Together. For life.
At The Arizona Pet Project, our primary goal is preventing pet homelessness by keeping families with pets together. Oftentimes, pet owners can’t afford to care for their animals and they surrender them at shelters. The reasons are many—owners may have lost their jobs or their homes, suffered an illness, or had a divorce or death in the family. Or their pet may have gotten sick and they can’t pay the veterinary bills.
Surrendering a pet to a shelter where they are frequently euthanized is a tragedy we want to avoid. We’re here to support families by keeping their pets healthy and safe. Animals bring comfort, joy, healing and health, and we believe those benefits shouldn’t be restricted to a very small percentage of owners who can afford the best care and resources pets deserve.
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.
Community Engagement Coordinator
Michele Soto is responsible for community engagement, event planning and volunteer coordination, along with day-to-day operations for The Arizona Pet Project.
“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 ten years 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 her spare time, Michele enjoys reading and spending time with her family and pets, including her three cats (Henry, Edgar, Tyrion), and dog (Walt).
Shelter Intervention Counselor
As the professional responsible for implementing various interventions to keep families and their pets together, Daniel Gonzalez brings a wealth of experience and compassion to the shelter intervention program within Maricopa County Animal Care & Control’s West facility.
“Developing a program to save pet lives and keep families together has been an incredibly valuable experience. Being able to empower people and communities is a reward in itself.”
Prior to joining The Arizona Pet Project in 2017, Daniel was in social work and human services management. He stays busy volunteering, spending time with his three children and three dogs, and running his own nonprofit, which assists veterans.
Communication & Development Specialist
Jessica is responsible for creating and coordinating annual reports, newsletters, campaign materials, and digital communications for The Arizona Pet Project in addition to strengthening individual donor relationships with our generous supporters.
“Keeping pets in their homes and out of the shelter system is something that truly inspires me to get out of bed every morning. I feel very passionately preventive programs are critical to saving the lives of pets in our community, and it is an honor to build relationships and connect with friends of The Arizona Pet Project who believe in this cause as well.”
Jessica has worked in animal welfare for nine years with both the Arizona Humane Society and AAWL, before founding AZK9, a grassroots nonprofit organization. She joined our team in August of 2017 as our Communication & Development Specialist. Jessica spends her free time with her husband, Ben, and their two dogs Sheba and Sir, hiking local trails or enjoying their favorite restaurants in town.
Board of Directors
Pictured from left to right: Jana Wilcke, Annie DeGraw, Rashell Cooper, Steve Zeidman, Heather Iorillo, Mark Hilliard, Alanna Brook, Michela Belluso Davidson, Lori VanOteghem, Cindy Gandara, Bruce Haseley and Leanna Taylor.
Photo courtesy of Bruce Haseley Photography Brucehaseleyphotography.com
It’s been a banner year, and it’s all been thanks to you! Together, we’re celebrating our 15th year in existence and our 10th year in shelter prevention for our spay and neuter services. Download our most recent annual report to see how your generous support has helped us reach our goals.