Financials/Board Members

Our Board

Nina Vassallo BA, MBA

Chairperson and Director

Nina is a semi-retired executive consultant in the property casualty industry.

Nina founded Chase Sanctuary in 2008 as a dog, cat and bird rescue. In 2014 fate delivered a very special brown Lemur to the sanctuary steps. This Lemur, Tracy, became the nexus of a direction change for the sanctuary. Today, Nina and the board have piloted the Sanctuary as it cares for over 30 Lemurs, nearly 20 monkeys and several other species including sloths, toucans, antelope…to name a few. For 2022 Nina and the board have focused the sanctuary on species preservation for critically endangered Ruffed Lemurs, Critically endangered Cotton Top Tamarins and on public education aimed to preserve species and ecosystems.

Monica Ross BS, MS

Sr. Research Scientist

Monica is a biologist and an animal behavior expert who has studied and engaged with animal behavior on a wide variety of animals. In her current position with Sea to Shore Alliances she studies and analyzes manatee behavior and participates in capture, release and rehabilitation efforts. Monica also worked at Disney as an animal trainer/keeper.

Here at the sanctuary Monica is an experienced voice of reason and a resource for optimal husbandry and operational processes.

Dr. Missy Williams, PHD

Missy is a scientist with a passion for animal welfare and conservation. She received her Ph.D. from Florida Atlantic University in Integrative Biology. She founded the Dania Beach Vervet Project while completing her dissertation when she realized that the monkeys were lacking welfare and conservation efforts. She believes that animals are individuals that express emotional and cognitive complexities, and are not dispensable objects. Missy prioritizes animal welfare in decision making as she considers it a moral duty to foster co-existence between humans and nature.

Ethan Plail BS, JD

Ethan is a chemical engineer and Patent attorney. As the youngest person on the board, Ethan oversees the sanctuary succession plan and will oversee the transition of operations should the current founders die or become incapacitated.

Ethan also provides advise on oprational and engineering issues.

Donna Vassallo BA, MA

A life long passionate animal lover, Donna is a retired Sergeant from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Donna oversaw a $53 million dollar expansion of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and retired as Sergeant in charge of central booking. At the sanctuary Donna oversees all projects and works side by side with Nina, the staff, the board and the volunteers. Since Donna joined the sanctuary in 2020 many improvements and enhancements have been completed. Her presence here fosters improvement and quality in all we do.

Kelly Eastwood

Kelly is a retired flight attendant and a lifelong animal advocate. Kelly represents the sanctuary in The Villages and has donated funds for some of The Sanctuary’s bigger projects.

Kelly often fosters young monkeys and lemurs when they first arrive at the sanctuary and has become very proficient at helping us integrate new arrivals into existing troops/colonies.

The Makowski FamilyThe Makowski Family
04:53 12 Mar 23
Incredible day at the sanctuary! Words can’t describe how amazing this place is! My husband booked this tour for me today as a birthday present and I’m still smiling and amazed with every animal we encountered (as well as the amazing staff/volunteers) we had the opportunity to see, and the story behind how the animals got there. These animals are clearly so loved and well cared for, it’s beautiful to see! Their habitats are just as fantastic as they are…amazing!!! And our guide (Michelle I believe her name was) was absolutely outstanding and so informative and amazing and passionate! We’ve visited a lot of animal sanctuaries, as I’m a huge animal lover, and this one left me feeling so at peace, words can’t really describe it. Wear closed toed shoes, listen to the guides, bring some yummies (they list what they need) and enjoy and listen to every moment! I was in heaven today☺️ Love the lemurs, the deer (what a sweetheart, I’m in love), and Sully and the bunny Alice❤️ Got so many kisses, what an incredible group of animals, unforgettable! Thank you for an amazing, informative experience, one that I’ll never forget!!! Thank you for all that you do! I’ve already shared with friends and family!
Kayla NicholsKayla Nichols
20:59 03 Feb 23
Me and my bf went on a lemur tour and honestly this was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had with animal encounters, they really took their time with us and the animals and didn’t rush us at all. They let us take our time with each animal encounter and let us really experience them! All the enclosures are clean and a big for the animals ! What a wonderful place ❤️
Ashley BAshley B
23:08 31 Dec 22
We did lemur yoga and it was SUCH a great experience! Even if you’re not great at yoga, it’s okay and not a super intense class and beginner friendly- the instructor is super sweet. They prioritize your experience with the animals, which to us was great. Besides the lemurs, we got to be around a deer, capibaras, a tortoise and we met the Casper the bird.I would absolutely recommend this. After yoga we got to feed the animals a bit more, it was a blast!!My tip: Bring a towel for under your mat to help keep it clean since yoga is outdoors in the grass.
Rachel KingRachel King
22:40 10 Nov 22
Painting with Lemurs is an absolutely amazing experience! The animals are adorable and clearly happy and well cared for. There is no exploitation here, the animals are primarily rescues from private owners and were raised as pets. Chase now ensures they are properly cared for. The animals seems to l9ve interacting with visitors and getting treats and pets. Can't wait to go back for yoga!
Matthew BlackburnMatthew Blackburn
01:41 20 Mar 22
We brought the kids here on Spring Break to do something different. We were able to feed the lemurs, the deer, and various other animals.The staff were friendly and informative.I highly recommend coming here and doing the tour.
Zahida CeskoZahida Cesko
22:10 30 Oct 21
We had an amazing time today at yoga. It was one of the most fun and relaxing experiences. The staff was incredibly nice. I loved that the animals weren’t forced to interact. Some of the lemurs wouldn’t come out so they let out a different type of monkey. Everything was voluntary on the animals part which made it that much more enjoyable. The deer and Patagonia Mara were also a pleasant addition. Looking forward to going back again.
Adisa BecirevicAdisa Becirevic
19:38 30 Oct 21
We had an amazing time during lemur yoga! It was such a fun experience being able to interact with the animals and having them running around during yoga. We also liked how well cared for the animals are, it never felt like they were being exploited for our entertainment. This was such a wholesome and fantastic opportunity and we would definitely go back again!
L MachiavelliL Machiavelli
00:28 20 Sep 21
My friend and I attended lemur yoga. It was such an interesting experience. I didn’t know what it would be like but we were completely surprised in a good way. The lemurs were friendly, gentle, didn’t smell funky (yay to that!) and were soft like a chinchilla. The other attendees were also nice people. There were extra animals out during yoga. All was wonderful. I suggest bringing a towel with you to clean your hands off after feeding bits of fruit during yoga.
Angel RomanAngel Roman
21:58 19 Aug 21
Such a GREAT place to spend TIME; with friend's or family. On a date or with a LOVE one. The staff and owner's are awesome people. The love and time they all put into this place. Wow!!! I'm definitely GOING back. Not knowing much about Chase animal rescue. I will next time bring things they ask for on their website. See Ya soon!!!
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