New acting animal care deputy named

Bernadette Juarez replaces Dr. Chester Gipson, who retired Jan. 1 as deputy administrator for the APHIS Animal Care program.

Bernadette Juarez has been named the new acting deputy administrator for the Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Animal Care (AC) program by APHIS administrator Kevin Shea.

Juarez will lead the program’s many employees in protecting and ensuring the welfare of millions of animals nationwide that are covered under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and the Horse Protection Act (HPA).

In a letter to stakeholders, Shea said Juarez will also oversee the collaborative work done at AC’s Center for Animal Welfare, building critical partnerships domestically and internationally while seeking to improve regulatory practices and develop training and educational resources.

Juarez is replacing Dr. Chester Gipson, who retired on Jan. 1 after more than 13 years as AC’s deputy administrator.  

“I am confident that Bernadette’s accomplished leadership and management experience, her commitment to results, her extensive knowledge and enforcement of both the AWA and HPA and her passion for AC’s mission will prove invaluable to APHIS’s efforts to ensure more humane and healthy conditions for animals while also working to end the cruel and inhumane practice of soring,” Shea said.

Prior to this position, Juarez served with APHIS’s Investigative & Enforcement Services (IES), first as deputy director for 4.5 years and then as director for 2.5 years. As director, Juarez was responsible for leading investigations of alleged AWA and HPA violations, as well as all other APHIS-administered statutes and regulations, and pursuing enforcement actions where warranted.  She also transformed the unit’s ability to complete investigation and enforcement actions nearly 50% faster by streamlining its business processes and focusing on the highest-priority investigations.

Juarez’s experience enforcing the AWA and HPA began prior to her joining APHIS as a trial attorney in USDA’s Office of the General Counsel from 2002 to 2009. In that time, she represented APHIS in numerous AWA and HPA administrative enforcement proceedings.

In 1999, Juarez completed her bachelor in business administration degree from the University of New Mexico. She went on to earn her Juris Doctor from American University, Washington College of Law, in 2002.

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