Ingrid Newkirk
President, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Virginia

John Di Leonardo and Humane Long Island have a terrific reputation as an on-the-ball doer and an on-the-ball doing organization. Any chance to rescue wild fowl or domesticated birds, and they are on their way to do just that. I am delighted that they exist, and so are all the ducks, geese, and other winged beings who need their help.

Having worked with them for years, this is no casual endorsement.

Phil Boyle
President & CEO of Suffolk Regional Off Track Betting & Jake’s 58 Casino Hotel, Former New York State Senator & Assemblymember

Having worked with Humane Long Island on numerous animal welfare issues over the years, I believe there is no stronger and more effective advocate for Long Island’s wildlife than John Di Leonardo.

John is a champion for our four-legged and feathered neighbors who serves as the conscience of our community in teaching us the proper ways to treat and protect these beautiful creatures.

Adison Smith
Co-Founder, Wasatch Wanderers

For months after I found out that Highland Park District was going to kill dozens of domestic ducks abandoned at Highland Glen Park, I was frustrated and spinning my wheels.

However, after coaching from John, I launched a campaign that immediately garnered press attention and a meeting with the City Council. Not only did the Mayor agree to cancel plans to kill the ducks, but he agreed to erect educational signage to prevent future dumpings and to work with my organization to ensure ducks would never be killed in Highland City again.

Meghan Bambrick
Wildlife Advocate, East Hampton, New York

For decades, the East Hampton Nature Trail had been a dumping ground for unwanted domestic ducks and geese. Some of them showed obvious signs of abuse, sporting broken bones, respiratory infections, developmental defects, and other maladies. It was rare for them to survive past a few months.

Once John and his volunteers were made aware of this ongoing issue, they stopped at nothing to prevent further loss of life. The Duck Defender project helped rescue and rehome over two dozen domestic waterfowl from the Nature Trail and its surrounding waterways, but they didn’t stop there: Through their diplomatic education of the public, the unending cycle of animal abandonment has finally been broken. This project has made East Hampton a more beautiful, and more compassionate, place to live.

Tracy Reiman
Executive Vice President, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), California

John is dedicated, organized, and an absolutely relentless campaigner. He will leave no stone unturned, will keep pressuring until he wins. His organization is incredibly effective having won countless victories for animals. He is an animal rescue extraordinaire, going above and beyond to make sure every chicken, duck, goose, or any animal in need, gets out of harm’s way. He is also one of the nicest people I know, and his endless optimism and enthusiasm will no doubt continue to help him succeed as an animal defender.

John Hargrove
Former Senior Killer Whale Trainer for SeaWorld, Star of documentary Blackfish, and author of the New York Times' bestselling memoir Beneath the Surface, Florida

As a former Senior Killer Whale Trainer, I know intimately how marine parks sexually abuse dolphins and whales to fuel their greed, however, it wasn’t until a conversation with John that I learned how the farming industry has abused the reproductive systems of chickens and ducks to force them into laying so many eggs that it’s killing them. I’ve stopped eating eggs as a result.

I’m an avid follower of Humane Long Island and its Duck Defenders project and am astonished at how many ducks John has been able to save while also successfully working to stop SeaWorld’s sordid orca breeding program.

Fern Levitt
Director of award-winning film Sled DogsOntario

I am the director of the feature documentary “Sled Dogs” the first film which exposed the behind the scenes abuse of dogs at both the Iditarod and the sled dog industry throughout North America.

I worked with John for several years in our mutual goal to end the Iditarod, the 1,000-mile race in Alaska where over 150 dogs have died while racing.

John accomplished the impossible through his relentless work and sheer determination.  John was able to have ALL the major sponsors for the first time in the Iditarod history, drop their sponsorship. Major sponsors such as, Coca-Cola, Alaskan Airlines, Exxon Mobile, Millennium Hotels and so many more are no longer sponsoring the Iditarod which led to a major loss of revenue for the race.

The Iditarod has forced dogs to race over 1,000 miles for over 50 years. It is because of John Di Leonardo that this race is finally coming to an end.

Lisa Levinson
Director, In Defense of Animal, California

Our National Goose Protection Coalition is thrilled to present our prestigious Golden Goose award to Humane Long Island and its Duck Defenders project for its successful efforts to resolve conflicts with geese humanely, with a focus on nonlethal methods and on working cooperatively with decision-makers to ensure the safety of geese and other animals in the region.

John Di Leonardo is the driving force behind Duck Defenders, and we’re delighted that he has accepted the Golden Goose Award for the organization.

Nicole Arciello
Co-Founder, Horseracing Wrongs, Albany, New York

When a group of protestors spotted sick and injured domestic ducks in a pond at the notorious Belmont Racetrack, John waded into the pond and got them the medical care and placement they so desperately needed. 

When I later came upon three starving Pekin ducks during a morning jog, I knew John would know what to do. He walked me through their rescue and now these three birds, one who is special needs, are safe in sanctuary.

Christine Miceli
Waterfowl Rehabilitator, Islip, New York

Not only did John and Juliana eliminate animal circuses in my hometown, but they’ve saved countless waterfowl, stopping a live poultry slaughterhouse from opening on Beaver Dam Road, ending Islip school district’s cruel tradition of rounding up and killing Canada geese year after year, and rescuing more than 40 domestic ducks from cruelty only minutes from my house.

I’m proud to be a foster for Humane Long Island’s Duck Defenders project and a parent to several ducks, some with unique needs due to their neglect and abandonment. Thanks to the perseverance of John and Juliana they now have happy lives. 

Ashley Keith
Founder, Humane Mushing, Colorado

As an Iditarod handler turned whistleblower, I met John working together to stop the sponsors of the Iditarod from funding the deadly dog race. A few short years later, the Iditarod was a half million dollars poorer and I was infinitely wealthier in my knowledge of ducks!

When I stumbled upon a flock of domestic ducks abandoned on a lake, I immediately recognized that they needed help. Thanks to advice from him and his wife Juliana, these two boys are now safe in my loving home.

Virginia Frati
Executive Director, Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center, Hampton Bays, New York

I have worked with John for quite a few years, referring cases of injured domestic animals to him, and even asking for his help in rescuing injured wild animals to bring to our wildlife hospital. He helped our organization when someone shot a deer right outside our wildlife hospital and we subsequently lobbied to get hunting stopped on the property next door. He has always been a well-spoken and professional advocate for animals, and he works hard to right the many wrongs that animals face in our world.   

Mary Telfer
President, Alliance for Animals, Wisconsin

As the former executive director of Alliance for Animals, WI, and now the president of the board, I have worked with John on projects helping everyone from elephants to geese. There is no one else like him when it comes to knowledge about how to best help animals.

John has sent me resources, given me ideas, and spent hours on the phone brainstorming and walking me through campaign strategy. He is enthusiastic and goes the extra mile.

John gets things done and he is my #1 go-to person when I am at the end of my rope with an animal-related situation. He taught me that when you think you’ve tried everything and nothing has worked, don’t give up; A strong strategy can win any campaign. And he has proved it with all of his successes! 

Jenny McQueen
Toronto Animal Activist, Ontario

When John read an article in the Toronto Star about two domestic ducks abandoned near Tommy Thompson Park, he recruited me to help save them from certain death. Not only are these ducks now safe in sanctuary, but the Toronto Star covered their rescue, urging the public not to buy and abandon them in the first place!

I’ve since rescued more feathered friends, and really appreciate John’s initial advice.

Patricia Deshong
Executive Director, Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation, Hampton Bays

On behalf of the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation, I want to express our staunch support for John DiLeonardo’s deep commitment to protect animals at any cost. He has rescued and saved many animals for us and countless for our community.

As an open admissions shelter, we have often faced the challenge of taking in chickens and roosters which are very difficult to place. John, President of Humane Long Island, has always been there for our organization when asked, and even personally renovated our enclosure to provide more comfort and protection for our feathered guests.

He has directly transported and placed several roosters for us in sanctuaries that specialize in fowl, giving us peace of mind knowing they are able to live out their lives in a safe environment dedicated to their species.

Finally, I want to commend John for being an outspoken advocate for all animals and for assisting other organizations facing challenges. He is not intimidated by the opposition and is always ready to demonstrate his support.

As the Executive Director of one of those organizations, I want to thank him for his friendship and express my gratitude for his support of SASF.

Dr. Rob Teti, DVM
Founder, Chenoa Manor - Animal Sanctuary and Learning Center; Owner, Avanti Veterinary Services

Over the last several years, I have had the pleasure of working directly with Humane Long Island as well as many of Humane Long Island’s team, including John and Juliana Di Leonardo.

The amazing energy that Humane Long Island puts into their work is admirable & inspiring; from their programs fighting non-human animal exploitation to the calls that they answer that involve rounding up “dumped” domestic waterfowl. The scope of their work reaches a national audience, and it involves selflessness, compassion and advocating for those in need.

As unfortunate as the situations are that require their attention, Humane Long Island works tirelessly in their advocacy for the most vulnerable members of our society. It is always a pleasure to work with them. 

Audrey Hampton
Former Spokesperson, Suffolk County Police Department, Former News Anchor/Field Reporter at WLNY-TV 10/55 News, Huntington, New York

I could not possibly recommend Humane Long Island and its founder John Di Leonardo more.

While on a walk I stumbled upon my school district draining a sump that I knew was filled with tens of thousands of bullfrogs and goldfish, I knew I needed help and it needed to be fast before the animals perished. I made numerous calls that morning to animal rescue organizations and agencies to get help, but my calls were not getting the attention they deserved.

After I posted online on a Long Island forum someone contacted John Di Leonardo of Humane Long Island who then contacted me personally to help. John immediately asked me to put him on the phone with the superintendent on site. In minutes, the project was halted, and the school district agreed to turn the disaster into a teachable moment for their students, working with Humane Long Island to rescue and relocate the remaining animals.

For the next five days, John was there, literally, from dawn to dusk before anyone else, working on rescuing and relocating the tens of thousands of minnows, tadpoles, bullfrogs and goldfish inside that murky sump. Humane Long Island even funded the nets, large bins for the capture and release and water oxygenators to keep the creatures alive throughout the rescue. John showed up daily in his waders often wading waist-deep in the muck to save every animal he could find. I recall thinking and discussing with others at the rescue site how truly one of a kind this human is to care as much as he did.

When the rescue was complete, John was instrumental in educating our community about the value of every animal in South Huntington by speaking to the press and garnering a commitment from the school district to not only help fish and amphibians in the future, but birds too. John was able to get a commitment of the district to only use humane geese management techniques to keep their property free of geese. 

I really admire John’s abundant knowledge and commitment to the well-being of all animals.

Beth Rudetsky
Musician & wildlife advocate who exposed USDA round-up of geese at Milburn Pond, Baldwin, New York

I consider John and Juliana to be the leading advocates for the rights of wildlife, domestic birds, and other animals to live their lives free from human destruction. John and Juliana are not just advocates for the rights of these sentient beings to live freely in their habitats but make themselves and their team easily available to reach out to when in need. They are constantly physically active in saving all wildlife and animals from harm and rescuing them when they are injured, or in danger. John is also a brilliant educator about our birds and other wildlife, and I learn something new and vital about these wonderful beings from him all the time.

When I saw someone abandoning two domestic ducklings at Halls Pond in West Hempstead, John and Juliana rushed to the spot at a moment's notice and not only detained the suspects until the police arrived but rehabilitated the sickly birds and found them a permanent home. 

I am very thankful that as a professional musician who finds joy and peace in my love of birds and hanging out with them at parks and ponds, that I have the opportunity to increase my knowledge, awareness and learning more and more about their precious lives because of John, Juliana and their humane organization.

Recent responses