American Humane honors veterinary ‘Heroes’

Dr. Katherine Polak and veterinary nurse Julie Nettifee are committed to animal welfare causes.

American Humane honors veterinary ‘Heroes’
From left, Dr. Katherine Polak and Julie Nettifee

A veterinarian who works for the Four Paws international charity and a veterinary nurse lauded for her “can-do spirit” have been named American Humane Heroes.

Katherine Polak, DVM, MPH, MS, DACVPM, DABVP, and Julie Nettifee, RVT, VTS (Neurology), were honored Oct. 19 during the American Humane Hero Dog Awards, an annual event broadcast on the Hallmark Channel.

Dr. Polak, who lives in Boston, is founding medical director of Puerto Rico’s Spayathon initiative and the manager of a variety of stray animal care programs throughout Southeast Asia. She also is an adjunct lecturer in the University of Florida’s Maddie’s Online Shelter Medicine program.

American Humane highlighted Dr. Polak’s work in Vietnam with the “Cats Matter Too” program, which “provides medical care for thousands of cats in addition to education programs for children.”

“Previously, she was the medical director at Soi Dog Foundation in Thailand, where she trained local vets and launched a program in Bangkok to neuter upwards of 80,000 dogs per year,” American Humane added.

Nettifee is a shelter medicine specialist at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine and a volunteer with rescue organizations and animal-based nonprofit groups.

“With a can-do spirit, combined with a bright and bubbly attitude, Julie always has a smile for everyone,” American Humane stated.

The American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse Awards were presented by Zoetis Petcare.

“Dr. Katherine Polak has an extraordinary commitment to animal welfare around the global, as well as to improving veterinary training so more animals can be cared for and more lives saved,” said Tara Bidgood, DVM, Ph.D., DACVCP, executive director of veterinary professional services at Zoetis Petcare. “Similarly, Julie Nettifee demonstrates exceptional care and compassion for the animals she dedicates her life to every day. They are both truly heroes.”

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