Meet Our Board of Directors


Deb Bagley
President & Director 

Career – Hospice Nurse for Middlesex Hospital for over 19 years

Started the Cat Tales organization in 1999 from her passion of rescuing cats since the age of five.  I have hand raised hundreds of kittens and puppies over the years and completed 4 years of vocational agriculture as a youth.  In the years before Cat Tales I gained more experience working part time for two years as a veterinarian technician at a cat only clinic.

I married my soul mate Michael, who for the over 24 years has supported me and believed in me while my vision of Cat Tales became a reality.  We currently live with 18 cats (most of them special needs) and enjoy camping in our motor home (when we get a chance to get away).


Deb Collins
Vice President (Board Member since 2010)

Career – Retired – Program Mgr & Dept of Correction Liaison for State of CT, DCF

Cat Tales volunteer since 2001 – oversees shelter medications, food, supplies as well as volunteering weekly.

I am involved with the Middlesex Habitat for Humanity – Board member, secretary and current chair of the Family Selection committee.  In addition I am a member of South Congregational Church and a former Deacon and Co-chair.  I currently have four adopted cats from Cat Tales.


Becky Czlapinski
Secretary (Board Member since 2013)

Career – Director of Research & Development for the Pain Research, Informatics, Multimorbidities, Education (PRIME) Center at VA Connecticut Healthcare System.

Cat Tales volunteer since 2010 – Oversees TNR program, assists in special event planning, website updating, and grant writing.  I have one rescue dog and three rescue cats at home – with one of them being adopted from Cat Tales.  I have always loved animals since I was little and wanted to help the less fortunate cats that have been abandoned or even worse, neglected and abused.  I love to go horse backing riding and I am learning how to play golf.


Mark Russak DVM, CVJ
Board Member (Board Member since 2014)

Career – American Animal Hospital Association, Past President, National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, American Society of Veterinary Journalists Certified, and Retired Veterinarian- live in Berlin, CT.

I am widowed with 2 Children and 3 grandchildren.  I have only one pet currently due to vigorous travel schedule.

I have owned a companion animal practice in Berlin CT for 25 Years and taught at the Veterinary College at Mississippi State University for 7 years. In addition, I am a National and international Veterinary Speaker.

Greg Simpson
Board Member (Board Member since 2017)

Career – Regional Network Manager for western CT – Beacon Health Options (Connecticut Behavioral Health Partnership)

Cat Tales volunteer since 2016.

Cats are my passion, having had as many as eight at a time – all rescues. I have been on animal welfare boards since the 1980’s, with a specialty in volunteer management. In 2005, I was selected as one of 40 Ultimate Cat Lovers in the U.S. by CAT FANCY magazine and am a long-time member and award winning columnist of The Cat Writers’ Association.

Amy Velasquez
Board Member (Board Member since 2017)

Career – Environmental Compliance Analyst for Regional Water Authority in New Haven

Cat Tales Volunteer since 2000 – foster mom, bottle/can redemption, spaghetti dinner coordinator

I have four rescues at home (two from Cat Tales) in addition to six foster cats. The cats take up a lot of my time and I’m very lucky that my husband is super supportive. I also like to garden and trying new restaurants.