Who We Are

Ruth Steinberger, Founder

Ruth Steinberger, Founder of Spay First!, is a highly-respected animal advocate who has devoted her career to expanding the network of professional and grass roots organizations that partner to assist at-risk animals through prevention (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 around the state and throughout the country.

Before becoming a Founder of Spay First! she was a founding board member of SPAY Oklahoma, the first high-volume, low-income spay/neuter clinic in Oklahoma. She remains Outreach Coordinator for Spay Oklahoma and has served as the Development Director for Oklahoma Spay Network and as Director of Outreach for the Oklahoma Alliance for Animals.

Ms. Steinberger has created innumerable programs unique to the communities she serves. One remarkable program she developed was in association with the tribal health office of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. Working together to establish a spay/neuter program tailored to the needs of reservation populations, nearly 7,000 surgeries later, this program is recognized as a national model for serving areas facing chronic poverty.

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 in conjunction with the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association. In addition, Ms. Steinberger has worked with Oklahoma State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners investigator Dale Fullerton and Carey Floyd, D.V.M. to develop the first continuing education anti-cruelty classes for Oklahoma peace officers. This class is now provided by the state law enforcement training agency wherein officers learn investigative veterinary forensic techniques and the link between animal targeted violence and the progression to violence against humans.

Ms. Steinberger is a much sought-after speaker. 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 in the spay/neuter field including the 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 and was recently awarded an honorary lifetime membership in the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association.

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