CAP has a dedicated staff whose experience with animals and their care often spans several decades. The staff's knowledge and love of animals, which both employees and volunteers share, have created a welcoming atmosphere for both pets and people.
Citizens for Animal Protection
- Sandi Mercado, Executive Director & Chief Administration Officer
- Jessica Marks, Director of Operations & Chief Operating Officer
- Kappy Muenzer, Executive Director Emeritus
- Barbara Fitzgerald, Director of Foster Care Program
- Hershey Grace, eBay Store Manager & Special Events Coordinator
- Trisha Royal, Community Outreach Director
- Ana Rodriguez, Humane Education Coordinator
- Elana Gilbert, Volunteer Coordinator
- Tracy Wallace, Shelter Activities and Community Service Coordinator
- Bianca Burrascano, Foster Home Coordinator and Social Media Manager
- Vicki White, Manager, Pet Supply Store
- Barbara Veit, Financial Assistant
- BJ McIlvaine, Administrative Supervisor
- Rita Lopez, Administrative Specialist
- Alice Mellado, Executive Assistant
- Shelter Staff
- Kahla Malinksy, DVM, CAP Veterinarian
- Victoria Jimenez, Lead Surgery Technician
- Jamie Taylor, Senior Surgery Technician
- Kathy Lawson, Senior Surgery Technician
- Cesar Muro, Assistant Surgery Technician
Kappy Muenzer has worked in the field of animal protection for forty-one years. She began her work in 1974 as a volunteer and founded CAP’s adoption program in 1975. She was one of CAP's four founders, opening the shelter in 1981. Kappy served as board president for almost ten years. In 1985 the Board of Directors appointed her as Executive Director of CAP. She has also acted as Coordinator and Co-Coordinator for CAP’s Celebrity Paws Gala since its inception in 1986.
Kappy served for thirty years on the board of the Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN). She actively advocated in the state legislature for laws to protect animals from cruelty and abuse. She was president of THLN for two years and vice president for four years. In addition, Kappy served on the board of directors of the Texas Federation of Humane Societies for over twenty years and on the board of the Texas Federation of Animal Care and Societies. She served on the Advisory Committee for the City of Houston, Animal Control Division for over twenty years and currently serves on the Advisory Committee for the PIMA Medical Institute - Veterinary Assistant Technician Program. She holds BA and Masters degrees in music from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, where she became a member of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority and Phi Beta Professional Fraternity.
Kappy’s late husband, Al, volunteered much of his free time to assist her with many CAP projects, events and computer programs. She refers to Al lovingly as her "Rock of Gibraltar." She shares her home with the "joys of her life:" three adorable CAP rescue dogs (Bailey, a Maltese mix, Kirby, a MaltiPoo, and Bella, a 5lb Maltese Mix) in addition to some very special rescue kitty cats!
In 2010, Kappy was named and honored by The Social Book as a 2010 "Houston Treasure." In February, 2015, her colleagues and peers from across the state honored Kappy with the Humanitarian of the Year Award, presented by the Texas Federation of Animal Care and Societies. Contact Kappy Muenzer
Barbara Fitzgerald has worked at CAP since January, 1989. Her love of animals influenced her to make the decision to enter the Animal Paramedic Program at Houston Community College. During this time, she volunteered at the CAP shelter in order to receive the required volunteer hours for school. Barbara was subsequently hired as an Animal Care Attendant during her second semester of college. Over the years, Barbara has been promoted from Animal Attendant to Animal Technician, Senior Animal Technician to Shelter Manager, and she currently holds the position of Director of Foster Home Program.
Barbara has two children, Laura and Joseph, and four grandchildren. In addition to her passion for dogs and cats, Barbara loves horses and has one of her very own. She also has eight cats, three dogs, numerous Cockatiels, Finches and Parakeets, Box Turtles and a Koi pond! Barbara opens her heart and home for the Houston Chronicle’s Pets of the Week while they are waiting for adoption.
Jessica Marks, Director of Operations & Chief Operating Officer
Hershey Grace has had a love for animals all of her life! When she was in her early twenties, she was one of the founders of the SPCA in Corpus Christi. Moving to Houston, she got involved with CAP in 1986 when she was a committee member for the first Celebrity Paws Gala. In 1987, she chaired the CAP gala with Robert Wagner as the Celebrity Star of the evening and again in 1997 for the 10 th Year Anniversary Gala. Since that time, Hershey has continued to serve on the Gala Steering Committee and has served as Auction Chairman for many years. She joined CAP’s staff as Special Events Coordinator in 1999. In 2003, she initiated the CAP “Paws on Parade” Dog Walk in partnership with Rover Oaks Pet Resort. She has coordinated Mr. Magoo’s Annual Birthday Bash (“Paws for Style”) since 1995. Hershey is also the manager of CAP’s eBay Store, the only thrift store in Houston benefitting animals! She shares her home with four cats adopted from the shelter. Hershey also serves as a foster mom for underweight and orphaned cats and kittens. Contact Hershey Grace
Trisha Royal has been associated with Citizens for Animal Protection since 1976. While working in the corporate world, she volunteered for the animal shelter for 15 years where she became very active with fundraising events, fostering special needs animals, and serving on the board of directors. In 1990, Trisha joined CAP as a staff member and has held positions such as Volunteer Coordinator, Executive Assistant, Community Relations Director and is now the Community Outreach Director. She gladly shares her job with her shelter adopted companion, Annie – the official CAP Goodwill Ambassador Dog & Head of Humane Education and misses the late and great Dixie, who was the CAP ambassador from 1997-2010. Together they strive to teach the community about CAP and its mission, pet care, the pet overpopulation crisis and the responsibilities/commitment of pet guardianship.
Trisha grew up with animals all her life and wants to make a difference in the future of all living creatures. Her personal pets include Annie (Chihuahua), Flower (Chihuahua) andJoJo (Yorkshire Terrier). Contact Trisha Royal
Barbara Veit, Administrative Assistant
About Barbara coming soon. Contact Barbara Viet
Elana Gilbert began working at CAP as the Volunteer Coordinator in October of 2012. Elana holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Hendrix College and an M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Tennessee. She served in AmeriCorps for two years after obtaining her undergraduate degree, and has since worked for PetSmart, Inc. and the Houston SPCA. Elana loves being able to combine two of her greatest loves, nonprofit work and animal welfare. She spends her spare time baking, quilting, reading, and enjoying the outdoors, and shares her home with two gray tabby cats named Genghis and T.K., an Australian Shepherd mix named Mabel, and a Border Collie mix named Charlie. Contact Elana Gilbert
Tracey is responsible for coordinating the Community Service Program and Shelter Activities (Birthday Parties, Tours, etc.) Contact Tracy Wallace
Dr. Malinsky joined the CAP team in 2011. She was the first veterinarian to ever work for CAP and has layed the ground work for many of the in-house veterinary services currently in use today. She has had a love of veterinary medicine since she was 16 years old and went on to graduate from Texas A&M College of Veterinary medicine in 2002 followed by a veterinary internship at Manhattan Veterinary Group in NYC. She also holds a B.S. degree from Texas A&M in Zoology and a degree in Clinical Laboratory Science from UTMB Galveston. She lives in Houston with her husband and 2 children, and her dog, Lily Sparkle, and 2 cats, Simon and Mr. Bean, all of which are rescues. She enjoys working at CAP because of the wonderful team of people that she gets to work with and because she enjoys being able to make a difference in the lives of countless homeless animals.
CAP Shelter Staff
Assistant Shelter Managers
- Laura Berrones - Feline Operations
- Jeremy Ellis - Canine Operations
- Katy Thacker - General Operations
- Kristin Norman - Clinic Manager
- Mary Hunt - Small Mammals and Shelter Inventory
- Yvonne Moye - Foster Home Program
Senior Animal Health Technicians
Responsible for documenting and evaluating the health status and temperament of the animals in our care. This includes providing medical care and screening of all incoming and adopted animals.
- Jeremy Ellis
- Pam Manuell
- Kristin Norman
- Yvonne Moye
- Nicole Zapella
Animal Shelter Supervisors
- LaPonza Gray
- Kim Lutrell
CAP employs part-time and full-time animal caretakers. They are responsible for general care and maintenance of the shelter animals. This includes feeding, walking, grooming and cleaning. They also assist in introducing potential pet adopters to the many pets needing homes, screen potential pet adopters and process adoptions.