Our Crew

Stefanie Heath Reinert

Founder and Director

Crew Credo

“After working in an animal shelter, I quickly learned the plight of the pit bull. Not only was there a negative and incorrect perception of pit bull type dogs, they were the first to be euthanized. That’s when I realized I had to be their voice, and when the idea for Cuse Pit Crew was formed. I believe that a preventative approach through education and advocacy is the best way to speak for pit bulls.”

Responsibilities
  • Leads Cuse Pit Crew in fulfilling their mission through education and advocacy
  • Fosters relationships with national and regional animal organizations
  • Spokesperson for media and public relations
  • Initiates and outlines new programs to further the Cuse Pit Crew mission

Emily Doucet

Co-Shelter Liaison

Crew Credo

“I volunteered in animal shelters for 13 years, and was frustrated by the large number of bully type breed dogs coming in – and the small amount getting adopted out. My goal is twofold: I want to keep more dogs in their homes through education, and to help more shelter dogs find forever homes through enrichment and promotion.”

Responsibilities
  • Launches enrichment programs to help shelter dogs waiting for their forever homes
  • Coordinates and communicates with shelters and rescues to help increase adoptions
  • Provides positive reinforcement training and socialization to shelter dogs awaiting adoption
  • Promotes specific shelter dogs through social media

 

 

Nastasha Faust

Secretary

Crew Credo

“I had never been around a pit bull type dog until I started dating my boyfriend. I quickly fell in love with his dog Tank’s personality and we became “best friends.” Once I started taking Tank places, I saw firsthand the discrimination that dogs like him face and it saddened me. I  joined Cuse Pit Crew determined to help make a difference in the lives of these misunderstood dogs.”

Responsibilities
  • Documents, manages, and runs all board meetings
  • Monitors board activities, reports back to group

 

Natalie Martin

Treasurer

Crew Credo

“I didn’t hesitate to make Rufio a part of our family. He was a pit bull found abandoned and alone, yet he wouldn’t stop wagging his tail. That’s the true pit bull, the one I want everyone in Syracuse to know about: they’re resilient, forgiving, and loving even when people have let them down.”

Responsibilities
  • Ensures Cuse Pit Crew’s financial viability through fundraising and merchandising
  • Provides accounting oversight and management

 

 

 

Franca Perrotta

Shelter Liaison

Crew Credo

“Shortly after my senior pit bull passed away, I got involved with Cuse Pit Crew as a way to honor his memory. When I joined CPC’s shelter team, I was astounded to see that the majority of dogs in our local shelters were bully breeds. I have always been an advocate for these resilient dogs, and my goal is to continue to help find them the loving homes they deserve as well as promote the positive changes that are already happening for this misunderstood breed.”

Responsibilities
  • Launches enrichment programs to help shelter dogs waiting for their forever homes
  • Coordinates and communicates with shelters and rescues to help increase adoptions
  • Provides positive reinforcement training and socialization to shelter dogs awaiting adoption
  • Promotes specific shelter dogs through social media

 

Aaron Santangelo

Outreach Director

Crew Credo

“Dogs have always held a special place in my heart as I have been around all breeds my entire life and can say with complete certainty I have never seen a breed more misunderstood than the Pit Bull. I decided it was time to do something about it and after meeting the Cuse Pit Crew I knew I found the right group and foundation to do just that. I look forward to what we will accomplish.”

Responsibilities
  • Collaborates with community leaders on programs that benefit people and pit bulls
  • Connects community members with programming and resources
  • Initiates and manages partnerships that further the Cuse Pit Crew mission

 

 

 

 

Maggie Benedict

Event Coordinator

Crew Credo

Growing up I was taught to love and respect all animals and that belief laid the foundation of my passion for animal welfare. I believe that humans have the responsibility to be the voice for all animals that cannot speak for themselves.  I joined Cuse Pit Crew to be the voice and to educate others to be that voice too.

Responsibilities
  • Conceptualize new events and fundraisers
  • Coordinate with vendors, local companies, and non-profits for events
  • Manage and grow annual events

 

Kristen McDermott

Board Member

Credo

“I have always strongly believed that every animal has the right to live a long and happy life, outside of a cage. It hurts my heart that so many dogs are abused and neglected in our society. I want to make Syracuse a better place for companion animals, by strengthening the laws to protect them,  as well as educating people about their care.”

Responsibilities
  • Oversee animal welfare intervention program

 

 

 

Valerie Cerilli

Business Manager

Crew Credo

“I adopted a Pit Bull from SPCA and didn’t understand why or how anyone could discriminate against this breed. I looked at her and realized I had to do something to change that. I had to be the voice for the voiceless. I joined Cusepitcrew and felt instantly at home”

Responsibilities
  • Maintains all business records
  • Manages merchandise, supplies, and all inventory

Tatiana Marocco

Volunteer Coordinator

Crew Credo

“After adopting a pit bull I quickly learned that breed discrimination was a thing.  The more stereotypes and myths I heard the more it hurt and the more passionate I became about creating a positive image for these misunderstood dogs.  I joined Cuse Pit Crew on a mission to break stereotypes, promote change through advocacy and to teach others that a breed doesn’t define a dogs personality.”

Responsibilities
  • Leads volunteer orientations
  • Coordinates volunteers to staff events & fundraisers
  • Shares Cuse Pit Crew’s mission at community events
  • Photographs and creates Dog of the Week posters to promote adoptions