our staff

Ruth Steinberger

Executive Director and Founder

Ruth Steinberger, founder and Executive Director 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 Virginia. She moved to Oklahoma in 1999 to make her home in an area with no existing low-income spay/neuter programs and has worked daily with non-profit organizations, veterinarians and dedicated volunteers to bring spay/neuter programs to challenged communities.

A program she developed in association with the  Rosebud Sioux Tribe (Sicangu Lakota) serves as a model for preventing litters in impoverished areas.

Understanding that education is vital to helping at-risk animals, Ms. Steinberger coordinated accredited seminars for veterinarians and Oklahoma peace officers.

Ms. Steinberger presented at the First International Symposium on Dog Population Management (sponsored by World Health Organization) in the UK in 2012.  In addition to regional conferences Ruth has been featured at national conferences including all Spay U.S.A. Southern Leadership conferences from 2003 through 2009, the 2011 through 2013 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 and activist/journalist, Ms. Steinberger has received recognition for her outstanding work. Board members Dr Charles Helwig and Billy Clay, DVM, and Ruth received the 2013 OVMA Presidents Choice Award for their outstanding research on nonsurgical techniques of animal fertility control. Ruth was awarded the 2006 ASPCA’s prestigious Henry Bergh Award for animal activism.  Ms. Steinberger’s journalistic talents in covering issues in minority communities earned her being honored as 2002 Journalist of the Year by the Lakota Journal.

She was awarded an honorary lifetime membership in the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association in 2012.

Ms. Steinberger is proud to work with professionals, researchers and new communities everyday to create effective programs to prevent animal suffering.


Jeff Kemp, PhD

Chief Scientific Officer

Jeff Kemp is originally from St. Louis MO and graduated from Colorado State University (CSU) with a PhD in Biomedical Science in 2011. Jeff has over 12 years of experience working with government and private organizations within the animal vaccine industry.

While at CSU, Jeff worked at the National Wildlife Research Center, USDA as a Molecular Biologist, with an objective in helping to further develop non-lethal tools to assist with overabundant wildlife and feral animal management.

Jeff later took a position with Colorado Serum Company in 2011 as a Senior R&D Scientist.  He then went on to work with Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health in 2013 as the Quality Control Immunology Group Leader.

Jeff now resides in Fort Collins, CO with his wife and two daughters and enjoys being outdoors, preferably on his bicycle.