Meet Sheri

To learn more about Sheri and why she's running, read more about her below.

  • Photo of Sheri

    Experience

    Sheri Soltes is a CEO of a not for profit business that she created over 30 years ago. Prior to that, she was a civil trial attorney and appellate attorney for 8 years. She also served as a Briefing Attorney for the First Court of Appeals, Harris County, Texas.

    Sheri’s legislative experience includes 23 years of working with the Texas State Legislature on accessibility for people living with disabilities.

    In 2018, Sheri joined the Board of Texas Humane Legislation Network, a 43 year old non-partisan organization that works with the Texas Legislature to pass animal anti-cruelty laws such as banning gas chambers in animal shelters.

    Sheri also serves as Vice President for Assistance Dogs International, North America. She chairs the ADI NA Legislative and Advocacy Committee. Her work with ADI, NA includes working with the United States Congress on issues related to accessibility for people with disabilities, particularly those using Service Dogs.

  • Photo for Service Dogs, Inc.

    Public Service

    Sheri gave up a successful law practice to found and lead Service Dogs, Inc.

    Service Dogs, Inc., created in 1988, trains Hearing and Service Dogs for wounded veterans and other disabled Texans free of charge. Through Sheri’s leadership, SDI expanded to provide Courthouse Dogs that help abused children find their voice and testify in court and Crisis Response Canines (Firehouse Dogs) that help first responders and others in the community deal with trauma and stress. Service Dogs, Inc. provides the dogs and training free of charge.

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    Education

    B.A. with high honors, University of Texas Plan II Honors program, 1981
    J.D. with honors, University of Texas School of Law, 1984

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    Roots in the Hill Country

    Sheri moved back to Austin from Houston where she’d been practicing law in 1993. She has lived in the same house in Southwest Travis County Precinct 3 for 25 years.

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    Priorities

    Safe Roads
    First Responder Support
    Clean Water, Air and Lands
    Transparency and Accountability

Sheri gets things done.

Snapshot of article about Sheri's impact on people's lives with her nonprofit, in Real Simple magazine Photo of one of Sheri's clients, in Real Simple magazine
Read about Sheri's impact in Real Simple national magazine.

Through Sheri’s leadership, Service Dogs, Inc. partners with the Texas Juvenile Justice Department in conducting PAWS, the nation’s first and only juvenile prison service dog training program. PAWS teaches youth empathy, responsibility and vocational skill.

Sheri also has been instrumental in placing courthouse dogs with Victims Assistance departments of the Montgomery County District Attorneys’ offices. These dogs comfort children when they are interviewed about abuse and even accompany them to court when they testify. Sheri will be speaking about the courthouse dogs program to the Texas District and County Attorneys Association conference in September 2017.

Sheri has mentored assistance dog programs around the world, including in Australia, Japan, Spain and Chile. She has been a featured speaker at many conferences and institutions in the United States, Spain and Chile.

Her articles on the legal rights of Assistance Dog users have been published by Assistance Dogs International, the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners and Leader Dogs for the Blind.

Snapshot of article about Sheri in Texas Law
Learn about Sheri's business in this Texas Law article.

Sheri's other accomplishments include:

  • Assistance Dogs International:
    • ADI NA, Board of Directors, 2014 - present
    • ADI, Vice President and Conference Chair, 1999 - 2003
  • Austin Police Department – Helped create its Search and Rescue Dog program including donating APD’s first Search and Rescue dog and providing initial training. K9 “Austin” was named “Search and Rescue Dog of the Year” by the American Kennel Club.
  • Chairman’s Commendation from Austin Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities, 2006)
  • Service to Mankind award from Austin Sertoma Club, 2011
  • Member, City of Austin’s Capital Transportation Authority’s Appellate Committee for Paratransit Eligibility, 2012
  • Airport Service Dog Relief Area Consultant – Assisted Texas airports in complying with federal regulation, McAllen and Abiliene municipal airports, 2016
  • Speaker, Texas District and County Attorneys Association Conference, 2017 (scheduled)
  • Snapshot of article about Sheri's nonprofit in Hill Country View magazine
    Read about the mission of Sheri's nonprofit in Hill Country View magazine.
  • TV – In addition to countless interviews and appearances, Sheri created:
    • Café Woof, FOX-TV, Austin (monthly, 2007 – 2008)
    • My Pet, KXAN-TV (NBC), Austin (weekly, 2012 - 2015)
  • In 1999, Sheri created the Mighty Texas Dog Walk as a special event fundraiser for Service Dogs, Inc. It has won six Guinness World Records including “Largest Dog Walk” and “Biggest Fur Ball”.
  • Sheri created the Awesome Accessibility Awards, which recognizes businesses that provide outstanding services to people using assistance dogs, in 2016
  • Printed media:
    • Real Simple, national magazine, 8 page feature, Dec. 2015
    • Hill Country View, local magazine, cover and feature, Feb. 2017