CAP has a dedicated staff whose experience with animals and their care often spans several decades. The staff's knowledge and love of animals, which both employees and volunteers share, have created a welcoming atmosphere for both pets and people.

Citizens for Animal Protection

  • Sandi Mercado, Executive Director
  • Jessica Ellis, Shelter Director
  • Kappy Muenzer, Executive Director Emeritus
  • Barbara Fitzgerald, Foster Care Specialist
  • Trisha Royal, Community Outreach Director
  • Ana Rodriguez, Children's Programs & Humane Education Coordinator
  • Tracy Wallace, Foster & Medical Clerical Assistant
  • Bianca Burrascano, Marketing Coordinator
  • Alice Mellado, Volunteer & Community Service Coordinator
  • Daiva Paskauskaite, FCAP Coordinator
  • Barbara Veit, Financial Assistant
  • BJ McIlvaine, Administrative Supervisor
  • Rita Lopez, Administrative Specialist
  • Shelter Staff


  • Cristalle Boyle, DVM, Chief Veterinarian
  • Kristin Norman, Assistant Clinic Manager
  • Jamie Taylor, Senior Surgery Technician
  • Ashley Everett, Wellness Technician
  • Cesar Muro, Assistant Surgery Technician
  • Will Miertschin, Client Services & Clinic Marketing


Kappy Muenzer, Executive Director Emeritus

kappy muenzerKappy Muenzer has worked in the field of animal protection for forty-one years. She began her work in 1974 as a volunteer and founded CAP’s adoption program in 1975. She was one of CAP's four founders, opening the shelter in 1981. Kappy served as board president for almost ten years. In 1985 the Board of Directors appointed her as Executive Director of CAP. She has also acted as Coordinator and Co-Coordinator for CAP’s Celebrity Paws Gala since its inception in 1986.

Kappy served for thirty years on the board of the Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN). She actively advocated in the state legislature for laws to protect animals from cruelty and abuse. She was president of THLN for two years and vice president for four years. In addition, Kappy served on the board of directors of the Texas Federation of Humane Societies for over twenty years and on the board of the Texas Federation of Animal Care and Societies. She served on the Advisory Committee for the City of Houston, Animal Control Division for over twenty years and currently serves on the Advisory Committee for the PIMA Medical Institute - Veterinary Assistant Technician Program. She holds BA and Masters degrees in music from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, where she became a member of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority and Phi Beta Professional Fraternity.

Kappy’s late husband, Al, volunteered much of his free time to assist her with many CAP projects, events and computer programs. She refers to Al lovingly as her "Rock of Gibraltar." She shares her home with the "joys of her life:" three adorable CAP rescue dogs (Bailey, a Maltese mix, Kirby, a MaltiPoo, and Bella, a 5lb Maltese Mix) in addition to some very special rescue kitty cats!

In 2010, Kappy was named and honored by The Social Book as a 2010 "Houston Treasure." In February, 2015, her colleagues and peers from across the state honored Kappy with the Humanitarian of the Year Award, presented by the Texas Federation of Animal Care and Societies.



Barbara Fitzgerald, Foster Care Specialist

barbara fitzgeraldBarbara Fitzgerald has worked at CAP since January, 1989. Her love of animals influenced her to make the decision to enter the Animal Paramedic Program at Houston Community College. During this time, she volunteered at the CAP shelter in order to receive the required volunteer hours for school. Barbara was subsequently hired as an Animal Care Attendant during her second semester of college. Over the years, Barbara has been promoted from Animal Attendant to Animal Technician, Senior Animal Technician to Shelter Manager, and she currently holds the position of Director of Foster Home Program.

Barbara has two children, Laura and Joseph, and four grandchildren. In addition to her passion for dogs and cats, Barbara loves horses and has one of her very own. She also has eight cats, three dogs, numerous Cockatiels, Finches and Parakeets, Box Turtles and a Koi pond! Barbara opens her heart and home for the Houston Chronicle’s Pets of the Week while they are waiting for adoption.







 Trisha Royal, Community Outreach Director

trisha royalTrisha Royal has been associated with Citizens for Animal Protection since 1976.  While working in the corporate world, she volunteered for the animal shelter for 15 years where she became very active with fundraising events, fostering special needs animals, and serving on the board of directors.  In 1990, Trisha joined CAP as a staff member and has held positions such as Volunteer Coordinator, Executive Assistant, Community Relations Director and is now the Community Outreach Director.  She gladly shares her job with her shelter adopted companion, Annie – the official CAP Goodwill Ambassador Dog & Head of Humane Education and misses the late and great Dixie, who was the CAP ambassador from 1997-2010.  Together they strive to teach the community about CAP and its mission, pet care, the pet overpopulation crisis and the responsibilities/commitment of pet guardianship.    

Trisha grew up with animals all her life and wants to make a difference in the future of all living creatures.  Her personal pets include Annie (Chihuahua), Flower (Chihuahua) andJoJo (Yorkshire Terrier). Contact Trisha Royal







CAP Shelter Staff

Assistant Shelter Managers

  • Jeremy Ellis - Canine Operations
  • Kristin Norman - Assistant Clinic Manager
  • Mary Hunt - Small Mammals and Shelter Inventory
  • Yvonne Moye - Foster Home Program

Senior Animal Health Technicians

Responsible for documenting and evaluating the health status and temperament of the animals in our care. This includes providing medical care and screening of all incoming and adopted animals.

  • Jeremy Ellis
  • Pam Manuell
  • Kristin Norman
  • Yvonne Moye
  • Nicole Zapella

Animal Caretakers

CAP employs part-time and full-time animal caretakers. They are responsible for general care and maintenance of the shelter animals. This includes feeding, walking, grooming and cleaning. They also assist in introducing potential pet adopters to the many pets needing homes, screen potential pet adopters and process adoptions.

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