Together. For life.
At The Arizona Pet Project, our primary goal is preventing pet homelessness by keeping families with pets together. We do so by providing affordable services, resources, and support through shelter prevention programs such as free spay and neuter and shelter intervention.
Oftentimes, people surrender pets to shelters due to a lack of financial resources tied to a sudden change in circumstances. 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 afford expensive veterinary bills and keep a roof over their head or food on the table, forcing them to make tough decisions. Surrendering a pet to a shelter where they are frequently euthanized is a tragedy we work to prevent.
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 should be available to all. It is often those who greatly benefit from the human-animal bond they share with their pets – in some cases they may be the only family these individuals have, who need our assistance the most. With the help of our caring community, we support families and save pets.
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 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 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, newsletters, campaign materials, social media content 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. 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.
As Development Specialist, Victoria Cowper is responsible for the planning and execution of the organization’s two signature events (the HERO Awards and SNIFF), both of which play a key role in ensuring The Arizona Pet Project’s programs are able to meet the growing needs of the community.
Victoria joins us with over 19 years in animal welfare with the Western Arizona Humane Society and Foothills Animal Rescue.
“Taking care of the two-legged who take care of the four-legged, is critical. The opportunity to provide support to people and pets, on a variety of levels, all designed to keep dogs and cats in their homes, is the ultimate reward.”
In her spare time, Victoria volunteers with Navigator Buddies at the Phoenix Airport (and was part of their inaugural class), HOPE, Animal Assistance Crisis Response, and Gabriel’s Angels. She also enjoys spending time with her two rescue pups, Nana (a former HERO award recipient) and Charlie Brown.
Board of Directors
Heather Iorillo Copy
Pictured from left to right: Britta Kelly, Leanna Taylor, Cindy Gandara, Chris Wahl, Karin Royle, Kristofer Royer, Morgane Bedaw, Steve Zeidman, Rashell Cooper, Bruce Haseley, Heather lorillo, Alanna Brook, Nikki Butler, Megan Conner, Tamara Reddy.
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.