Advocates for animal welfare, human-animal bond honored

O’Quin, Sandler, and Dates receive AVMA awards
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The AVMA recently honored three individuals for their continuing efforts to advance animal health and welfare and protect the human-animal bond. AVMA President Tom Meyer recognized the AVMA award winners—Dr. Jeanette O’Quin, Dr. Jody Sandler, and Harold F. Dates—Jan. 14 during the general session of the Association’s Veterinary Leadership Conference in Chicago.

Dr. O’Quin, an assistant professor at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, was awarded the 2016 AVMA Animal Welfare Award for her advocacy on behalf of shelter animals. Dr. Sandler won the 2016 AVMA Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award for starting a New York–based program pairing service dogs with autistic children. Dates received the 2016 Humane Award for his work as president and CEO of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Cincinnati.

“Dr. O’Quin has devoted her veterinary career to serving as a tireless advocate for improving the welfare of shelter animals, and is a true asset to the profession,” Dr. Meyer said. “Her most important contributions include co-authoring the Association of Shelter Veterinarians’ Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters, which is widely used as a reference tool by shelters across the country.

“Her work in an academic setting, combined with her experience running a large shelter and as a public health veterinarian, have increased awareness of zoonotic diseases among shelter workers and led to the development of enhanced infection-control programs to benefit animals and people.”

Dr. O’Quin
Dr. Jeanette O’Quin
Dr. Sandler
Dr. Jody Sandler
Harold F. Dates

Dr. O’Quin is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine at OSU’s veterinary college. She has published journal articles and book chapters, and presented at state, regional, and national conferences on topics pertaining to infectious and zoonotic disease prevention and management, shelter animal health and welfare, humane euthanasia, animal-associated occupational health, animal disaster response, and animal cruelty.

She received her DVM degree from The Ohio State University in 1993 and later a Master of Public Health with specialization in veterinary public health, also from the university.

Dr. Sandler is a champion of the human-animal bond and its healing properties. He was at Sandy Hook Elementary School with service dogs immediately after the shooting tragedy in 2012, using the human-animal bond to help the community begin to heal. Dr. Sandler has hosted externships for more than 50 students from veterinary colleges around the country. In addition, he has co-authored numerous papers with researchers from Cornell University and the San Diego Zoo.

“Dr. Sandler was a longtime director of veterinary services for Guiding Eyes for the Blind. In that role, Dr. Sandler expanded their mission to training service dogs for autistic children by creating the program Heeling Autism,” Dr. Meyer said.

“As a result of the overwhelming demand for service dogs for children with autism, Dr. Sandler founded BluePath Service Dogs this year.”

After receiving his DVM degree from Cornell University in 1988, Dr. Sandler worked at Sachem Animal Hospital in Holbrook, New York, before becoming director of veterinary services for Guiding Eyes for the Blind. For 26 years, he was responsible for the health and well-being of over 11,000 dogs from the school.

Harold Dates, who has worked with SPCA Cincinnati for more than 40 years, is a pioneer in animal welfare in Ohio. Besides opening the first humane society–owned, low-cost spay and neuter clinic in the state, he has promoted adoptions on live radio and television; started the Adopt-A-Pet segments on WKRC-TV, Cincinnati’s CBS affiliate station; purchased a mobile adoption unit; helped orchestrate the rescue of dog and cat victims of Hurricane Katrina; opened a humane center; and obtained the 24-acre SPCA Simmonds Farm for agricultural education.

Dates has held many positions on boards and task forces focused on animal care and welfare.

“Mr. Dates has devoted his career to serving as a tireless advocate for the humane care and treatment of animals,” Dr. Meyer said. “This award is being presented to him in appreciation for his commitment to humane animal care in southwest Ohio and for everything he has done to address the issue of unwanted, neglected, and abused animals.”