Advisory Council

Advisory council members provide HART’S board with their expertise on a variety of topics related to animal welfare, best sheltering practices, trainer credentialing, legal matters, and animal behavior. They assist HART’s board members in their pursuit of HART’s mission and vision as well as advising for HART’s participating trainers.

After HART’s Advisory Council Chair, members are listed alphabetically below.

Emily Tronetti, MS, CTC

Advisory Council Chair

Emily (she/her) is one of HART’s founding members. She has a Master of Science in anthrozoology and a Certificate in Applied Animal Behavior. She graduated with honors from The Academy for Dog Trainers, is a certified Fear Free Animal Trainer as well as a member of Fear Free’s Speakers Bureau. Currently, Emily is pursuing her Doctor of Education in Educational & Professional Practice through Antioch University. Her research is centered on anti-oppressive practices, adult humane education, and animal agency in sanctuary settings. Emily also offers consulting and education through Coexistence Consulting

Dr. Jim Ha, Ph.D., CAAB

Dr. Ha’s academic and practical training is in the social behavior of birds and mammals, with a special focus on highly social species including domestic dogs, crows and jays, and primates. At the University of Washington since 1990, he is a retired Emeritus Research Professor in Psychology (Animal Behavior Program) where he and his wife, Dr. Renee Ha, are responsible for the Certificate in Applied Animal Behavior Program.
Dr. Ha currently practices through, participates as an expert witness in legal cases and has served in various executive roles as a member of the Animal Behavior Society for many years.

Dr. Maya Gupta, Ph.D.

Dr. Gupta is a psychologist specializing in the understanding of animal cruelty, including its connections to other forms of violence. She previously served as the executive director of a statewide organization in Georgia whose mission was to help the human and animal victims of domestic violence reach safety together, and then as the executive director of the Animals & society Institute. Now at the ASPCA, Dr. Gupta leads a research team focused on developing cutting-edge science about a wide range of animal welfare topics. Dr. Gupta will be advising HART on policies regarding animal care in regards to partnering with shelters and rescues and helping to find more ways to increase community engagement.

Dr. Wailani Sung, MS, Ph.D., DVM, DACVB

Dr. Wailani Sung, (She/Her) MS, PhD, DVM, DACVB, is a board certified veterinary behaviorist, has a Masters in psychology, and is currently the director of behavior and welfare programs at the SFSPCA. In addition to providing behavioral consultations for privately owned pets, she also oversees the management and treatment of the behavioral needs of the shelter animals residing at SFSPCA. Her work as a writer, presenter and collaborator has helped improve the understanding of animal behavior issues and behavioral health to so many people working and living with companion animals. Dr. Sung’s expertise will help shape HART’s ability to provide support for both our rescues and participating trainers.


Emily is the founder of Boulder-based nonprofit, Summit Dog Rescue, which is a rescue organization that has been instrumental in saving the lives of dogs and cats and educating the public about humane training methods since 2009. In her time since founding Summit Dog Rescue, she graduated from Karen Pryor Academy, became a Certified Professional Dog Trainer with the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, and most recently, she earned her certification as a Family Dog Mediator. Emily brings a wealth of knowledge to the HART organization and we are so very lucky to have her on our Advisory Council!

Gary Swearingen, B.S., J.D.

Gary is a lawyer for Costco Wholesale where he manages Costco’s global trademark portfolio and supports several business units including the three Costco health centers.  Prior to Costco, Gary was had legal roles at a technology company and a large bank.  Before moving in-house, Gary was a partner at a Seattle law firm.  Gary has a J.D. from the University of Washington and a B.S. in economics and political science from Willamette University. 

Miranda Hitchcock, MS Applied Animal Behavior, CDBC, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, Fear Free Certified.

Miranda (she/her) began her work with dogs as a volunteer at an animal shelter, and went on to serve as an operations manager for a rescue facility and a large municipal shelter. She has experience overseeing shelter behavior programs as well as adoptions, animal care, and veterinary services. Miranda began training dogs as a volunteer and trainer with several organizations in the Washington, DC area before moving to Austin. Now she runs a nonprofit organization, Every Dog, dedicated to providing inclusive, accessible dog training and behavior. Miranda holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Animal Behavior and Welfare from Virginia Tech. She lends her expertise to HART in matters such as inclusivity, reaching historically underserved populations for behavior services, and 501c3 advising.

Peter Amelia

Peter Amelia (they/them) is a talented animal consultant dedicated to force-free positive reinforcement training. The founder of Taking Wing Consulting, they train a wide variety of animals, ranging from birds to snakes to goats! HART is grateful to have Peter’s expertise related to a range of topics, including trainer credentialing and certification and expanding HART’s consulting to include a more diverse group of rescue animals beyond dogs and cats.

Trish McMillan, MSc, CPDT-KA

Trish McMillan has been involved in the animal rescue and sheltering world since the mid-1990’s, including working for the ASPCA for nearly eight years in several positions.

Trish currently does animal behavior consulting near Asheville, North Carolina, working with canine, feline, and equine behavior problems. Her farm, Pibble Hill, is home to a couple dozen smart and entertaining creatures of five species. She also runs online learning mentorships and courses for shelter folks and trainers at

HART is particularly grateful for Trish’s expertise in the shelter world and with the particularly sensitive subject of behavioral euthanasia.

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