BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Lori Weise
Founder & President
Lori Weise founded Downtown Dog Rescue in 1996 and brings 19 years of experience managing the DDR kennel, delivering community spay/neuter programs, and is the founder of the South LA Shelter Intervention Program. Lori has been honored by many for her service including the City of Los Angeles and Found Animals Foundation. She is the 2014 recipient of the ASPCA Henry Berg Award, and the 2013 recipient of the Wallace Award. Lori was one of the founding members of the Best Friends Animal Society's initiative NKLA and advised the ASPCA on their Safety Net Program at LA county shelters. In addition to overseeing DDR operations, she is a national speaker on community programs and the shelter intervention model of keeping pets in homes. Lori has been the General Manager of Modernica Inc for 19 years.
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Debbie Fan
Board Treasurer
Debbie Fan has been a volunteer with Downtown Dog Rescue since 2008 and she joined the board in 2013. Debbie brings ten years of experience as a City of Los Angeles Animal Services volunteer and has extensive experience working with dog behavior issues and counseling the public before and after adoption. Debbie evaluates shelter dogs prior to their being brought into the rescue, and she works extensively with adopters — from application to delivery and training. In her role as Treasurer, she manages donations and provides financial oversight. She and her partner have three rescue dogs, a cat, and are usually fostering a DDR dog as well. When she is not volunteering her time, she works as a Sr. Financial Analyst for a government consulting firm.
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Richard Tuttelmondo
Secretary
Richard Tuttelmondo is is a second generation dog rescuer and founding member of Downtown Dog Rescue. He adopted Tina (pictured here) when she became available at the shelter after being released from an animal cruelty case that DDR helped to prosecute. In addition to serving as secretary of the board, Richard was responsible for overseeing all construction aspects for building our Second Chance Kennel in South Gate. He remains very hands on with the dogs up for adoption, and continues to be an active participant in our community events development and planning. Richard has been the Plant Manager of Modernica for 20 years and was awarded Dwell Magazine’s Nice Modernist Award in 2000. He lives, and hikes, in Los Angeles with his beloved Tina.

TEAM MEMBERS

Sandy Dragotis
Sandy Dragotis has been volunteering with DDR for more than ten years. After finding a dog on the streets of downtown Los Angeles, she met Lori and asked for her guidance trying to find the dog a home. It turned out that both Sandy and Lori worked in the same area and were dealing with helping the many homeless people and pets they encountered regularly. Sandy began joining Lori at her dog adoption events, and eventually handled most of the adoption events entirely. These days, she mainly manages the two English-speaking DDR hotlines. Sandy lives in Los Angeles with five dogs, three of which were adopted through DDR.
Amanda Brooks
Amanda Brooks adopted a Pitbull mix about eight years ago. A few years after that, she started fostering dogs, and that’s when she learned about Lori and DDR through the rescue community. She was immediately drawn to their unique stance on pet overpopulation, and was impressed with how the organization ran. Since then she has been working in dog rescue in Los Angeles for the past five years and has served as DDR's Gratitude Coordinator for the past two, managing donations and sending acknowledgements with tax-receipts. Amanda lives with her husband, their two animal-loving children, two rescue dogs, two rescue cats, a toad, and several fish.
Mia Gyzander
Mia started volunteering for DDR seven years ago after adopting a dog from the group. She began as a foster parent and in 2014 took over the DDR/NKLA program position. This includes selecting dogs for the adoption center, implementing behavioral work, coordinating the team, and supporting foster homes and adopters. Mia lives in North Hollywood with three dogs and a steady flow of foster dogs who she helps turn into successful adoption candidates. She focuses on dogs who have spent extended time at the shelters for various reasons, such as being shy, behavioral issues, and being middle-aged or senior. She’s a costume designer who runs her own business manufacturing clothes for shows world-wide.
Sandy Zalagens
Sandy has been a volunteer with DDR since 2012. Her primary role is as team captain for the Race For The Rescues fundraiser, as well as to support adoption events. She fosters a handful of dogs, and is especially a sucker for the small, scruffy Terriers. Her long-term foster, Allie, is a DDR dog from the South LA streets. Sandy also helps with transporting dogs and dog food, and encourages property owners to offer pet-friendly housing. She has been a realtor with Keller Williams since 2003, and offers rental incentives to people who have rescue pets. Sandy enjoys being a resource to other agents who find abandoned pets or encounter other tough situations involving animals.