Born and raised on the beautiful coast of California, Dr. Heather Dawn Rally knew at a very young age that two things would always be a fundamental part of her life: the ocean and animals.
As an undergraduate at UC Santa Barbara, Dr. Rally worked as a veterinary technician at a local dog and cat clinic; while the experience motivated her to pursue veterinary medicine, it underscored that a traditional hospital environment would fulfill neither her passion nor potential.
Dr. Rally soon discovered marine mammal and wildlife medicine, fields that allowed her to simultaneously pursue her two chief interests. While earning her veterinary degree at Western University of Health Sciences, Dr. Rally treated a wide variety of marine species, from mammals to coral reefs – and soon came to understand the anthropogenic threats to marine ecosystems around the world.
With her sense of activism awakened, Dr. Rally began engaging in public outreach, undercover operations and documentary film – including Racing Extinction, a new feature from the Academy Award-winning filmmakers of The Cove. The film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2015, relies on covert operations and high-tech gadgetry to highlight the massive rate of species loss due to human activity.
Dr. Rally also works in the Captive Animal Law Enforcement division of the PETA Foundation, where she reviews and advises on cases of abuse and neglect of captive exotic wildlife, including marine mammals, lions, tigers, bears, and elephants in roadside zoos, circuses, and similar exhibits. She travels around the country to assess potential cruelty cases, develop and secure improvements in care, and assist in rescuing and relocating animals to forever homes at reputable sanctuaries.