Board of Directors

THLN's board of directors is comprised of individuals who bring their professional talents and animal welfare expertise to the organization to help further its mission for the animals. All work is provided on a voluntary basis. The duties of the board include: establishing and implementing legislative agendas designed to pass effective animal protection legislation; providing information to the news media concerning THLN issues; informing THLN's membership of animal-related legislation; increasing membership statewide; working with other organizations who share THLN's goals; and fundraising to provide the financial resources needed for lobbying, membership communications, and media-related activities.

Stephen Hurst

Position: President Donate to THLN on my behalf

Steve has spent his professional career in real estate development and finance. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Real Estate from Southern Methodist University and a Masters in Business Administration from The University of Texas at Austin. Steve and his wife Vickie began volunteering as a foster home for dog rescue organizations more than 15 years ago. In that time, they have helped several dogs find loving homes. Steve is also an active fundraiser and grant writer for several Dallas area rescue organizations. He helps plan events for these groups to raise funds, promote humane education and get dogs adopted. Before becoming a board member, Steve was a longtime volunteer with the Texas Humane Legislation Network and enjoyed helping with humane education, legislative advocacy, and fundraising. As chairman of the THLN grassroots committee, Steve is committed to connecting people across Texas to their elected officials to help advocate on behalf of animals. Steve knows there’s nothing more important than having neighbors talk to neighbors, reaching each other where they live, work, learn, worship, text, and tweet. Steve and his wife share their home with their four rescue dogs and occasional foster dogs.

Jaime Olin

Position: Vice President and Legislative Chair Donate to THLN on my behalf
Jaime is currently a partner with the Dallas law firm Skiermont Derby, practicing patent and commercial litigation. Before that, she worked as Legal Advocacy Counsel with the ASPCA, focusing on animal welfare litigation, animal cruelty prosecution support, and equine welfare issues. She’s taught courses and given countless presentations on animal cruelty laws, the LINK, and various other animal law topics. She earned her BA in Psychology/Biology (focus on animal cognition) from New College of Florida, her MS in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts University, and her JD from the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) where she started and ran the school’s chapter of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund. She’s lived in Dallas since 2009. Jaime’s rescue dogs, Parker, Benny, and Lucy, are admittedly somewhat pampered, but they motivate her to work hard to improve the welfare of all Texas dogs.

Parker Wilson

Position: Secretary Donate to THLN on my behalf
Parker Wilson lives in San Antonio, where he was born and raised, with his wife, daughter, two dogs, three cats, and one former hamster.  He is the VP of Regulatory Law for Valero, where he has worked since 2002, and served two terms on the board of the Bexar County Humane Society. Prior to joining the THLN board, Parker volunteered for the organization and worked on advancing THLN-backed tethering legislation. He is passionate about creating laws that will help prevent the cruel treatment of companion animals and in promoting the punishment of those who do.

Ken Agnew

Position: Treasurer Donate to THLN on my behalf
Ken is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and partner in a public accounting firm. Ken’s practice specializes in assisting small businesses, entrepreneurs, and not-for-profit organizations with their accounting and tax compliance needs. Ken is a passionate advocate for animals by giving them a voice by promoting animal welfare and rights. He is active in his community, working with DFW area animal rescues as a volunteer and dog foster parent. Ken is a past board member of the LSU Dallas Alumni Chapter. Ken and his wife Myka share their home in Dallas with their three rescue dogs, Beaux, Chumley, and Charlie.

Susan Beldon

Position: Director Donate to THLN on my behalf
Susan resides in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband, Brad, four children, and five dogs. Growing up in Maryland, Susan developed a passion for helping animals while working with a local veterinarian. Susan served on the board of the San Antonio Humane Society for six years. Currently, she sits on the City of San Antonio Animal Care Services Advisory Board. New to the THLN Board, Susan initially became involved as a Legislative Ambassador. Susan is interested in animal-related legislation and laws. This commitment is what motivates her to be a strong advocate for all Texas animals.

Kelly Hairfield

Position: Director Donate to THLN on my behalf
Kelly currently works as an attorney in Galveston, Texas, practicing first-party insurance. She holds a Juris Doctorate from South Texas College of Law Houston (STCLH). While at STCLH, she worked as a Research Assistant for Professor Fran Ortiz, who introduced her to the world of Animal Law. Kelly served as the President of the STCLH- Animal Legal Defense Fund Chapter for two years, named Student Organization of the Year. She has received multiple awards, such as the Honorable Michael H. Schneider, Jr. Animal Law Society Award and the Vinson & Elkins Public Interest Award for her dedication to animal welfare. Her passions lie in community outreach and education. She gets to share her life with two exuberant English Springer Spaniels, Molly, and Kieran.

Meera Nandlal

Position: Director Donate to THLN on my behalf

Meera currently resides in Houston, Texas, with her dog and three cats, all girls, all rescues, and all spoiled! She attended the University of Texas at Austin, earning a degree in broadcast journalism. While in college, she began her broadcasting career working for a local radio station. She eventually made her way into television, working as an anchor, reporter, and host. Her love for animals began at a young age, and as an adult, she made sure to give them a voice in her media work. In 2008, Meera took a break from mainstream media to follow her passion and became a media spokesperson for a local animal shelter. During this time, she witnessed some of the most horrific animal cruelty rescues and was also responsible for helping many mistreated animals find loving homes or sanctuaries. Her favorite memory is traveling from Houston to Romania to document the transport of an abused brown bear named Betsy to her forever home, the Libearty Bear Sanctuary. Meera loves to give animals a second chance at life through fostering, as nothing is more rewarding than saving helpless animals in need.  A few years ago, she formed her own company, Maharani Media LLC, to focus specifically on animal welfare issues. She's currently working on her project and labor of love, Meera's Animal Tribe. She is finally proud to say she is an Animal Welfare Journalist. Her goal is to educate through her stories so that together, we can end the inhumane treatment that causes animals to suffer worldwide.

Elisabeth Rutledge

Position: Director Donate to THLN on my behalf
Elisabeth Rutledge combines a passion for animal rights with experience in public affairs and advocacy communication to help THLN further its mission. Currently working as a communications consultant for the Jeff Eller Group, Elisabeth helps clients large and small protect and enhance their brand equity and stakeholder relationships. Her clients have included some of the country’s best-known names in advocacy, energy, health insurance, retail, private equity, and transportation. Before joining the Jeff Eller Group, Elisabeth was a senior vice president with Hill+Knowlton Strategies and a managing director at Public Strategies. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in American Studies. Elisabeth is also a graduate of the Leadership Texas program.

Randy Turner

Position: Director Donate to THLN on my behalf
Randy Turner spent much of his childhood in Egypt, Ethiopia, and Germany. He practices animal law in Fort Worth and is a co-founder and past chair of the Animal Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. He has been a member and avid supporter of THLN since 1987 when he served a term on its board. Randy has served on the boards of directors of animal welfare organizations in Texas and has worked as a volunteer in Borneo, Indonesia on orangutan rescue and rehabilitation, Kenya on elephant conservation, and Zimbabwe on black rhinoceros conservation. He has been representing animal welfare and rescue organizations, wildlife sanctuaries, animal rights activists, and animal owners for over 30 years. Randy has tried numerous animal cases to a verdict and has handled several animal cases on appeal at various appellate courts around Texas, including the Supreme Court of Texas. He is a frequent lecturer on animal law and has testified several times at the Texas legislature on bills affecting animals. Randy divides his time between Fort Worth and a mountain cabin in Colorado with his wife, Patti, two rescue dogs, and three rescue cats

Cindy Smiley

Position: Director Donate to THLN on my behalf
Cindy Smiley, a native Texan, lives and works in Austin, where she practices environmental law and water law. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Plan II from The University of Texas at Austin and a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law. Her legal career includes work for a major corporation, a state agency, and big and medium-sized law firms. She served as the Chair of the Environmental & Natural Resources Law Section of the State Bar of Texas from 2011-2012, and currently serves as a Council member of the State Bar’s Animal Law Section. Cindy has been recognized by “Best Lawyers” in the fields of environmental law and water law since 2008. In May 2018, she was honored to receive the “Outstanding Achievement Award” from the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association. In February 2012, Ms. Smiley ventured into the solo/small firm world with the formation of Smiley Law Firm, where she continues to practice environmental law and water law for a wide array of clients, including individuals, associations, and businesses. In addition, inspired by her experience as a volunteer puppy-raiser of future service dogs for Guide Dogs for the Blind and also for Canine Companions, Cindy has become very interested in legal issues associated with animals in public places, especially service dogs and service dogs-in-training. She is passionate about educating people on topics involving service dogs, their amazing work, and their importance. She was honored to testify on behalf of THLN on service dog and other animal welfare bills during the 2023 Legislative Session.


Advisory Board

Julie Caramante

Company: Texas State Horse Council Donate to THLN on my behalf

Cile Holloway

Company: Texas Humane Legislation Network Donate to THLN on my behalf

Jack Knox

Company: Cafe Pacific Inc. and Knox Ranch Inc. Donate to THLN on my behalf

Natalie Lynch

Company: Lynch Law Firm Donate to THLN on my behalf

Gigi Ray

Company: Texas Humane Legislation Network Donate to THLN on my behalf

Erin Shults

Company: Mazie’s Mission Donate to THLN on my behalf

Mary Spencer

Company: SPCA of Texas Donate to THLN on my behalf