Animal Advocates Honored at PALS’ Inaugural Compassion Awards

compassion awards

The Professional & Animal Lovers (PALS)’s Inaugural Compassion Awards honored three local animal advocates for their respective work on behalf of animals at PALS’ Inaugural Compassion Awards on Oct. 11.

With about 100 guests in attendance at the Refuge in Melville, a range of business owners to professionals came together through one commonality: their love for animals. Valerie Heffron and Tommy DiMisa, co-hosts of the Professional & Animal Lovers (PALS) weekly radio show/podcast series, awarded the three individuals for their commitment to advocating and caring for animals.

“The honorees chosen for this year’s awards are three very special people who are all doing tremendous things for the voiceless,” Heffron said.

John DiLeonardo

PALS’ Inaugural Compassion Awards Honorees

  • John Di Leonardo, an anthrozoologist, wildlife rehabilitator, and president of Humane Long Island, Long Island’s leading animal advocacy organization and the premier domestic fowl rescue from Manhattan to Montauk
  • Regina Mendoza, founder and executive director of Camp Happy Tails NYC, who started as a volunteer for a rescue, doing home visits, transports, and walking dogs which soon evolved into what is now Camp Happy Tails NYC
  • Renee Kraft, who has been trapping cats and kittens for decades to perform Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), decreasing the numbers of feral cats on Long Island. 

Professional & Animal Lovers (PALS) launched in September 2021 with the goal of bringing together and educating communities, businesses, and individuals with animal compassion in mind.

Heffron’s extensive background running network events on Long Island coupled with co-founder DiMisa’s corporate experience and vast network of connections enables them to build and grow a strong network of compassionate people and businesses alike. Their website currently offers about 60 podcasts relating to animal advocacy topics ranging from pet therapy to the horrors of puppy mills.

“We are constantly learning from our guests and experts,” Heffron said. “Providing tools and education to individuals and advocating on behalf of the voiceless hopefully inspires others to join the cause.” 

For more information, education, and upcoming events, visit PAL’s website at

Regina Mendoza
Renee Kraft

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Animal Advocates Honored at PALS’ Inaugural Compassion Awards

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