“Achieving no-kill means using every idea and tool at our command to rescue, nurture, and adopt homeless animals right now,” he says, “and to educate pet owners and future generations about the necessity of responsible pet ownership. Animal welfare is at tipping point. Society is changing. If we maintain our vision, engage our communities, and work together, the no-kill future is not a matter of if, but when.”
— J. John Stevenson, North Shore Animal League America President & CEO
J. John Stevenson joined North Shore Animal League America in 1978 as Special Counsel, becoming General Counsel in 1988. In 1993 he was named President & CEO.
Under his leadership, Animal League America has grown into the largest and — to our knowledge, oldest — no-kill rescue and adoption organization in the world, introducing such influential programs as Spay/USA®, Global Pet Adoptathon®, Tour For Life®, off-site mobile adoption, Mill Dog Rescue, and most recently, the Mutt-i-grees® Movement. At the heart of this movement is our successful Mutt-i-grees Curriculum, a unique social-emotional learning program developed by Yale University that draws on the natural bond between children and animals to teach humane values and the importance of shelter adoption.
John has also directed the development of our Long Island campus as it evolved into a comprehensive center for the rescue, care, and adoption of nearly 18,000 dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens annually. Our newest facility is Bianca’s Furry Friends Feline Adoption Center. Over the years, John’s extensive background in nonprofit law and his personal commitment to the welfare of animals have created an informed and compassionate foundation for the realization of Animal League America’s no-kill vision.
John lives in Connecticut, with his wife, Matia Finn-Stevenson, who developed our Mutt-i-grees Curriculum. Every day, John commutes from his home to our Long Island Adoption Center, accompanied by a few of the family’s eight adopted dogs.
John believes that, today, animal welfare has reached a momentous tipping point. “We’re on the brink of transformation — the no-kill transformation,” he says. “And since 1944, North Shore Animal League America and its no-kill mission have led the way.”
Senior Management Team
Senior Vice President & CFO
Senior Vice President of Operations
Senior Vice President and Chief of Veterinary Staff
Senior Vice President of Development
Vice President of Shelter Operations
Vice President of Human Resources
Vice President of Strategic Development Partnerships
Board of Directors
J. John Stevenson, Esq.
Watertown, Connecticut • President & CEO • Appointed 1993
John Stevenson joined North Shore Animal League America in 1978 as Special Counsel, becoming General Counsel in 1988. In 1993 he was named President & CEO. John is also Managing Director of The Pet Savers Foundation™ (the marketing and program development arm of Animal League America), and a member of the boards of both organizations.
Prior to becoming President & CEO of Animal League America, John served as General Counsel and Special Counsel on regulatory and legal issues for several other nonprofit organizations. He has written extensively on the law of tax-exempt organizations, tax planning, and regulatory compliance.
Norma M. Meek
Ashland, Kentucky • Treasurer/Director • Appointed 2017
Norma Meek combined a 40-year commitment to education with a life-long concern for the wellbeing of companion animals. During her impressive career as a teacher and innovator, Norma held a variety of titles and positions. In addition, she was active on several local, state, and national boards, received many education and civic awards, and was a prime mover for our Mutt-i-grees Curriculum in Kentucky and elsewhere. Now retired, Norma enjoys the company of her dog, Scooby, and is an active member of the Board of Directors for the Ashland Area Rescue Foundation (AARF). She also works with the Ashland Mutt-i-grees Teen Council to promote adoption across the state. Two of her grandsons, McKinney (Mac) and Layne, have been leaders as National Mutt-i-grees Student Ambassadors.
Port Washington, New York • Secretary/Director • Appointed 2011
Yasuko Yamaguchi is the owner (with her husband, Akira) of Restaurant Yamaguchi, a popular Japanese restaurant in Port Washington, N.Y. An advocate for homeless animals since her childhood in Japan, Mrs. Yamaguchi has been a friend and supporter of North Shore Animal League America for many years. She adopted her first feline, Sally, from Animal League America in 1985. Since then, she has dedicated much of her time and energy to rescuing many homeless cats and kittens. Her compassion for lost and strayed felines has made her a champion for adoption, spay/neuter, and rescue. In addition, her business acumen and prominence in the community have made her an invaluable member of our Board of Directors.
New York, New York • Director • Appointed 2018
Animal advocate, bestselling author, and feline foster mom Beth Ostrosky Stern has been an influential, hands-on member of our volunteer community since 2003.
As our National Spokesperson (2004) she uses her celebrity to communicate our no-kill mission in the media and in person, appearing hundreds of times on television, in print, and online. In addition, she has hosted the Kitten Bowl series on Hallmark Channel since its debut in 2014, as well as Hallmark’s Paw Star Game (2015) and Summer Games (2016). Each of these popular television specials showcases adoptable cats and kittens from Animal League America, inspiring countless adoptions across the country.
Beth has written three books, two featuring Yoda, a Persian cat she adopted from Animal League America, “Yoda, The Story of a Cat and His Kittens” (2014) and “Yoda Gets a Buddy” (2015) both focus on the importance of shelter adoption — especially of adult and special-needs pets — while telling charming stories of resilience and love. Beth also writes a monthly blog featured on our website.
Since becoming a foster parent in 2013, she has personally nurtured and re-homed more than 700 cats and kittens. She works closely with our rescue and adoption staff to review and approve all potential adopters, hand-delivering her “nuggets,” as she calls them, to their new families. Most of her adopters come to her through her Instagram feed, which has nearly 450,000 followers around the world. She uses Instagram and other social media to chronicle her daily life as the socializer, caregiver, and champion of an ever-changing cast of fosters. She also highlights her own resident felines, Walter, Bella, Yoda, and Pebble, all adopted from Animal League America. Her social media have become tools for encouraging shelter adoption and educating the public about everything from spay/neuter (yes!) to declawing (no!).
A Pittsburgh native, Beth grew up with pets who were considered valuable members of the family. She attended the University of Pittsburgh, where she majored in English literature, before moving to New York City to pursue an international modeling career. She and her husband, radio legend Howard Stern, were the loving companions of a Bull Dog, Bianca, who died in 2012. In 2014, during our annual Gala, the couple announced the launch of a fundraising campaign for a state-of-the-art feline facility named Bianca’s Furry Friends Feline Adoption Center (BFF, as we affectionately call it), in honor of their beloved dog. Since then, the Sterns have co-hosted the Gala and spearheaded fundraising for this project, which is now under construction on our campus. In addition, Beth takes part in our Lewyt Humane Awards Luncheon each spring, which supports BFF, and also donates proceeds from her books to the project as well as hosting numerous fundraising events.
Beth’s passion for animals includes turtles, birds, and other wildlife. She trained with The Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons to transport injured wildlife and assist with rescue and release. She also works with no-kill pet rescue groups in Florida, where she and her husband have a home, and co-hosts the America Humane Hero Dog Awards on Hallmark Channel.
Beth’s commitment to the humane treatment of animals and shelter adoption is personal. She frequently helps behind the scenes, lending a hand to our rescue team as it takes animals from our Mobile Adoption Units to our Pet Health Centers. And in 2010 she completed the ING New York City Marathon, raising nearly $300,000 to support our mission to Rescue, Nurture, Adopt, and Educate.
Donald LaRocca, Jr.
Hempstead, NY • Director • Appointed 2020
Donald LaRocca, Jr. has a long history with North Shore Animal League America, initially working alongside his parents, Don and Karen LaRocca. They were an integral part of our organization, with hands on support along with financially supporting the Don and Karen LaRocca Pet Wellness Center, a state-of-art wellness facility, made possible by the overwhelming generosity of the LaRocca family.
Following the passing of his parents, Donald LaRocca, Jr. continued their legacy by supporting our organization, beginning with the completion of the Don and Karen LaRocca Pet Wellness Center in 2018, and then followed by completely renovating the LaRocca Dog Park, in 2019.
His continued support and belief in the mission of North Shore Animal League America, shows him to be an important asset to our Board of Directors.
New York, NY • Director • Appointed 2021
Rachael Ray is a television personality, businesswoman, celebrity cook, philanthropist, and author. She hosts the Emmy-award winning daytime talk show, Rachael Ray, and the Food Network series 30 Minute Meals. In 2007, Ms. Ray launched a nonprofit organization, Yum-o! that empowers kids and their families to develop healthy relationships with food and cooking. In 2010, she launched the pet food line Rachael Ray Nutrish, which fully funds The Rachael Ray Foundation whose goal is to support causes that help animals in need, and Yum-o! related initiatives. Ms. Ray also has a line of kitchen items as well as home furnishings.
As a long-time supporter and adopter of North Shore Animal League America, Rachael Ray continues to demonstrate her loyalty to our mission to Rescue, Nurture, Adopt and Educate.
All board members are independent, voting members except for the President who is an employee.