Gretchen DeWitt

PRESIDENT & DIRECTOR

A full-time resident of Puerto Vallarta, Gretchen formerly owned a San Francisco public relations/special events business for 25 years and was active in fundraising for a number of charities. She is a founding member of the board of directors of Planetree, a national health care resource.

After moving to Puerto Vallarta in 2006, Gretchen co-founded the SPCA-PV and served as its first president. In 2009, she joined the board of directors of PeaceMexico for a three-year term, focusing her fundraising efforts primarily on “Ayuda a los Animales,” the free spay/neuter clinics. In June 2013, Gretchen and Amy Welch, PEACE USA treasurer, founded PEACEAnimals.

Gretchen and her husband, Ned, live in Puerto Vallarta’s Centro, and between them have four children, ten grandchildren, two dogs and six cats, all rescues except for the children and grandchildren.

Email Gretchen

Trisha Aljoe

DIRECTOR

In May of 2016, after twenty-three years as a municipal litigator and city prosecutor for multiple California cities, Trisha moved to Puerto Vallarta with her ten-year-old rescue dog, “Fenway,” and is now a full-time resident.

Trisha has been involved in animal rescue and care since the late 1970s, including managing the Monterey Co. SPCA shelter and as a State Humane Officer investigating animal cruelty and abuse. She also was an animal, wildlife, and marine mammal search and rescuer “first responder,” whose adventures included rappelling down cliffs to save animals, spending two days on horseback to rescue an injured horse, and even swimming with injured dolphins and other marine mammals to get them to shore to receive medical care. Shortly after moving to PV, she became involved with the PurrProject and financed the renovation and expansion of the Purr Ranch nursery building and funded the January 2017’s Isla Cuale free spay and neuter clinic conducted by Pets for Life. Trisha fosters abandoned and/or sick kittens recovered by various rescuers and takes them to be spayed and neutered before they are available for adoption. She currently lives in Gringo Gulch with her dog and a six-month old foster kitten turned adoptee.

As much as she loved the practice of law, Trisha finds great fulfillment and joy in working with animals and being able to give back to her community.

Ken Dahl

DIRECTOR

Ken originates from the San Francisco Bay area, most recently from San Jose, California. In 1986, Ken earned degrees in both Finance and Economics from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Ken enjoyed 19 years working in corporate finance positions in “Silicon Valley,” most recently as Director, Financial Planning and analysis for @Road, a leader in Mobile Resource Management Solutions. Ken has extensive experience in Corporate Financing, Mergers, Acquisitions and Corporate Restructuring efforts.

Ken provides assistance in the areas of education, healthcare and daycare for underprivileged children. He serves as Treasurer for the Robert and Patricia Dahl Family Foundation. Ken is currently General Director of Riviera Ventures S.A. de C.V., a residential developer located in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where he has been a full-time reside since 2007.

Roie Griego

DIRECTOR

Roberta “Roie” Griego originates from Boston but currently lives near Cape Cod, Massachusetts. When health permits, she spends winters in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Roie has dedicated the better part of her life helping animals. In 1996, she and her husband began their more than twenty years of hard work helping animals in Mexico, with special emphasis on spay/neuter clinics. Roie served as co-chair of Amigos de los Animales and was part of the Grupo Ecológico of Mexico. She is a passionate animal person, and although she has a long resumé, one of her proudest accomplishments is having founded Friends of Homeless Animals, Inc. (FOHA). Headquartered in Rhode Island, FOHA is a non-profit 501(c)(3), which covers animal rescue efforts in both the U.S. and Mexico. FOHA rescues approximately 1,200-1,500 dogs each year from high kill shelters all across America. Roie has served this organization as its president since 2007 and considers it her “greatest honor to work hard to help these special animals.”

Amie Kafer

DIRECTOR

Amie Kafer is a psychiatrist working at a public hospital for court-ordered, mentally ill patients in Phoenix, Arizona. Her mother and stepfather, Norma Kafer & James Gordon, are fellow board members of PEACEAnimals.

Amie travels to Bucerias about five times a year and has volunteered at the PEACEAnimals spay/neuter clinics. Originally from Tucson, Amie travelled frequently to Mexico as a child since Tucson is about 45 minutes from the border. These visits instilled her love of Mexico and its culture. Says Amy, “I have watched telenovelas since 2000 to keep and improve my Spanish skills, although I now mostly listen to music in Español. My house is painted with such bright colors that visitors suggest wearing sunglasses inside.

Amie has a menagerie of cats and dogs— Maisy is a Lab mix rescue from a local PetSmart and Tilly is her 13-year-old cat from the pound. Then there’s Gordo, a cat who was found in her mom’s neighborhood, and her inbred weird cat, Brenda, who moved into Amie’s backyard as a kitten. Attempts were made to keep Brenda outside, but her caterwauling at night bothered a neighbor.

Norma F. Kafer and James H. Gordon

DIRECTORS

Norma is a long-time resident of Arizona, graduating from Arizona State in 1966. She holds a Masters (1971) and PhD (1976) from University of Arizona. She enjoyed a fifteen-year career as a psychologist with the Arizona prison system. Now retired, Norma’s interests are gardening and animal rescue. She has one daughter, Amie, a psychiatrist who also sits on the PEACEAnimals Board.

James is a long-time resident of Arizona, although not as long as Norma. He’s a 1962 graduate of Vanderbilt University, and a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries. Presently, he is president of GPW and Associates, an actuarial and management consulting firm. James has two sons.

Clare Leach

DIRECTOR

Clare has two passions in life—helping people and animals. She became a marriage and family therapist after finishing her graduate work at the University of Virginia. Clare owned a private practice in Aspen, Colorado for many years, focusing on addiction, adult children of alcoholics, as well as working with families and couples. She continues to counsel patients one day a week via Skype. She has also worked in animal rescue for many years, with an emphasis on spay/neuter, including raising funds for the launch of a mobile spay/neuter program for the SPCA-PV.

Clare and her husband, Bill, now spend seven months a year at their home in Puerto Vallarta. When she and Bill started coming to Puerto Vallarta in 2001 and saw all the helpless dogs and cats roaming the streets, Clare vowed to help. Says Clare, “Now that dream is coming true.”

Matt Messner and Neil Sechan

DIRECTORS

Matt and Neil have been involved with animal-related organizations for many years, particularly with the Southern Oregon Humane Society (SOHS). Matt served on the board for six years, the last two as treasurer. They have held many fundraisers at their home for the SOHS, raising more than $100,000 USD over a six-year period. These fundraisers have developed into the annual Toast for Tails benefit, which raises $50,000 USD annually.

In addition, Matt and Neil are involved in a variety of causes—environmental, low-cost medical clinics, and their synagogue. In process of selling their Ashland home, they divide their time between Puerto Vallarta, Tucson and Santa Fe.

In their previous careers, Matt was pediatrics administrator at University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. Neil was involved in a range of conservation and load management programs. They currently own and manage residential properties in several locations.

Lucy Muñiz

DIRECTOR

Lucy Muñiz was born and raised in Oakland, California. While still in her twenties, she decided to return to her family roots in Mexico. Lucy has resided in Puerto Vallarta for the past 37 years, where she has been very active in the community, including the Beach & Bay Clean-Up Committee and The Women’s Network.

In 1994, Lucy and her husband, humorist Gil Gevins, opened a folk art store, Lucy’s CuCuCabana. Their unique artisan shop carries animal-themed art—lots of sculpted dogs and cats—a natural fit for a PEACEAnimals Director who loves to help animals.

A much-needed Animal Protection Association PV, A.C. spay/neuter nonprofit program was launched. Within eight years, over 3,000 spay/neuter operations, many adoptions, and a children’s educational coloring book were realized.

Ralph Osborne

DIRECTOR

Ralph is a full-time resident of Puerto Vallarta and has lived in the city since 2005. At the age of eight, he was sent to boarding school in Tucson, where he grew up around horses and dogs.

After graduating from Northern Arizona University, he moved to New York City. He is recently retired as president of C.S. Osborne & Co., an international manufacturing firm. He was also active as president of The International Institute of New Jersey, an organization that resettles refugees.

Here in Mexico, Ralph proudly served as Vice President on the Board of Directors of the Vallarta Botanical Gardens. He is a member of the local Episcopal Church.

Ralph has four rescue dogs from Aguascalientes— all beginning with the rescue of one dog whom Ralph named Tina. As Aguascalientes does not yet have a spay/neuter clinic, the rescue turned into three more when the little street dog gave birth. The children are named Paco, Taco and Nita. That was fourteen years ago, and they are all still thriving.

Ofelia Osuna McHugh

DIRECTOR

Ofelia was born and raised in Mexico City and left Mexico to attend Southern Methodist University, where she received a B.A. in Psychology. Upon graduation, she moved to Seattle and married her husband Frankie, who was divinely hand-chosen for her by a meddling nun!

Being a relentless nurturer and caregiver by nature, Ofelia threw herself into mothering and volunteering with her children full time. As her daughter and son moved away from Seattle and into young adulthood, Ofelia found herself out of a gig and open to the next life chapter. She and Frankie—God love him!—pulled up stakes and moved to Vallarta with their ancient Pekingese, “Elvis,” to help care for Ofelia’s beloved parents, Penny and Carlos.

After witnessing an impactful series of events involving animal neglect, abuse and cruelty, Ofelia decisively mustered the courage to get involved in Animal Welfare. Previously, her sensitivity, love and passion for animals—and dogs in particular—had prevented her from choosing this particular path of volunteerism.

Along with her commitment to PEACEAnimals, Ofelia volunteers at the Centro de Acopio and visits the SPCA with her mother, Penny. Together they find tremendous inspiration, joy and bravery within not only the animals they encounter but also in each of the extraordinary human beings who dedicate themselves to Animal Welfare.

Steve Stowell

DIRECTOR

Originally a farm boy from western Michigan, Steve Stowell learned to appreciate and handle a variety of critters but had a special fondness for Tennessee Walking Horses and cats in the hayloft. He designed and built the Chicago home where he lived for decades before moving to Santa Fe with his partner, Ed, in 2018.

In his Chicago hood, Steve trapped, neutered and released feral cats, some of which stayed and became yard kitties—no rats in his alley!

In the early 80’s he had the very good fortune to travel to PV and has visited at least once a year ever since. Steve rescued all of his US indoor cats from Isla Cuale, where he has fed, rescued, neutered and adopted-out many felines with the help of wonderful vets and friends. He has also assisted in sponsoring spay/neuter clinics.

Educated at UM (Ann Arbor), University of Madrid and in Bogota, Colombia, Steve is fluent in Spanish and formerly taught ESL, math and Spanish. For the next 35 years, he directed the implementation of legal and board systems for a Fortune 50 company based in Chicago and London. Recently retired, Steve and Ed reside part-time in Amapas (Puerto Vallarta) with their one remaining canine pal, Ping. In Santa Fe, they are active in opera and the arts community and also enjoy gardening. They no longer trap felines as bobcats would probably not cooperate—and they do help to limit the packrat population!

Advisory Board

Ted with puppies
Ted with puppies

Brischa & Ted Borchgrevink

REGISTERED ASSOCIATE (BRISCHA) & ADVISORY BOARD

Hailing from Sweden (Brischa) and Norway (Ted), they met in Los Angeles in 1987. After living there for many years, they decided to move to Oslo to start a calm, “normal” life. After nine years there, Brischa and Ted found that it was too quiet and the weather was horrible. In 2004, they picked up their belongings, including their dog, and moved to Puerto Vallarta, where they built Hacienda las Animas, a B&B in the hills. People frequently mistake “Animas” for “animals” instead of “spirits,” but that’s a good thing because they have six dogs and six cats on the premises.

Over the years, the Borchgrevinks have accumulated various rescues, from cats and dogs to injured pigeons. The household grew, which took them to where they are now with LADRA (“bark” in Spanish), a ranch that serves as a boarding location and rescue site for dogs to recuperate and then be adopted. LADRA stands for Las Animas Dog Rescue Association.

Says Brischa, “We very much support spay and neuter as the best solution to control the many unwanted animals that end up homeless and suffering in the streets.”

Angela Kelleher

JALISCO VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR & ADVISORY BOARD

Angela is a Canadian who has made her home in Puerto Vallarta. After earning her MBA, she worked for many years as a strategy consultant for McKinsey and Company and Bain and Company around the world. Her second career was in Vancouver as a university and college instructor in strategy, marketing and human resources.

Angela has a passion for helping people and animals, and spent many years as board member, trainer and dog handler with service dog and therapy dog programs in Vancouver. In Puerto Vallarta, Angela has been a regular volunteer at PEACEAnimals clinics since 2016. She has a special interest in connecting with and supporting local rescuers and neighborhood children who attend the clinics. Angela is committed to the community involvement regarding spay/neuter and rescue and has been doing an excellent job of recruiting volunteers for the clinics. She is excited and enthusiastic about being able to take part in the change of responsible pet ownership that is happening in Puerto Vallarta!

Patrick Pickett

Advisory Board

Puggy, Tiger, Blue, Rachel, Girl, Poodie, Fred, Cosmo, Brutus, Brutus II and Lefty are just some of the rescues Patrick can remember growing up with in Portland, Oregon. Eventually tiring of the Pacific Northwest weather, Pat migrated south to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in 2005 and found his version of paradise working in the Vallarta hospitality industry. He expanded into local commercial real estate and founded the well-known expat service company, Pat's Plates. Patrick dedicates a portion of the proceeds of his local businesses to supporting various animal rescue groups and individuals, different free spay/neuter clinics as well as a local children's shelter, Casa Hogar. He is honored to serve the PEACEAnimals organization and further its goal of preventing the suffering of animals. When you meet Pat, ask him about his Schnauzer named Ice Cream and his family's many cat and dog rescues!

Ron Ragsdale

ADVISORY BOARD & FOUNDING DIRECTOR

Born and raised in west Texas, Ron graduated from Vanderbilt University where he received a degree in Econometrics. He later graduated from St Mary’s Law School in San Antonio and is licensed as an attorney in Texas, New York and Colorado. Along with interests in banking, ranching, oil and gas, Ron presided over a law firm in west Texas for twenty years.

In 1989, he bought a number of cattle ranches and farms in South Dakota’s Black Hills, just outside Rapid City. He sold these South Dakota properties in 2012, but continues to live most of the time in his home in Rapid City. Ron also owns a home in Puerto Vallarta’s colonia centro, where he manages various investments while taking care of the occasional stray dog, a whole pile of cats, one raccoon, and two opossums.

Linda Stewart

NAYARIT VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR AND ADVISORY BOARD

Linda grew up on a farm in North Dakota with lots of animals—calves, lambs, chickens— whatever was sick stayed in the house until the animal got well. She enjoyed a 40-year career as a technician, sales manager and HR manager within the automotive industry.

Linda is involved with many associations: Domestic Violence shelter (Board of Directors); Professional Women in Business (national); and Chamber of Commerce (Cyprus, California).

After living in Colorado and California for 40 years, she moved to Mexico in 2015—mi español es pequeño. “I love Nayarit and the wonderful local volunteers who appreciate animals as much as I do. I especially love what PEACEAnimals provides to the colonias in Jalisco and Nayarit.”

Amy & Bill Welch

SECRETARY-TREASURER (AMY) AND REGISTERED ASSOCIATE

The Welches assist with the websites (PEACEAnimals, Amigos de La Cruz de Huanacaxtle and Banderas Bay Charities, Inc) and coordinate U.S. grants and donations to PEACEAnimals and other charities in and around the Bay of Banderas (Puerto Vallarta). Amy also serves as Treasurer of PEACEAnimals, Banderas Bay Charities and Amigos de La Cruz de Huanacaxtle.

Soon after arriving in La Cruz in 1997, they started another foundation, Children’s Shelter of Hope Foundation (USA non-profit) with their college friend, Christine Amo. Bill is a former CPA and now practicing tax attorney and former tax partner with Coopers & Lybrand (now PriceWaterhouseCoopers). He helps with accounting, legal, tax filings and donor coordination.

Amy was a high school teacher and school administrator for Portland Public Schools (Oregon). Presently, she rents houses and condos in the Puerto Vallarta & Tucson area during her free time. Floating back and forth between Portland, Oregon and Mexico, they enjoy travel, deep-sea fishing and their boats.

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