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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. Tina Grove, DVM

Dr. Grove graduated from Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in 2010, simultaneously achieving a master’s degree in Laboratory Medicine. She then completed formal residency training at Yale University and obtained her specialty board certification in 2013. In her practice Dr. Grove cares for exotic pets, particularly nonhuman primates.

Dr. Grove is the Sanctuary veterinarian (on retainer) and provides exceptional care to all of our animal residents.

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 legal and operational issues.

Donna Vassallo BA, MA

A life long passionate animal lover, Donna is a retired Sargent from the Hillsboro County Sherifs Office. Donna oversaw a $53 million dollar of the 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.

Dianna Stevenson-Lamolli

Dianna is a local business owner and a very dedicated staff member at the sanctuary. With a huge passion for animals Dianna oversees our enrichment program and helps with our volunteer staff and with our fundraising events. Always putting the animals first, Dianna helps make sure their lives are charmed.

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.

Traci HoggardTraci Hoggard
18:09 07 Nov 21
My friend & I, along with her adult son, did the Yoga with Lemurs. It was awesome! Then we were able to join on one of their tours to see all that the Sanctuary was. We enjoyed it immensely! A definite bucket list item for me! We intend on returning soon! Thank you to the hard & selfless work the volunteers do for those precious animals. I just wish I lived closer to be a dedicated volunteer myself!
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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