President/Founder: Shelley Rios, Attorney At Law
Shelley’s mantra in pretty much everything she faces is “success results from getting up one more time than you’re knocked down.” Growing up in a small farming town, where she and her brothers were taken out of school to help during harvest time, she learned how to work and work hard. Also instilled in her by some very early mentors was that she could accomplish anything she set her mind to. Shelley began working on “puppy mill legislation” to end the resale of commercially bred animals in pet stores. This legislation is ultimately aimed at stopping the mass breeding and confinement of the parents trapped at the mills and also presents an alternative to the conventional pet store model which is to rehome shelter animals through exposure in retail districts. After successful passage of this legislation in Burbank, Shelley and a group of volunteers set out to test this new model by opening Operation Adopt. In 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018, the Burbank Leader honored Shelley with it’s Reader’s Choice of Best Attorney for her work in law and animal welfare.
Mark is innately focused. Whether the focus is on his successful career as a business litigator at the L.A. based law firm of Barton, Klugman and Oetting LLP or coaching the pole vault team at Burbank High School, his ability to understand and strategize is a natural gift. Mark and his wife Laurie (a nurse at Children’s Hospital LA), their adult children and their dog Summer, have been devoted to The Animal Protectorates since its inception. They have fostered approximately 40 dogs, including a military serviceman’s dog who was injured and unable to travel until with the solider until he healed from a surgery, a pregnant shelter dog slated for euthanasia who had a litter of 9 pups, and a shelter dog also slated for euthanasia who ultimately became a therapy dog for veterans. We are fortunate to have Mark’s analytical skills (along with his great sense of humor).
Director: Laurie Newton, RN
In addition to serving on the board of directors, Laurie is also the VP of Operations at Operation Adopt and the first point of contact for future adopters in her role as Adoption Coordinator. As if that weren’t enough, Laurie is also a nurse at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles – where she has been delivering compassionate care for 33 years. She is a Certified Pediatric Nurse and cares for patients of all ages. In 2017, Laurie was recognized with the DAISY Award given to exceptional nurses commended by leadership and peers for their compassionate care at the bedside of sick and injured children. Over the years, Laurie has learned that talking about and showing photos of her dogs and dogs and cats for adoption to her patients has relaxed them and put a smile on their faces. She tells people hat volunteering at Operation Adopt lets her combine her love of animals with her love of caring for people.
Director: Paul Stockwell, Senior Vice President, CBRE
Paul is a leader in the commercial real estate industry. His accomplishments, among others, include working with The Walt Disney Company as Vice President of corporate real estate; being a power broker with tenant representation specialist Studley; holding the title Vice President with Cadillac Fairview Urban Development; and, managing the development, construction, and leasing of the 50-story IBM Tower in Atlanta (a city landmark). Paul holds an undergraduate degree in Architecture and an MBA, both from the University of California, Berkeley.
Paul’s greatest accomplishment, however, was finding the love of his life, Pammela Spencer-Stockwell. Pamm was one of The Animal Protectorate’s most beloved volunteers who was committed to helping the sickest, oldest and most vulnerable animals at municipal shelters. When Pamm passed away suddenly in early 2019, Paul committed to honor her by continuing the work she had started with the charity she held most dear. Paul grew up loving all kinds of dogs and he and Pamm fostered and adopted over a dozen during their 23-year marriage.
Director: Dara Kobashigawa
Dara’s passion for animals started with her parents’ love of animals. Throughout the years, she has been a staunch financial supporter, regular foster and devoted volunteer for many different rescue organizations throughout Los Angeles. Dara is regularly referred to as the “dog magnet” and cleaning coach at Operation Adopt – TAPS pet adoption center in Burbank, California. Dara brings an enthusiastic can do spirit and we are thrilled to have her guide the organization forward.
Director: Mindy Stone
Mindy’s lifelong commitment to animals began back in high school where she volunteered for a local shelter and saw first-hand how the lives of animals are changed by small but mighty rescue organizations. That first volunteer opportunity turned into a life-long commitment and ultimately led her to Operation Adopt Burbank. As an active volunteer for several years, Mindy is grateful for the opportunity to devote her time and resources to this important organization that speaks for those that do not have a voice.