Shannon Walajtys

Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters


As the Animal Rescue Program’s Disaster Response Manager, Shannon oversees IFAW’s work with animals affected by natural disasters around the world. Between active responses, Shannon concentrates on improving disaster preparedness within IFAW and with cooperating organizations both in the U.S. and internationally.

In the U.S., Shannon oversees the IFAW Emergency Response Network, a coalition of local community disaster response groups called on to aid in large-scale disasters throughout the country. She continues to build and improve on IFAW’s international disaster response efforts, strengthening ties with local animal care organizations in areas where IFAW works and increasing response capacity.

Before taking on the role of Disaster Response Manager, Shannon was the Animal Rescue Disaster Response Program Officer, developing IFAW’s relationships with local, state and national organizations in areas of the U.S. most prone to disasters. Using skills developed over many years as a volunteer in animal welfare community, she has led IFAW teams on eight national disaster responses. Several of the responses involved cruelty cases, where her background in forensic science helped ensure evidence collected could be used in court cases. On the international level, Shannon provided support to local teams in various countries and managed grants for these responses.


Animal Rescue Disaster Response Program Officer

Emergency Relief Program Officer, IFAW International

Mass Disaster Victim Identification Team Member, Kenyon International

Chief Operating Officer, Complete Consultants Worldwide

Operations Lead, Department of Defense, USA

Forensic Scientist, Department of Justice, USA

Forensic Scientist, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, USA



Master of Science, Forensic Science, University of New Haven, USA

Bachelor of Arts, Criminal Justice, University of Georgia, USA

Certificate, Animal Crime Scenes Course, University of Florida Forensic Veterinary Program

Certificate, Animal Behaviour and Handling, National Animal Control Association

Certificate, Swiftwater Rescue Technician

Certificate, Basic Animal Emergency Services, American Humane Association

Certificate, Large Animal Rescue Techniques, State of Massachusetts Animal Response Team

Certificate, Basic Wildlife Rehabilitation, International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council

ICS Certification: 10a, 11a, 100, 200, 300, 400, 700