"Michigan Friends of Companion Animals represents the bright future of animal advocacy: it is smart, strategic, sophisticated – with a huge dose of compassion and heart. MFCA combines direct action with legislative reform, is media savvy, understands the importance of enlisting support from animal-friendly businesses, and has a wide range of coalition partners. I’m honored to be working with the coalition toward our goal of securing better lives for companion animals, and a time when all families will ‘adopt not shop’."
Bee Friedlander is an attorney and animal advocate. She’s president of Attorneys for Animals and a member of the State Bar of Michigan Animal Law Section. She was a founding member of both organizations and has been involved in animal law for 25+ years. She holds BA and JD degrees from the Ohio State University, and a certificate in nonprofit sector studies from Wayne State University. After practicing law, Bee managed the Animals and Society Institute in Ann Arbor, where she remains on the board after retiring in 2014. She serves on the Center for Humane Studies Advisory Board at Madonna University. Her interest in animals extends to scooping litter and feeding cats at Leuk’s Landing (where she serves on the board) and Crafty Cat Rescue; and to cleaning cages and feeding songbirds to return to the wild at the Bird Center of Washtenaw County (where she also is a member of the board).
Beatrice M. Friedlander · President, Attorneys for Animals · Canton, MI · 734-612-0986 · beefriedlander ATyahoo.com
Coalition Development Committee
PAMELA L. SORDYL
“We need a large reputable network of animal welfare organizations and local businesses well connected and active during key decision making times. Together we can foster more positive change throughout the state!” –MFCA Founder, Pam Sordyl, Clarkston, MI
Pam Sordyl founded Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan, a network of advocates who confront pet stores linked to puppy mills and educate the public. Pam sponsors a dog-themed ice sculpture for the Plymouth Ice Festival every winter, when volunteers hand out information about puppy mills, bringing awareness to about 100,000 visitors a year. Pam encourages new pet stores in person to pledge not to sell puppies or kittens. She and the group hold “adopt, don’t shop” demonstrations at pet stores and always promote animal-friendly policies. Pam has developed advocate training and arranged public meetings with key community decision-makers about businesses linked to puppy mills.
Pamela L. Sordyl · Founder of Michigan Friends of Companion Animals · Founder of Puppy Mill Awareness of SE Michigan · HSUS District Leader · Clarkston, MI · 734-718-7100 · pmamichinfo AT yahoo.com
SAMUEL D. WOLBERT, Esq.
“We are proud to call Michigan home and even more honored by our state’s reputation for companion animals: recently, the Animal Legal Defense Fund ranked Michigan in the top five states for animal protections. While progress is being made, there is still much more that can be done. “ – MFCA Coalition Legislative Attorney, Sam Wolbert, Ann Arbor, MI
Sam Wolbert is an attorney who recently moved back to his home state of Michigan after living and working in WashingtonDC. He has his law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, J.D. and undergrad from the University of Michigan, B.A. He currently works on policy, regulatory, and legislative matters for a firm in WashingtonDC. Sam has also fostered with Last Day Dog Rescue and clerked at the ACLU of Pennsylvania and Washington DC.
Samuel D. Wolbert, Esq. · Michigan Friends of Companion Animals Legislative Attorney · Ann Arbor, MI · 269-903-1185 · samuel.wolbert AT gmail.com
“I have found that many people are starting to gravitate towards adopting their pets rather than purchasing them from pet stores which is progress. More needs to be done to protect animals from the mistreatment of people who want to use them for profit. As an animal lover, I believe that people and organizations can work together to make changes to help animals, including puppy mill dogs and other animals used to be sold in retail. By uniting people and groups who support this cause, we are speaking up for animals and giving them a voice." – MFCA Pet Store Liasion, Andrea Rever, Warren, MI
Andrea Rever has been a member of Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan for over two years and is a strong supporter of transitioning pet stores who sell puppy mill puppies and kittens into facilities that work on adopting out animals that need homes. As a lifelong animal lover, Andrea also advocates for animals such as rabbits and birds. She currently resides in Warren and has a beagle and a black cat, both adopted from the humane society. She provides pet sitting services whenever possible and participates in events that are for the benefit of helping animals.
Andrea Rever · Michigan Friends of Companion Animals Pet Store Liasion, Warren, MI · andiriver AT yahoo.com
“The commercial sale of animals to impulse consumers has caused immense suffering. Together, we can tackle this and other issues in our great state. “ – MFCA Development Committee Member, Akshay Verma, East Lansing, MI
Akshay Verma is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine student at Michigan State University and a member of Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan for going-on five years. He entered veterinary school conscious of the need for veterinarians to advocate for progressive animal welfare policies. As such, he is President and Co-Founder of the school’s chapter of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, which among other activities has worked to get veterinary students involved in the state legislative process. As a member of the Michigan Political Action Committee for Animals, he has been working with his colleagues at Lansing area law schools to pass local anti-tethering and anti-dog-in-hot-car ordinances. Born and raised in Metro Detroit, he earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where he was awarded highest honors for his thesis on the welfare, scientific, and social concerns associated with appearance-based dog breeding. At U of M, Akshay served as Director of the Michigan Animal Respect Society (currently Michigan Animal Rights Society).
Akshay A. Verma • Michigan Friends of Companion Animals Coalition Development Committee Member · President and Co-Founder of MSU Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association • East Lansing, MI • 313-492-3244 • progressivedvm AT gmail.com
“Michigan citizens care very deeply about companion animals. It is time to bring our state’s advocates, organizations, and businesses together to give a strong, united voice to those companion animals who need it most.“ – MFCA Development Committee Member, Alicia Prygoski, Haslett, MI
Alicia Prygoski is a third year law student at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School. She is the founder and president of WMU-Cooley's Student Animal Legal Defense Fund. She is also a Volunteer District Leader for the Humane Society of the United States and a Township Coordinator for Michigan's Political Action Committee for Animals. After law school, Alicia plans to advocate for animals through the legislative and policy arenas. She frequently submits testimony and attends state level legislative hearings on companion animal issues, and she is currently working with colleagues at MichiganStateUniversity's professional colleges to get an anti-tethering ordinance passed in her community.
Alicia Prygoski · Michigan Friends of Companion Animals Coalition Development Committee Member ·President and Founder of WMU-Cooley Law School Student Animal Legal Defense Fund · HSUS District Leader · Meridian Township Coordinator for Michigan’s Political Action Committee for Animals · Haslett, MI · 517-290-4875 · prygoskia AT cooley.edu