever and 2 cats. Officer DeLeon is a sports fanatic (Raiders, A’s, and Laker fan) and in his time off loves camping, vacationing with the family, and watching his son Alex sing in his band “The Cab.”
 
   
Dispatcher Lisa Holland
Lisa Holland is the Field Services Dispatcher for the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter. She has worked for the shelter since November of 2005. Prior to being the dispatcher she worked in Client Services and then as an Animal Control Officer. She has a background in Law Enforcement and graduated from San Jose State University with a degree in Criminal Justice. While at San Jose State University she worked as a Police Cadet, volunteering her time to assist other students on campus and to assist the University Police Department as needed. Lisa has also taken classes at Cabrillo College and has had training to become a reserve police officer. Lisa has also worked for the District Attorney in Santa Clara County as a photographer and graphic designer at the Crime Lab. Her experience with handling animals is from her prior employment at two pet stores that operated in Santa Cruz County, that mainly concentrated on selling exotic birds and tropical fish. Lisa has owned cats and dogs all of her life. Lisa resides in Rio Del Mar with her husband, three children, two Asian Parakeets, and two cats.
   
Linda Puzziferro Officer Carlos Montes
Officer Carlos Montes was hired by the department in 2011. Prior to working for Santa Cruz County, Officer Montes was a Humane Law Enforcement Officer for the Monterey SPCA for two years and an Animal Control Officer for the City of Hollister for three years. At the Monterey SPCA he served as the Field Training Officer. Officer Montes has attended the basic and advanced Animal Law Enforcement Academy at the Marin Humane Society, Equine Investigations Academy in Durango Colorado, illegal animal fighting training through HSUS and interview and interrogation training at the SPCA from a retired FBI agent. Officer Montes is bilingual in Spanish and English. Prior to working in law enforcement, Officer Montes was employed with the Monterey SPCA as a barn worker and cared for numerous species of animals. Officer Montes met his fiancé at the SPCA for Monterey County when they were both kennel workers and they currently have two dogs, one cat and seven chickens and three children. Officer Montes and his fiancé have fostered numerous animals of different species over the years and through that have exposed their children to the animal world. By exposing their children to animal care, Officer Montes and his wife “hope to instill in them compassion for living things and to also keep them safe when encountering animals out in the street when mom and dad are not around, and hopefully they can pass this on to their little friends.”
   
photo of Carla and her dog Officer Carla Braden
Officer Carla Braden has been fascinated by animals and passionate about animal welfare for most of her life. She began volunteering in animal shelters and observing veterinarians in 2002. While completing a bachelor's degree in the Biological Foundations of Animal Behavior at Franklin & Marshall College, she worked in the school's psychology laboratory caring for monkeys, pigeons, rats, and mice. During college summers, Officer Braden was involved in wildlife rehabilitation in Pennsylvania and Ecuador, caring for a variety of species from orphan sparrows to jaguars. She also studied behavioral ecology in the Kenyan Masai Mara. After college, Officer Braden worked as a kennel technician at an animal shelter in Pennsylvania, a veterinary technician in Rhode Island, and a field services officer at an animal shelter in Maryland. She became a Pat Miller Certified Trainer after completing a two-year dog training apprenticeship and went on to teach basic manners classes and coach other dog trainers at Peaceable Paws. Fulfilling a long-term desire to move to Northern California and afer researching Bay Area shelters, Officer Braden was happy to join the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter in 2014. She enjoys exploring the outdoors with her Border Collie, Wren.
   
photo of Jason Huggett Officer Jason Huggett
Officer Jason Huggett has always found inspiration from helping people and other animals in need. Jason graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience and Behavior. His fascination with animal behavior took him from the classroom to out in the community as to better serve the public and animals alike. He had always been interested in a career in working with animals and has worked as an animal care provider for many different domestic and exotic animals prior to working at the SCCAS in 2013. Jason also had a small business as a dog trainer where he specialized in working with dog owners who are faced with managing aggression, anxiety, and fear-related behaviors from their dogs. Jason enjoys the outdoors and likes to go backpacking and camping, and he also likes a lot of sports. Jason was captain of the UCSC Swimming team and is a huge A's, Warriors, and 49ers fan. Jason has resided in Santa Cruz since 2004 where he lives with his wife, two dogs, and a chinchilla.