Board of Directors

Jenny Fitzer – Program Director:

Jenny has been involved in animal rescue since 2007. Jenny founded Leech Lake Legacy in May 2011. Jenny was actively involved with Red Lake Rosie's Rescue (a rescue founded by Karen Good to help the animals at Red Lake Reservation) in 2009-2010 and organized six Red Lake spay/neuter clinics over the course of two years.

Jenny plans and coordinates our spay/neuter clinics, wellness clinics, and surrender events. She also coordinates the weekly transports of dogs and cats from Leech Lake, Red Lake, and White Earth reservations, as well as surrounding communities.

Jenny's best friend is a large yellow Labrador named Idgie.

Philip Henrichs, Jr. - President:

Philip has been an avid animal lover since childhood. He has been an Animal Humane Society volunteer since 2011 (rabbit Pawfiler™ and small animal foster). Philip learned about Leech Lake Legacy after seeing the request for spay/neuter clinic volunteers in an AHS newsletter. He volunteered at a LLL spay/neuter clinic in October 2013, and was immediately hooked by the spirit of collaboration between LLL and Leech Lake Reservation residents in helping animals.

Philip’s day job is in analytics. Additionally, he has been certified by Hennepin County as a Community Recycling Ambassador and serves as an Election Judge for the city of Brooklyn Center.

Philip makes his home in Brooklyn Center with 4 cats (Mia, Lyle, Josh & Annabelle), 3 birds and many fish.

Craig Berdan – Treasurer:

Craig has been an Animal Humane Society volunteer since 2002 (dog adoption, canine adoption preparation, foster, and volunteer mentor) until the COVID-19 pandemic.. Craig made the connection with Leech Lake Legacy after fostering a litter of puppies that came to AHS from LLL in the summer of 2013. He volunteered at a LLL spay/neuter clinic and an LLL surrender event in 2013, and after seeing the positive impact LLL has on both animals and people, he made the easy decision to support LLL and its mission.

Craig has worked in corporate treasury for 30+ years. He’s a Certified Management Accountant and a Certified Treasury Professional, and has in the past served as a condominium association treasurer and as a neighborhood association president.

Craig, Mark, and their dog, Leo (a Leech Lake dog) reside in Minnetonka.

Aaron Sawdey - Secretary:

Aaron first got involved in the animal rescue world when his wife Merry brought home a small puppy from Pet Haven. Shortly thereafter, they became dog fosters and have since fostered over 30 dogs. He first volunteered at a Leech Lake Legacy event (a Puppy Roundup) in July2014. Aaron has been volunteering at LLL events ever since, wrangling dogs, trimming nails, pulling quills, fixing broken equipment, and taking lots of photos.

By day Aaron is a Ph.D. Electrical Engineer working for IBM, making sure that the GCC open-source compiler generates fast and correct code for IBM's newest server processors. By night he tinkers with electronics including projects for LLL like the All-weather Automatic Dog Waterer (also cat compatible), the Vaccine Fridge Temperature Monitor, and (coming soon) the Image Recognition Livetrap for clever cats and kittens.

Aaron lives in Cannon Falls with his wife Merry, his son Ian, resident dogs Rex and Geordie, and a steady succession of foster dogs.

Dr. Dani Schwartzman - Director:

Dr. Dani Schwartzman was born and raised in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. She received her bachelor’s degree in Anthropology with a minor in Biology from the University of Minnesota. After graduating college, Dr. Dani moved to Argentina to work at a wildlife rehabilitation facility. She lived in Argentina for 4 years, both helping to rehabilitate wild animals and working as a veterinary assistant at a local vet clinic, before returning to Minnesota to begin veterinary school. Dr. Dani received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from the University of Minnesota in 2014.

Dr. Dani’s professional interests include dermatology, endocrinology, and preventative medicine. She is a member of the AVMA and the MVMA. Dr. Dani is also fluent in Spanish, both spoken and written.

In addition to clinical work, Dr. Dani is passionate about devoting her time and veterinary skills by volunteering. She has spent many hours volunteering to help provide veterinary care to pets living on the reservations in rural Minnesota. Dani met Jenny Fitzer while volunteering at veterinary clinics in Red Lake in 2009. She has been working with Leech Lake Legacy ever since! She spent time in both Central and South America providing free veterinary service to the local animals. She has also volunteered at dog sled races, providing pre-race health checks and being on call for veterinary services as needed. Dr. Dani continues to work with local shelters and rescue groups to provide veterinary care and advice and to help animals in need.

Dani lives in the Twin Cities with her daughter Charlotte, her son Elijah, and their cats Petey and Princess Peach. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, playing pickleball, going to the theater, and being outdoors as much as possible.