Angi Metler

Executive Director

Angi Metler co-founded APLNJ in 1983 and serves as its executive director. Angi has overseen its growth to a nationally recognized and highly respected state-wide organization with a staff of motivated, talented, and professional animal protection advocates. Angi saw the need to take action, to build upon the compassionate actions of others, and to develop dynamic campaigns that work. Defenseless animals need the best we have and I’m honored to work for them. 

Angi has organized hundreds of campaigns, demonstrations, marches, outreach events, educational conferences and seminars. After becoming aware of the typical American eating habit’s devastating effects on billions of animals, our planet, and the health of millions of people, Angi became vegan in 1983. Since 1988, Angi has been involved with black bear protection and education and was instrumental in forming the Coalition to Protect New Jersey Black Bears. APLNJ and the Bear Education And Resource Group host the coalition, which represents over 800,000 New Jersey residents, and has been successful in stopping eleven bear hunts, and prevented seven others from moving forward. With Susan Russell, Angi also serves as co-chair of the League of Humane Voters of New Jersey.

Janine Motta

Programs Director

Janine’s journey with Animal Protection League began when she picked up an APLNJ (formerly New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance) flier supporting legislation to outlaw the infamous Draize test (testing chemicals in rabbits’ eyes) in NJ. It opened her eyes to the issue of product testing on animals as well as the issue of animals’ rights in general. Janine recalls the profound effect it had on her and it led her down a path towards a career in animal rights with Animal Protection League.

Janine started with APLNJ (nee NJARA) in August 1988 as an office volunteer and a volunteer coordinator in the then-Northeast District. Janine, along with Lynda Smith, made the Northeast District a dynamic and active region of the state. In May of 1989, Janine joined the staff as our Office Manager. Since then, Janine has been a staple in the APLNJ office. She has handled almost all aspects of the organization from fundraising to bookkeeping to outreach to public presentations and in 2009 took on her current position. With an acute sense of purpose, Janine has used her passion, professionalism and dedication to further the mission of APLNJ.

When not working, Janine enjoys outdoor activities such as mountain biking, hiking and kayaking.

Janine holds a Bachelor of Science from Southern Connecticut State University in Recreation and Leisure, specializing in Community Recreation & Youth Development. But life often takes many twists and turns and Janine’s epiphany in 1988 set the course for the rest of her life.

Susan Russell with the late, inimitable Izzie.

Wildlife Policy Director

Susan Russell, whom the Star Ledger described as “formidable” and “gutsy,” is a veteran wildlife protection professional with years of state, national, and international experience. She is former vice president of Friends of Animals, Inc., (New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C.), and former legislative advisor for the Animal Welfare Institute’s Society for Animal Protective Legislation in Washington, D.C.

In New Jersey, the late Assemblyman D. Bennett Mazur, sponsor of New Jersey’s landmark laws banning steel-jaw leg hold traps and trade in wild-caught birds, praised Susan as “a consummate professional who really knows how to get the job done.” Susan directed and lobbied the successful campaigns for both laws.

Susan has been an NGO (non-governmental observer) at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), where she participated in working groups. She wrote the petition brief to the Secretary of the Department of the Interior to halt trade in exotic birds from Senegal, and participated in lobbying for marine mammals and wild-caught birds in Washington, D.C. Susan has researched and written in-depth analyses of white-tailed deer, Canada goose and black bear policy.

Susan has honed her expertise in regulatory capture — the coziness of government wildlife regulators with ammunition, firearms, archery, and fur trade associations — and  unseemly conservation/ammo/firearms “partnerships” that dominate U.S. wildlife policy. Urban Wildlife Series: State Wildlife Action Plans and Wildlife-Use Trade Associations (link) focuses on the involvement of partnered corporate conservation groups, trade, and green washing.

Susan attended Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, and was graduated with an education degree from Monmouth University. She lives in Fair Haven.

Photo credit: Bob Bielk/Staff Photographer / Bob Bielk/Asbury Park Press – used with permission/licensed.

Sandra Obi – Community Cat Program Director

Sandra has had a lifelong affinity, love and appreciation for cats. Family videos show Sandra, a mere child, deftly handling a feisty feral. “I’d sit for hours studying and earning the trust of a community of cats near my grandmother’s house,” says Obi.

A transplanted Australian, Sandra became a resident of Trenton, New Jersey in 2004. She knew that cats roamed the city. Then she saw the kittens. “I realized that the adults had no caregivers and that something had to be done.” Sandra found two knowledgeable mentors to guide her through Trap, Neuter and Return practices and methodology. Spaying and neutering 75 cats, or 100% of the population, led to a small and stable colony.

To help other abandoned and feral cats in the city, Sandra founded Trenton TNR. The group arranged weekly transport to a low-cost clinic, transporting 20 felines every week for nearly three years. In 2009, one of her mentors told her about a position at Animal Protection League of New Jersey (APLNJ), and the rest is history. Sandra utilizes her teaching degree to educate the public in the benefits of TNR and has created APLNJ’s three-hour training workshop. The workshop is based on the Neighborhood Cats manual, supplemented by Sandra’s own, hands-on experience and recommendations. Sandra’s achievements are impressive. She has orchestrated a mass TNR project involving 125 cats, remarkably completing the program in two weeks. Sandra has applied TNR to many hundreds of felines, in the process encountering all manner of situations. Sandra’s TNR work is extensive, hands-on, and successful.

Sandra is married with three children, two indoor cats, and, naturally, a colony of TNRed cats.

To learn more about Sandra’s work at APLNJ, click here.

Doris Lin

Director, Legal Affairs

Doris Lin is an animal rights attorney, the Director of Legal Affairs for the Animal Protection League of New Jersey, the BEAR Group and a member of the steering committee of the League of Humane Voters of New Jersey.

Doris has worked for a variety of animal groups, including the Animal Protection PAC, Animal Protection League of NJ (f.k.a. NJ Animal Rights Alliance – NJARA), The Bear Education And Resource (BEAR) Group, The Humane Society of the US, and the Animal Welfare Institute. She has also founded two student animal rights groups and served on the Board of the Boston Vegetarian Society.

As an attorney, she represented NJARA and the BEAR Group in a lawsuit against the state of NJ, successfully invalidating the state’s bear hunt plan in 2007. She is also a former chair of the NJ State Bar Association’s Animal Law Committee, and is the author of “Bear Hunt Controversy Shines the Spotlight on New Jersey’s Wildlife Law,” published in New Jersey Lawyer Magazine. She has also worked for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Doris has been an animal rights activist for over 25 years, vegetarian for nearly as long, and vegan for over 20 years. She shares a home with three humans, two rabbits and four guinea pigs, and is a life member of the House Rabbit Society.

Doris holds a B.S. in Applied Biological Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a J.D. from the University of Southern California Law Center.

Laurie Perla

Legislative Liaison, Animal Protection League of New Jersey

Laurie’s been passionate about animals for all of her life. She joined APLNJ and our sister organization League of Humane Voters of New Jersey (LOHV-NJ), in 2007. Laurie’s been actively involved in rescuing animals and placing them in loving forever homes.

She’s led several successful campaigns that protected animals. As APLNJ’s Legislative Liaison, Laurie lobbied and ushered in the Humane Cosmetics Act and the trunk fighting (outlawing dog fights in car trunks) laws. Laurie continues to work tirelessly with legislators to introduce and pass bills that will improve animals’ lives.

Laurie has a master’s degree from St. John’s University. She is also a certified public account.  She’s disciplined, enjoys the martial arts, and achieved a 2nd-degree black belt. She’s vegan. She lives with her husband, two wonderful sons, and three rescued dogs in Monmouth County.  Laurie has shared her home with many rescue dogs and cats over the years.   Her sons have been vegetarians for many years.  Her love for animals has been with her since she was a little girl feeding stray cats in front her house and saving her allowance money to pay for their food. While she does not impose her views on people, she always seeks the opportunity to educate them about animal abuse and animal exploitation.

While many people have said to her, her furry family members are lucky to have her, her response has always been “I am lucky to have them.”

In Memorium

Matt Fancera – In 2003, APLNJ lost Matt – a friend, colleague and Advisory Board member. Click here to learn more about Matt’s activism and his legacy for the animals.

Ben Crimaudo

Ben at a black bear protest.

Ben passed away on July 12, 2016. We miss our dear friend and advisory board member. He was an amazing activist, who brought his incredible wit and intelligence to everything he did.

Ben’s humor livened up our meetings. At one meeting, rescued turkeys gobbled at his jokes. It’s true.

Ben retired in 2002 and moved to Maine, where he continued his community affairs and animal rights activism with his wife, Anne Crimaudo (APLNJ board member).

He was a veteran of the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force Reserves.

Elaine Dunn

Elaine Dunn
Elaine Dunn

Our dear friend, staff member and volunteer, Elaine Dunn passed on January 7, 2020.

Elaine was the director of our black bear speakers’ bureau. With style, Elaine educated residents on the true nature of black bears and trained bureau speakers.

Prior to focusing her advocacy efforts on black bear protection, Elaine taught middle school social studies in Mahwah, New Jersey, and earned her master’s in counseling. As peer mediation advisor, she trained students in conflict resolution. Elaine hosted seminars familiarizing staff with the necessary mediation skills and served as mediator between staff members. “I planted the seeds of compassion in my students by consistently demonstrating a love and respect for them as well as for animals.”

Through four decades of teaching, Elaine volunteered at local animal shelters and continues therapy visits with her companion, an amazing Newfoundland named Gretchen. Elaine and Gretchen visit Alzheimer facilities, hospitals, and libraries. “The therapeutic effect of animals upon people never ceases to astonish,” says Elaine. “That bond is as essential as it is natural. Industries that exploit animals, such as the firearms lobby, try to desensitize, to serve their own purposes.” Elaine was an active member of a DVRT (domestic violence response) team serving three towns in Passaic County.

What led Elaine to working in behalf of animals? Her maternal grandmother had demonstrated a powerful connection with animals. Elaine felt the same way. “From a very early age, I felt compelled to work with those who perhaps needed protection, guidance, or a friend.”“I became an advocate for black bears when I noticed a ‘stop the bear hunt’ sign on the window of my dog groomer’s shop. I then spoke with several people who lived in ‘bear country’; to a person, all were appalled at the possibility of hunting black bear, as well as hunting any animal.” She discovered the BEAR Group in West Milford and became an active member. Her objective is to stop the bear hunt and to educate New Jersey residents in “Bear Smart” practices. “We can live in harmony with nature,” says Elaine. “With the black bear, ignorance is the worst enemy.”