Together. For life.

The Arizona Pet Project keeps pets with the people who love and need them most by connecting our vulnerable community members and families in crisis with services and resources to prevent the unnecessary surrender of their beloved companions. We  support families while also reducing the number of dogs and cats in our Valley shelters.

Don’t let our name fool you. While there is no question our work saves the lives of dogs and cats in our community, we are so much more than an animal welfare organization. Our unique approach and revolutionary programs are focused on improving (and saving) the lives of both people and pets in our community.

Anyone who shares their home with four-legged family members will know that pets provide comfort, joy, healing and improved health. We believe those benefits should be available to all. For many of our clients their pets are the only family they have. When you support The Arizona Pet Project you help our community’s most vulnerable residents -including veterans, the elderly, domestic violence victims, and the homeless –with basic care for them and their beloved pets.

Join us in supporting families and saving pets.

Our Vision, Mission and Values

We’ve Been Making History Since 2001.



leanna taylor

Leanna Taylor
Executive Director

Leanna Taylor is responsible for the vision, strategy, marketing and fundraising efforts for The Arizona Pet Project as it works to reduce euthanasia in Valley shelters by supporting pet owners in need.

“Saving lives by focusing on proactive, data-driven programs is my passion. Solving pet homelessness through compassionate care of the entire family, including pets—and most importantly, without judgment—is more rewarding than I could have imagined.”

Leanna took on the role of Executive Director in 2013 after a long and storied career in sports, with a specific focus on increasing revenues and streamlining operations. In her spare time, Leanna spends time with her family, including her son Kieren, their two birds (Delta & Hercules), two dogs (Pippen & Bandit), and foster dog, Du Jour.

Michele Soto

Michele Soto
Operations Manager

Michele Soto oversees The Arizona Pet Project’s spay and neuter program and is responsible for community engagement, event planning, and volunteer coordination, along with day-to-day operations for our organization.

“Working directly with people and pets is my passion. To assist with people who are trying their hardest to solve pet homelessness is not only rewarding, but an honor.”

Michele was in animal welfare for over a decade with both the Arizona Humane Society and AAWL, before transitioning to human services with the Sojourner Center. She returned to her original passion by taking on the role of Administrative Coordinator for The Arizona Pet Project in 2014. In addition, Michele serves as the Training Supervisor for our local RAINN Victim Service Management Team and Safe Helpline staff. In her spare time, Michele enjoys reading and spending time with her family and pets, including her three cats (Henry, Edgar, Tyrion), and dog (Walt).

Catharine Mini
Marketing and Development Specialist

Catharine develops and designs all marketing and communication campaigns and materials for The Arizona Pet Project. She writes the copy shared across our email and direct mail campaigns, social media channels, fundraising marketing materials, and our program success stories. Catharine is responsible for managing our customer relationship management software, website, and accounts receivable.

“Sharing stories is a passion of mine, and my goal is to share the story of how The Arizona Pet Project serves our community by supporting families and saving pets.”

Before joining the team, Catharine spent many years working as a professional blogger and served as a marketing specialist for many clients. She is a graduate of Arizona State University, and she lives in Phoenix with her husband and their dog (Bowie). 

Sarah Grone
Special Events Coordinator

Sarah coordinates and promotes the fundraising events that benefit The Arizona Pet Project that lift up our community as we work together to prevent pet homelessness and support people in need.

“I have seen firsthand the profound impact that keeping people and their pets together have for all involved! Having the opportunity to help our neighbors in need as they navigate challenging circumstances is truly an honor.”

Sarah joins the team after having spent 15 years working within the social services sector spanning roles in crisis social work to leadership and nurturing a love for fundraising. She has made it her personal mission to support those who are changing our communities for the better. Outside of the office, Sarah spends time with her family and their dog (Ollie).

Valerie Kime Trujillo
Shelter Intervention Counselor

Valerie is the newest member of the Team, expanding intervention services to the East Valley to keep families and their pets together. Working hand-in-hand with Lost Our Home Pet Rescue in Tempe, Valerie provides resources to owners in crisis to improve their living situations and reunite them with their pets.

“It’s so important for us to think about the lives of the people behind the pets, and to make sure they are stable so that the animals have the best life possible. I love animals, and helping their people find new resources to make their lives better is a win-win for everyone.”

Although new to the animal welfare world, Valerie has worked in social services for over 30 years in the Valley, managing human service programs for three cities and four non-profits. She loves spending time with her daughter, her friends, and her precious dog (Boots).

Luis Santoyo
Crisis and Shelter Intervention Counselor

Luis is the newest member of the Team, expanding intervention services for the West Valley to keep families and their pets together. Working with the Maricopa County Animal and Control Center, Luis is able to provide services and interventions to families in need.

“There is a need to understand the relationship people have with their pets and the value they have in their lives. Keeping these relationships is important and helping families maintain them is a great thing!”

Although new to the animal welfare world, Luis has experience working in the social work field and working with multiple populations. Luis is currently working on his Masters in Social Work from Grand Canyon University and spends his free time enjoying sports and looking at dog videos.

Board of Directors

Executive Board

Lindsay Fricks

Lindsay Fricks

Chairman of the Board
Megan Conner

Megan Conner

Vice Chair
Allison + Partners

Board Members

Leah Ellsworth

Leah Ellsworth

Keystone Law Firm
Elizabeth Sharp

Elizabeth Sharp

American Outdoor Brands Corporation
Andrea Feeney

Andrea Feeney

Edward Jones
Kyu Utsunomiya

Kyu Utsunomiya

Conceptually Social

Pictured from left to right: Morgane Bedaw, Tracyann Mains, Megan Conner, Leanna Taylor, Leah Ellsworth, Lindsay Fricks and Alanna Brook (emeritus board member.)

Not currently featured: Elizabeth Sharp, Andrea Feeney and Kyu Utsunomiya.