Jeff Merten, President:
Richmond native since 1969, Jeff has owned a local residential and commercial cleaning service and worked in the Restaurant and Country Club field for 10 years as a Kitchen Manager and Executive Chef, including Buckheads and Richmond Country Club. He currently owns and operates a local DoodyCalls franchise, a pet waste management company. Jeff first met some Richmond K-9 officers and their canines through sponsoring a Va. Police Work Dog Association event in 2010.
An original board member, Jeff has been President of Friends of Richmond K-9 since January 2014. He looks forward to continuing to work with all board members and volunteers to continue to support all the members of our courageous Richmond Police K-9 Unit.
Yvonne is originally from North Carolina and has lived in the surrounding Richmond area since 1976. Yvonne worked in retail sales and management for thirteen years and the banking industry for seven years. As a volunteer and then staff member of the Richmond SPCA, she realized dogs were her passion. Yvonne joined DogServices in 2004 and has been the Executive Manager since 2007. “I was honored to be asked to join the FORK9 Board. I have great admiration for the training the dogs and their handlers go through. Once I toured the current K9 training facility, I knew I had to help support the unit in any way I could.”
In addition to managing DogServices and contributing as a FORK9 Director, Yvonne enjoys traveling, volunteering with Rural Shelter Transports and the United States Equine Rescue League, and spending time with family, friends and her dogs.
Janice Clarke-Godfrey, Treasurer:
Jan relocated to the Richmond area at the end of 2012, to join The Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center, as their Chief Operations Officer. She has spent the majority of her life managing both human and veterinary medical facilities, with her passion being veterinary. Originally from Upstate New York, her hobbies include anything requiring time spent outdoors, preferably working with dogs and horses. She has two sons that live in Washington, DC and two stepsons in Upstate New York.
With the majority of her extended family having careers in law enforcement, as well as her own education being originally in Criminal Justice and now her position with The VESC, she is honored to serve on the board in any capacity necessary. Having the ability to “give back” to a unit of men, women and canines that serve and protect the Richmond Community is something she is passionate about. “We can never do enough” is her mantra, that she will happily share with anyone who will listen.
Andrea Bulifant, Secretary : Andrea Bulifant graduated college in 2000 with a degree in Business and immediately knew she wanted to be part of the veterinary world. She is currently the Director of Public Relations for the Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center. Prior to joining the VESC team in 2008, she was the Practice Manager of Animal Care Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. Andrea is also an equine trainer at StarCross Farm; working with young Arabian horses to build a solid foundation and start under saddle. Her training provides riders with a quiet and confident horse to start intense show training in any discipline of riding. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, showing horses, and target & skeet shooting with her family.
Sergeant Michael Bohannon:
Sgt. Bohannon started with the Richmond Police Department in 1995. He started on the force working patrol and uniformed drug units. After some time, he went on to work as a Narcotics Detective and did so for several years. While in Narcotics, he also served as a medic for the Richmond SWAT team. In 2001, he applied and was evaluated for a position of the RPD SWAT and became a member of that team where he still serves today. In 2005, Detective Bohannon was promoted to Sergeant, where he went back into patrol until summer of 2009 when he was transferred to the K9 unit. Sgt. Bohannon is the supervisor of the K9 unit where he works with his K9 Partner Astro, who is a Patrol K9.
“BO” as he is known, loves working in the K9 unit and on the SWAT team as well as spending time with his family and church.
Retired K-9 Officer Harry Pherson:
Harry Pherson is a retired Richmond Police officer of 29 years. He worked Patrol Division, Vice Division and the last 11 he worked in the K9 Unit. During this time with the unit he worked a Narcotic Detector K9. He also attained the position of Master Trainer with the Virginia Police Work Dog Association where today he is still active in the association certifying narcotic detector dog teams within the stave of Virginia. In 2004 Harry retired and too a position with a private security firm as a trainer of Explosion Detector K9's and spent time in the Middle East training dogs for the foreign nationals. In 2008, Harry retired completely and began traveling with his wife around the world and pursuing his interest in photography. Harry became a member of the FORK9 in an effort to help bring light to the women and men and their K9 partners' as to the work they do and to support them in their time of need.
Bill graduated from the University of North Carolina with degree in business. His former employers include: State of North Carolina Bank Examiners, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (bank examiner), Internal Revenue Service (both collection and audit), partner in CPA firm begun in 1975 and retired from this in 2003, now have small tax practice.
Before Bill became one of the founding members and Treasurer of Friends of Richmond K9, he was the Treasurer of Friends of Mounted, which supports the (horse) Mounted Unit of the Richmond Police Department.
Officer Fred Bates:
Fred Bates, a Virginia Military Institute graduate, has been working with the Richmond Police Department for 17 years. A former Narcotics Detective and Former Narcotics K-9 Handler, Officer Bates works with his K-9 partner, Gunny, and works the streets as a Patrol K-9 Handler . Officer Bates hopes to bring more public attention to our K-9 unit and show what our dogs can do to protect the citizens of the Richmond Metro Area.
Lisa’s interest in public service brought her to Washington, DC in 1994. She left her hometown of Lake Oswego, Oregon to attend law school at American University, Washington College of Law. While in DC, she worked at the Department of Justice, Department of State, and the FBI. She’s practiced law at national law firms and in-house at both public and private companies. She is currently a senior attorney at McKesson Corporation, a Fortune® 11 company, in Richmond, Virginia.
Lisa and her husband, Peter, travel to the mountains of Southwest Utah where they enjoy hiking, exploring the area’s beautiful parks, and photographing wildlife. She has two great running buddies, Monty (German Shepherd) and Emmet (Husky), and they help her train for marathons throughout the year. Lisa’s love for dogs and support of law enforcement has given her the opportunity to be a member of the Board of Directors of Friends of Richmond K9.
Kathy S. Edwards, SVP, BB&T , Vice President
Kathy is a Richmond native and grew up in Chesterfield County. She started her banking career in New Orleans, La 35 years ago. Kathy relocated back to her beloved hometown of Richmond and she is employed by Branch Banking & Trust Company (BB&T) for over 25 years. She is a Senior Vice President and serves as the Regional Retail and Small Business Banking Manager for the Central VA Region in Richmond, VA. Kathy moved to the Hanover County area in 2000 after she married Peter Edwards, a Retired Richmond Police Department K9 and Mounted Squad Officer. She has three children and six grandchildren in the area, and spends a lot of her free time immersed in activities with them. She loves visiting her friends in New Orleans, La several times a year and enjoys sailing on Lake Pontchartrain.
Kathy grew up with family members working in law enforcement and learned as a child to respect and appreciate how hard our police officers work to serve and protect us. She looks forward to supporting the officers and K9s of the Richmond Police Department as a board member of the Friends of the Richmond K9s.
I am Ceily Arrighi Poh and I grew up right in the heart of RVA! I attended Saint Benedict's and Saint Gertrude then decided to grace VCU withmy presence. Animals especially dogs have always been my passion and about 5 years ago with my son, adopted son and husband we ventured into the ever evolving world of pet nutrition. Nature's Select of Central Virginia was born. Don't get me started on how important your pet's gut health is. This wonderful business introduced me to this awesome group of people! Not sure exactly the skills that I bring to the board but I love being a part of it. Once again don't get me started how what great works this group accomplishes. Actually, my function on the Board besides being the "Oh! I have a great fund raising idea" person is to recruit and manage my absolute unbelievably great group of volunteers. So if you are interested just let me know and guess what you are hired! We don't pay a lot ( nothing, nada, zero) but we do awesome things for the wonderful K9's and their partners. So three parting thoughts........Think about joining us, you can donate and remember your pet needs great gut health!
Carolyn Zeppa has a M.A. in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Eastern Michigan University, and is in the second year of her Ph.D. in Public Policy with a concentration in Criminal Justice at Virginia Commonwealth University’s L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs serving as a teaching and research assistant. Ms. Zeppa has been published in Critical Criminology and will have several media related entries in the upcoming encyclopedia Lockdown Nation: An Encyclopedia of Controversies and Trends in American Prisons. Ms. Zeppa holds professional memberships with the American Society of Criminology, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and the Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management, and presents regularly at criminal justice conferences. She has also served as a peer-reviewer for the Department of Justice in the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) for the last two years and has been working with the Richmond Police Department researching their body-worn camera program.
Prior to pursuing an academic career, Ms. Zeppa graduated from the internationally prestigious arts and college preparatory boarding school, Interlochen Arts Academy, as well as from Fordham University and The Alvin Ailey School’s B.F.A. dance program in New York, NY. In her spare time, Ms. Zeppa knits and writes for her blog, The Hollywood Criminologist, where she explores the entertainment industry’s love affair with the criminal justice system through the paradigm of cultural criminology. Ms. Zeppa has appeared on Dr. Drew On Call (HLN) and will appear in the upcoming show Evil Genius (History Channel). Ms. Zeppa is an avid supporter of law enforcement and German Shepherds, having adopted her first GSD, Doc Holliday while living in Los Angeles from the West Side German Shepherd Rescue. After her beloved Doc passed over the rainbow bridge and she moved to Richmond, VA, Carolyn found her current GSD, Max who has his own Instagram account @k9_max_of_rva. Max loves boarding at Dog Services when his mom has to travel for work!
Danielle Naoroz Peters
Danielle Naoroz Peters
I moved to Richmond in 1984 to attend Virginia Commonwealth University to pursue a degree in Education. Upon graduation, I taught for Richmond Public Schools at J.B. Fisher Elementary School. Along with my husband, I am involved in a variety of organizations within the Richmond community. These include the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Richmond Jazz Society, James River Outdoor Coalition, Richmond Food Co-op, Community Foundation and Richmond BMW Riders. We currently have the companionship of one rescued dog, two cats and occasionally two beehives. My interest in the Friends of RVA K9 stems for my love of animals and the desire to support our community and those who help to protect it.