Mission ~ Who We Are



APET-SPCA’s mission is to reduce populations of unwanted dogs and cats, and to diligently work toward the goal of reducing animal cruelty, including neglect and abandonment. APET-SPCA provides an animal shelter for strays and reduces population by spaying and neutering all animals prior to adoptions. Also, we recognize the importance of public outreach programs and education to foster a public sentiment of responsible pet ownership. APET-SPCA also seeks to expand its SPCA-type shelter in our area to provide refuge and adoption options for a multitude of homeless dogs and cats. Our mission will be ongoing as we strive to broaden our area of impact.


2021 GOALS

* Increase number of animals saved and rehomed in Wood County.

* Gain a partnership to promote and offer low-cost spay and neuter to the community.

* Conduct educational programs/projects and speak to various area organizations.

* Obtain grants and increase membership to continue our work of keeping animals in a safe and healthy environment.

Please volunteer, donate, and/or get involved. Join us in our mission to succeed! 


Founded in September 2003, APET-SPCA is a duly certified 501© (3) non-profit Texas corporation that has relied on private funding to operate the animal care center.  APET-SPCA serves all of Wood County, but is located in Mineola, Texas.

Wood County has one of the highest rates of abandoned dogs and cats in Texas. Currently, there is a need to shelter these animals until they can be rehabilitated and placed into loving homes through adoption, or be transferred to a partner rescue or shelter.

We at APET-SPCA, believe that through neutering not only the abandoned animals, but also privately owned animals, the number of unwanted/abandoned animals in the area is greatly reduced. To meet the demand and reduce cost, APET-SPCA will continue to search for grants, give presentations to various groups, and hold fundraising events.

APET-SPCA provides awareness to East Texas of the ongoing problem of animal overpopulation. Local government funds from Wood County commissioners, and the cities of Hawkins, Mineola, Winnsboro and Yantis support APET-SPCA’s low-cost animal health programs and animal shelter.  All other funds come in the form of donations from national foundations, grants, local organizations, citizens and animal lovers.


 Currently there are seven directors who serve on the APET-SPCA Board. They are as follow:

CJ Thatcher, Board President

CJ grew up in the DFW mid-cities, went to college in Nacogdoches, and moved to Wood County in 1986. Since then, she has lived in Mineola, Lindale and Winnsboro. After working for KMOO Radio and the Mineola Monitor, she became a teacher at Mineola ISD in 1988. She later left MISD to become a secondary principal at Yantis ISD, and most recently at Hawkins ISD. CJ has loved animals of all kinds her whole life, and joined APET in 2005. She served as Board Secretary for many years and currently serves as Board President. When she isn't working at the thrift store or animal shelter, she is actively rescuing and fostering dogs and cats in need. CJ shares her home with several dogs and cats. 

Tim Cagle, Board Treasurer

Tim and his wife Glenda moved to Mineola from Dallas in 1980. He formerly worked as an auto mechanic at the Porsche dealership in Richardson, Texas. He graduated from UT Tyler in 1986 with a BA in computer science. Tim worked at several jobs in information technology and software programming at various firms in the East Texas area before retiring in 2013. He and Glenda enjoy caring for a sixteen year old Dachshund named Maggie they raised from a puppy when they were first experiencing being empty nesters. Tim joined the APET board in 2016. He believes people of all ages can benefit from the opportunity to care for and interact with our deserving animals.

Roberta Edwards, Board Secretary

In 2017, Roberta and her husband Mark moved permanently to East Texas from the DFW area after regular weekend visits to their property which they have owned for 30+ years. East Texas with all its beauty and hospitality has always been their target for retirement. Roberta has worked for the same company, Bank of America for 40 years. Once settled in to their new home, Roberta went to the APET Shelter to look for opportunities to become a volunteer in her local community. After supporting local adoption events,  she was approached to join the Board as a member, which she gladly accepted  Her love for all animals goes far back to her roots in Georgia, 45+ years, where her Mom and Dad rescued feral cats, had them neutered or spayed and either adopted them, or if too wild, released them back where they found them. After moving to Texas, she continued on with their legacy by supporting local rescue groups in the DFW area in pet adoption events, clear the shelter events and transporting animals from local shelters to rescue /foster groups within the state. Her passion is and will always be protecting all God's animals.

Deonna Bishopp, Director

Deonna and her husband David and their 12-year-old Shih Tzu, Cullen, moved to East Texas in July 2019. Both retired from their jobs in Dallas and thought they'd like to live near friends who had recently built a home in the country near Winnsboro. They thought is would be a wonderful, slower-paced life. Having retired from a legal career that spanned decades, Deonna accepted the position of Library Director at Gilbreath Memorial Library in Winnsboro. She says it has been an amazing career move. She and her husband have always fed strays in their neighborhood, but they were surprised at how many stray cats actually live at or visit the apartment complex for meals where they live. Supporting the local shelters and caring for animals is but one of their life missions. Deonna remembers the lyric of an old Carpenters song, "bless the beasts and the children, for in this world they have no voice; they have no choice." She says it really speaks truth to her heart. Deonna became aware of APET-SPCA it opened the Top Dog Thrift Store in downtown Winnsboro and loves that the proceeds from the sales support the shelter animals of Wood County. Deonna and David are parents to five adult children. Over the years they have also raised so many animals! They plan to build their retirement home in Wood County and have chickens, a donkey, and lots barn cats. Deonna is passionate about finding ways to serve both humans and animals. Knowing there is a huge need to provide help for so many homeless animals, Deonna is looking forward to serving APET and its mission!

Cyndie Ewert, Director

Cyndie spent 30+ years as an HR professional in Dallas. In 2011, she and her husband, Mike, built their retirement home on their property in Winnsboro when her husband retired from a meat market career at Tom Thumb. Cyndie continued to commute to Dallas working full-time until 2018. She then moved to East Texas full time in July of 2018 and joined Priefert, an ETX company, in January of 2019 to help move the company forward.  She retired again in March of 2020. Cyndie is a lifelong advocate for animals. At one point thinking she would become a veterinarian, she focused on nursing while in college. All of her pets, from childhood until now, have been rescues. Currently, she has three 75+ pound dogs that keep her busy on the property along with her goat, Henrietta, and her donkey, Jenny (not to mention numerous chickens). She has true compassion for all animals. Cyndie also serves on the Board of Directors for Winnsboro Center for the Arts and First United Methodist Church in Winnsboro. 

Liesse Langlois, Director

Liesse and her husband Jerry "retired" to Wood County in 2007, two years after Hurricane Katrina changed their lives forever. Sick of hurricanes, Jerry decided it was time to throw in the towel on their beloved Louisiana home and move to Northeast Texas, where they could spend most of their retirement fishing!  Although Liesse is not yet retired like her husband, she finds time to fulfill her goals of pursuing art, and volunteering.  A meeting with CJ, in which she complained of the number of dumped animals on her county road, led to her volunteering time with APET and to joining the board in 2019.  A lifelong animal lover and advocate for pets and for wildlife, Liesse is the proud mom of 5 pets currently- two dogs, Rocky and Rosie, and three cats, Buck, Thumper and Rustus. All of her pets were dumped on her county road, except for Rocky, who was dumped at Lake Winnsboro and found by Jerry. It is Liesse's personal goal to help Wood County drastically reduce the number of unwanted, neglected and abandoned animals.

Dyane Vaughn, Director

Dyane and her husband, Dudley, moved to Yantis from Arizona in 2018 due to Dudley’s employment transfer and their desire to be near their only child who lives in Frisco. After 40+ years as a legal assistant, Dyane chose to retire and pursue the things she had always hoped to find time to do. Dyane has been a board member since 2019. In a chance meeting with CJ, she mentioned her desire to volunteer with animals and now serves on the board after a few months of volunteering.  Dyane is proud that her current pets, 4 dogs and 2 cats, are all rescues. She has also been a parent to three  parrots and two cockatiels.

Denise Zasowski, Director

Denise worked as an educational IT manager in the Houston area for 20+ years. However, the Lake Country of East Texas captured her heart while visiting in 1989.  After purchasing property on Lake Fork in 1994, Denise and her husband, Bruce spent every other weekend in Wood County.  They spent seven years building a log home, then moved to Wood County permanently in 2008. Many weekends they would arrive and find stray or dumped dogs on their property. Denise could not abandon those dogs, so she enlisted the help of many locals and contacts in the Houston area to rehome the strays. After moving here permanently, Denise and Bruce started keeping the strays, and at one time had 15 dogs on their property. Currently they have five dogs and three cats that have all wandered up to their door. Denise became aware of APET-SPCA while looking for a home for two adult dogs with a litter of 6 puppies. She joined the APET-SPCA Board in 2019, and continues to look out for stray dogs and cats while driving the roads of Wood County.