Patty Finch is co-chief executive
OKLAHOMA CITY––Spay FIRST founder Ruth Steinberger has introduced longtime animal welfare executive Patty Finch as co-chief executive officer.
Neither Finch nor Steinberger wrote or suggested a headline about having two heads, but both are known for doing whatever is necessary to attract notice to innovative animal welfare programs.
Finch previously served for nearly seven years as the initial executive director of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, founded in 2007 with support from the Humane Society of the U.S. and the American SPCA.
Finch during an eight-year stint as a public school teacher on the Navajo Nation founded the Kayenta Animal Defense League. From 1985 to 1994 Finch headed the National Association for Humane Education, a division of the Humane Society of the U.S.; served a year as executive director of the Arizona Humane Society; and from 2003 to 2008 was manager of grants and research for PetSmart Charities.
At the Navajo Nation, Finch recalled, “I witnessed first-hand the suffering of free-roaming dogs and the brutal and ineffective ‘round-ups’ done with a nicotine gun at that time. The beloved dog of one of my students, a yellow Lab, collapsed in spasms to die at my feet as I crossed the playground with my fourth graders. His name was Bullet, and he always came to my classroom for afternoon milk and cookies. I’ve never forgotten that horrible day and I am honored beyond words to be joining Ruth Steinberger in her highly effective efforts to serve animals in areas of chronic poverty.”
Steinberger, a former journalist, initiated her first spay/neuter program in the Appalachian region of southwestern Virginia in 1993. Relocating to Oklahoma in 1999, Steinberger developed a similar program in association with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, also known as the Sicangu Lakota, that sterilized more than 6,000 animals between 2003 and 2010.
Steinberger formed Spay FIRST! in 2010. As well as providing spay/neuter service to remote Native American reservation locations in Oklahoma, Spay FIRST! is among the world leaders in developing and field-testing non-surgical contraceptive methods suitable for use in free-roaming dogs and cats.