Meet Our Team


    Executive Director

    Posted On: May 1st, 2013


    Dr. Otto, a member of the Pennsylvania Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 1 from 1994 to 2010, began monitoring the health and behavior of Urban Search and Rescue canines in October of 2001 after the 9/11 attacks. This work inspired her to establish the Penn Vet Working Dog Center.

    She has published over 60 articles in peer reviewed journals, authored over 10 book chapters and lectured nationally and internationally on Emergency Medicine, Disaster Medicine and Working Dogs.

    Her research program has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, American Kennel Club Companion Animal Recovery, Morris Animal Foundation and other foundations.

    She has also been involved in disaster medicine as a member of the Veterinary Medical Assistance Team – 2 since 1999.

    Dr. Otto is board-certified in both veterinary emergency and critical care and veterinary sports medicine. She is a tenured associate professor of Critical Care at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine and was named Pennsylvania’s 2002 “Veterinarian of the Year” and received an Alumni Recognition Award in 2006 and the OSU Distinguished Alumus Award in 2008 from the Ohio State University.
    She is involved in dog sports (flyball, agility, and tricks), and also provides pet therapy in the Philadelphia area, with her rescued Bichon mix, Dolce.


    Advisory Positions

    USAR Veterinary Group – 2007 – present
    Pennsylvania State Animal Response Team Board 2010-present
    US Special Operations Command Committee on Canine Tactical-Combat Casualty Care 2010 – 2012
    Scientific Working Group on Dog and Orthoganol Detector Guidelines 2011-2014
    NIST Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) Dogs and Sensors Subgroup 2014-present
    Advisory Committee for The Center for Animal and Human Relationships (CENTAUR) VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine 2012-present
    Search Dog Foundation Canine Veterinary Working Group 2012-present
    Hand2Paw – Board member 2012-present

  • Vicki Berkowitz

    Associate Director

    Posted On: May 2nd, 2013


    Vicki is a graduate of The George Washington University with a BA in Communications.  After graduation, she began her career in the brokerage industry earning her Series 7 & Series 8 licenses and a position working with branch offices across the Midwest to enhance their operations efficiency and overall industry compliance.  After 6 years in the industry, Vicki pursued an opportunity experience life in another culture and spent a year teaching English to college professors in Ecuador, South America.

    After returning to the United States, Vicki joined a retained search firm in Albany, NY specializing in building executive and leadership teams for high-tech start up companies.

    Vicki has spent the last 11 years in roles with increasing responsibility at Muscular Dystrophy Association.  Over the past 7 years as a leader on Regional, Divisional and National teams, Vicki not only managed relationships with National sponsors and events, but guided District teams through management of budgets, strategic business plans, and staff development.

    Vicki enjoys hiking with her 4 yr old Leonberger, Eloise, who is not only a registered therapy dog but also a decorated “Dock Dog” competitor.

  • Kathleen Kelsey, MS, MBA

    Research Coordinator

    Posted On: May 3rd, 2013

    Cal tugging RNC

    Research Coordinator |

    Kathleen graduated from the University of Missouri with an MS in Animal Science and her MBA from Columbia College. Before joining the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, she worked with Purina Mills providing nutritional programs for dog owners across the Midwest and as a Veterinary Technician at a large practice in Kansas City.

    She has been involved with Urban Search and Rescue since 2003 as a Canine Search Specialist with Missouri Task Force One. Her experience as a trainer, combined with her interest in research, drew her to the mission of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center.

    Kathleen continues to deploy with Missouri Task Force One with current partner, an American Bull Dog Mix, ChicoDog. Kathleen is also a member of McClean County EMA with her Human Remains Detection dog, a German Shepherd Dog, Zach. She is also enjoying training Nosework with her retired USAR partner, a Dutch Shepherd named Calvary.

  • Annemarie DeAngelo, MAS

    Training Director

    Posted On: May 4th, 2013


    Major Annemarie DeAngelo retired from the New Jersey State Police in January of 2012, concluding a distinguished thirty-one year career. She was assigned to patrol, canine, investigation and administration before rising to the command staff positions of Executive Officer in the Homeland Security Branch and Field Operations “Troop C” Commanding Officer.

    Annemarie was the founder and architect of the New Jersey State Police Canine Unit. She began training dogs for obedience and personal protection under the guidance of a military canine trainer in 1980. That experience steered her law enforcement career and she became the first NJSP narcotic dog (Buddy) handler. For the next 13 years she served in the Canine Unit as a handler, trainer, and ultimately unit leader. She earned trainer certifications from both the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office and the United States Police Canine Association. She is an active canine trial judge and advocate for law enforcement and civilian canine organizations.

    Annemarie and her canine partner “Buster” were awarded the National Detector Dog “Case of the Year” for an investigation and scent detection that led to the seizure of 1,200 kilograms of cocaine concealed in a tractor trailer. She was also the recipient of the prestigious “Gene Catre Memorial Award” presented by The College of New Jersey Criminal Justice Department for career contributions to the law enforcement community.

    Annemarie earned her Masters of Administrative Science degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University where she also earned a graduate certification in School Security and Safety Administration.

  • Pat Kaynaroglu

    Training Manager

    Posted On: May 5th, 2013


    Pat graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a B.A. in Special Education. Her dogs have been used as therapy dogs in her special education classrooms. She coordinated the “Cody Project”, a community service program using school students to train search dogs. She received a Teacher of the Year Award from the Kids in Need Foundation in 2010.

    Pat has worked with volunteers in many non-profits. She was Director of PA Special Olympic Equestrian Events, an instructor at Thorncroft Equestrian Center, Director of the Upper Main Line YMCA “Open Doors” Program, and President and Volunteer Coordinator for Lake County Search and Rescue.

    Pat has been a search dog handler since 1992. She is a FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Canine Search Specialist, Evaluator, and Instructor.

    Pat and her husband Hakan love the outdoors and have a mountain home in Colorado.

  • Jonathan Ball

    Dog Handler

    Posted On: May 7th, 2013


    Jonathan Ball graduated from Towson University in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Following graduation he worked with special needs children and their families at Kennedy Krieger Neurobehavioral Hospital and interned at the National Institute of Health with the intention of attending medical school. Jonathan’s career path however moved in a different direction after discovering an aptitude and passion for working with animals.

    Jonathan Ball is a graduate student at Thomas Jefferson School of Population Health and plans to apply to Veterinary school in the spring of 2014. He has two registered therapy dogs and teaches a tricks class at Y2K9s canine sports club in Wyndmoor, PA.

  • Judi Berke

    Volunteer Coordinator

    Posted On: February 12th, 2014


    Judi Berke is a licensed Doctor of Chiropractic and graduate of Sherman Chiropratic College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, specializing in the NUCCA technique. Judi has 25 years of experience running a successful chiropractic practice in Glenside, PA. She has had training in animal adjusting and served as Clinic Doctor at the Pennsylvania Chiropractic College. For the past eight years, her experience has been in higher education as a Continuing Education Director.

    A dog owner for most of her life, Judi has enjoyed the company of a German Shepherd, two Great Danes, and a Yorkshire Terrier. She currently resides in Elkins Park, PA with her rescue dog, Patrick, a long-haired Dachshund mix. During the 2013 holiday season, Judi and Patrick served as a temporary foster family for the Work Dog Center, welcoming Bretagne as their special guest.


  • Donna Magness

    Part-time Dog Handler

    Posted On: July 23rd, 2014

    Donna and Thunder_1

    Donna has been an avid horse person since the age of 5. Her love of horses led her to own and operate an equestrian tack shop, Gentry Tack & Apparel, Inc. for 15 years and to volunteer at Thorncroft Equestrian Center. Donna’s interests broadened to include dog training when she began taking Maddie, her Bouvier des Flandres, to agility classes after Maddie showed interest in agility equipment during an obedience class. Maddie and Donna now compete in AKC agility at the Masters Level.

    Donna began volunteering at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center as soon as it opened. Her contributions as a volunteer prompted the Center to hire her as a part-time trainer 6 months after she began volunteering. Donna grew up with horses, basset hounds, and ducks, which encouraged her love of animals. She rescued two greyhounds, who have since passed on, before she got Maddie and now, in addition to Maddie, owns seventeen chickens; two English Bulldogs, named Bonnie and Clyde; and fosters the Center’s very own yellow Labrador retriever, Jake!

  • Heather Thompson

    Part-time Dog Handler

    Posted On: July 23rd, 2014

    Heather and Ziggy

    Heather’s love of dogs began at an early age, and she began handling the Bullmastiffs her family bred for show and. As an adult, she became more involved in dog training and became a student at WonderDogs in 2000, where she taught for several years, specializing in the Puppy Head Start program. In addition to dog training, Heather launched a line of fine jewelry in 2010 called BirthPaws.

    Heather discovered a posting for a job at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center after its opening in 2012 and was hired in March 2013 as a part-time trainer.

    Heather’s canine companions have included a Golden Retriever, Rusty, and a Jack Russell Terrier, Sparkle, who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Her canine family currently consists of 6 Jack Russell Terriers, Jack, Pearl, Fios, Starr, Iris, and Ziggy, with whom she trains and competes in various dog sports, including flyball, Jack Russell racing, lure coursing, Earthdog, and conformation.

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