Valerie Benka, Director of Programs for the Alliance for Contraception in Cats and Dogs

by | Jun 21, 2023

Valerie Benka–the Director of Programs for the Alliance for Contraception in Cats and Dogs (ACC&D)—recalls being someone who was nuts about animals from the time she was a kid, growing up in a family amidst a veritable menagerie. This early pet passion created something of a gravitational pull, drawing Benka toward animals, as she traveled professional and academic paths, including, the Animals and Public Policy Program at Tufts and a graduate degree in Conservation Biology and Public Policy from the University of Michigan. And when I suggest her career in animal welfare has tilted toward efforts in adoption and reducing the population of homeless animals—something of “a Valerie Benka running theme”—she agrees, laughing. She explains why she gravitated toward these areas, why they’re important to her, and why she thinks they should be important to others. She provides an overview of ACC&D—addressing its history, evolution, and mission: it’s an entity whose chief commitment involves reducing populations of homeless cats and dogs, emphasizing non-surgical means of contraception or sterilization. Benka notes, generally—and in response to a caller who seemed mystified by the pursuit of alternatives to spay/neuter–that ACC&D remains supporters of those surgical methods, while advocating for exploring and researching non-surgical means. Indeed, Benka summarizes a recently-published study, focused on non-surgical sterilant for female cats, which she and her ACC&D colleagues deem quite promising; it may well be on a path toward seeking FDA approval. [Photos by Valerie Benka] (,


ALSO: I spoke briefly with Marissa Dupuis, chief financial operating officer at Coastal Animal Clinic, a veterinary hospital operation with locations in Largo and Tampa. The Largo location was slated to play host to an adoption event and open house on Saturday, June 24. Dupuis explains that the impetus for the open house was partly to show off a recent renovation, including a fresh paint job. The event was also planned to feature about 15 adoptable animals, provided by Pawlife Rescue and Suncoast Animal League. (,,

COMEDY CORNER: Matt Braunger’s “Owls” (DS edit) (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  Baha Men’s ”Who Let The Dogs Out”


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