Who We Are

Ruth Steinberger, CEO and Founder

ruth-steinbergerRuth Steinberger, Founder and co-CEO of Spay First!, is an animal advocate with over two decades in the field. She has devoted her career to expanding the network of professional and grass roots organizations that partner to assist at-risk animals through spay/neuter, education, and legal protection.

Ms. Steinberger has coordinated rural pet sterilization programs since 1993 when she launched her first program in the Appalachian region of southwestern Virginia. She moved to Oklahoma in 1999 to make her home in an area with no existing low-income spay/neuter programs. Since her move, she has expanded her network by working daily with non-profit organizations, veterinarians and dedicated volunteers to start new spay/neuter programs in low-income regions.

Ms. Steinberger creates programs unique to challenged communities, typically ones with no veterinary services nearby.  A spay/neuter program she developed in association with the tribal health office of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe (Sicangu Lakota) is recognized as a model for serving impoverished areas; between 2003 and 2010 over 6000 animals were spayed or neutered there.

Understanding that education is vital to helping at-risk animals, Ms. Steinberger has assisted in coordinating accredited seminars on early age spay/neuter for veterinarians and she has worked with Oklahoma State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners investigator Dale Fullerton and Carey Floyd, D.V.M. to develop continuing education anti-cruelty classes for Oklahoma peace officers. This class focuses on investigative veterinary forensic techniques and the link between violence toward animals and the progression to violence against humans.

Ms. Steinberger presented at the First International Symposium on Dog Population Management (sponsored by World Health Organization) in the UK in 2012 and at the Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine she presented a paper on pet overpopulation as a public health issue and the role of the private veterinary practitioner in the resolution of this crisis. She has been featured at many national conferences including all Spay U.S.A. Southern Regional Leadership conferences from 2003 through 2009, the 2011 Best Friends Animal Society’s No More Homeless Pets Conference, the 2007 Humane Society of the United States’ Expo and the 2011 Spay/Neuter Leadership Retreat.

An esteemed animal advocate, spay/neuter expert, and activist/journalist, Ms. Steinberger has received recognition throughout her career. She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her outstanding work. Board member Dr Charles Helwig, advisory board member Billy Clay, DVM, and Ruth received the 2013 OVMA Presidents Choice Award for their outstanding research on nonsurgical techniques of animal contraception. She was awarded the 2006 ASPCA’s prestigious Henry Bergh Award for animal activism. The noted publication, Veterinary Practice News, featured the low-income service model Ms. Steinberger developed, called “In-Clinic Clinics,” in its March, 2007 issue. Ms. Steinberger’s journalistic talents earned her being honored as Journalist of the Year by the Lakota Journal.

Always an active volunteer, Ms. Steinberger is an Advisory Board Member and Legislative Chair with the Oklahoma Humane Federation. She was awarded an honorary lifetime membership in the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association in 2012.

Ms. Steinberger is proud to work with new communities everyday to help create effective programs to prevent animal suffering.