Merrie Rennard, MSSW, LMSW is pursuing her PhD in Social Work at the University of Tennessee, and is a Graduate Research Assistant with the Veterinary Social Work Program. Merrie's research interests include the Human Animal Bond and the relationship across cultures when examining Animal Maltreatment and "the Link" between Family Violence, as well as the role the Human Animal Bond plays in human responses to traumatic events. She holds a Masters' degree of Science in Social Work and a Bachelors' degree in Social Work and her post-masters' experience lies in Child Sexual Abuse Counseling, Sexual Assault Advocacy, Crisis Intervention, Latino/a Outreach, Child Welfare, Forensic Social Work, and Family Violence Prevention. She is the outgoing board president of Ahimsa House, Inc, Georgia's only organization providing temporary shelter for the animal victims of domestic violence, and currently serves on the board of Arte-Sana, a National organization that pro-motes awareness of gender and racially based violence through outreach and the arts.
Bethanie A. Poe, LMSW, PhD Fellow is a Graduate Research Assistant at the University of Tennessee Veterinary Social Work program, and is a PhD student at the College of Social Work. Bethanie's research interests include the Link between human and animal violence, humane education, as well as advocacy and policy practice. Bethanie graduated Magna Cum Laude from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelors of Science in psychology, and has a Master of Science in Social Work, management and community practice concentration, from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Bethanie has worked in a domestic violence shelter, been a case manager for the Department of Children's Services, and has taught mental health classes to high school students.