100 Women We Love: Kathryn Destreza

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Hurricane Katrina was one of the deadliest storms in U.S. history, but not all its victims were human. While serving as Animal Services Director and Chief Humane Officer for the Louisiana SPCA, Kathryn Destreza led the largest domestic animal-rescue operation ever undertaken. Now, as the Director of Investigations for the ASPCA’s Field Investigations and Response team, Destreza continues to handle some of the country's largest animal-crisis situations, including rescuing nearly 700 neglected cats in Florida and busting one of the largest cockfighting rings in that state's history. It's a tough job, sometimes made even tougher because Destreza is out and proud. "Being an out lesbian has been difficult in many ways, particularly working in the deep South," she said, "But this has made me stronger, more patient and dedicated to achieve my goals." Whether Destreza is investigating ASPCA reports, providing expert testimony in animal cruelty cases, or educating law enforcement and veterinary organizations on blood sports and disaster preparedness, Destreza is a force of nature in her own right. -DN

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