Dr. Julie Levy
Dr. Julie Levy is Professor of Shelter Medicine at the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Her research and clinical interests center on the health and welfare of animals in shelters, feline infectious diseases, humane alternatives for cat population control, and contraceptive vaccines for cats. She is the founder of Operation Catnip, which has sterilized more than 45,000 cats since 1998. Dr. Levy has published more than one hundred journal articles and textbook chapters. She is the recipient of the Carl J. Norden-Pfizer Distinguished Teacher Award, Outstanding Woman Veterinarian of the Year, the European Society of Feline Medicine Award for Outstanding Contributions in the Field of Feline Medicine, and the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine 2015 College Distinguished Alumni Award.
Amanda Burks was born in the beautiful city of Gainesville, Florida and never left! Having completed her bachelor and graduate degrees in business at the University of Florida, Amanda spent the first years of her career working with medical start-ups and running a family-owned retail store. Feeling there was something missing in her work life, Amanda decided to join the non-profit world of animal welfare in 2012 when she was hired as Executive Director of Alachua County Humane Society (ACHS). During her tenure at ACHS, she partnered with Operation Catnip and fell in love with the organization’s mission to help Alachua County’s community cats. Amanda recently joined the Operation Catnip Board of Directors and is excited to help the organization reach new heights of life-saving!
Mandy Reed is an enthusiastic advocate for spaying-neutering and animal welfare. She has enjoyed volunteering for several rescue organizations and fostering countless dogs and cats. She is also a magnet for kittens, which led to her to learn more about community cats and Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR).
After hearing about Dr. Levy’s TNR research and Operation Catnip, Mandy was motivated to try TNR in her community of Savannah, GA. She was encouraged by the role TNR can play in reducing shelter euthanasia rates, humanely controlling the population of unowned cats, and improving their quality of life. In 2005 Mandy launched Coastal Pet Rescue’s TNR program, The Milton Project, named for one of the cats that inspired her.
In addition to her volunteer work, Mandy previously served on the boards of Savannah/Chatham Court Appointed Advocates for Children and the Humane Society of Greater Savannah among others.
Mandy moved to Gainesville in 2013 to marry her husband, an associate professor at UF. Together they have two children, two dogs, and three cats (Oliver, Fluffbutters, and Spunky).
In her professional life, Mandy is a treasury services specialist and vice president at regional bank.
Joan is originally from the majestic Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. She is a passionate animal advocate, supporting numerous farm sanctuaries and animal rescues. Joan is hoping to bring her enthusiasm for fundraising to Operation Catnip and advance the mission to reduce the feral cat population in Alachua County. Years ago, Joan developed an interest in Operation Catnip and wanted to volunteer, but she was afraid of attending a clinic where cats would be in distress. However, a visit to a clinic quickly changed her mind: she saw dozens of volunteers lovingly handling cats at various stations throughout the clinic. In that moment, she decided to volunteer, choosing the surgical instrument packing station where she believed she could be of most use. Volunteering has turned into a love affair with OC and in her words “has truly healed my soul.” In her professional life, Joan is the Administrative Support Assistant for the Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida, supporting eight Development Officers.
Cassidy Schiefer graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in animal biology in 2019 and is currently pursuing a certificate in Shelter Medicine at the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Cassidy found her passion for shelter medicine and community cats during her sophomore year of high school while volunteering at her local shelter. She began fostering orphaned and medically needy kittens, organizing fundraisers and adoption events, and eventually worked as a veterinary technician for Clay County Animal Services. Cassidy is a regular volunteer at our monthly clinics and was also awarded a ten-week Community Cat Fellowship with Operation Catnip in 2018. Cassidy is inspired by Operation Catnip because of its ability to bring people together to better the lives of the residents and community cats in Alachua County.