Marsha Reines Perelman, a longtime animal welfare advocate from Wynnewood, has been named the new chairman of the board of the ASPCA.

"Marsha has shown an incredible dedication to animals since joining our Board 10 years ago," said ASPCA president and chief executive Ed Sayres. "She has personally and professionally committed herself to the ASPCA's mission of fighting animal cruelty, and we have no doubt that she will bring that commitment to her new leadership role."

Perelman, a member of Gov. Rendell's Dog Law Advisory Board, said the ASPCA is completing a major refocusing of its efforts in the areas of animal cruelty, animal health and community outreach. She said she looks forward to helping advance the anti-cruelty cause, particularly dog fighting, puppy mills and farm animal abuse.

"It's an extremely exciting time to be there," she said. "We've grown in size and increased our focus. I think we can be much more effective."

Since 2006, Perelman has led the ASPCA's efforts to combat conditions in Pennsylvania's puppy mills culiminating in the passage of the new state dog law last October, which toughens standards and improves conditions for dogs living in commercial kennels.

Perelman has been involved in animal rescue efforts since 1992. She has personally rescued six dogs, including a ten year-old breeding dog from a Pennsylvania puppy mill. Most recently, Perelman helped her daughter rescue a pit bull mix who had spent five months at the Pennsylvania SPCA.

Based in New York City, the ASPCA is the nation's oldest animal welfare advocacy organization.