Contact

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.  www.planetree.org

 

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 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 children and grandchildren.

gretchen@peaceanimals.org

 

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 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 spent over 19 years working in Corporate Finance positions for various companies within the Santa Clara, California region, also known as "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 is currently General Director of Riviera Ventures S.A. de C.V., a residential developer located in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  Ken also provides assistance to various local entities involved in the areas of education, healthcare and daycare for underprivileged children.  Ken also serves as treasurer of the Robert and Patricia Dahl Family Foundation. Ken has been a full-time resident of Puerto Vallarta since 2007.

 

 

Roie Griego, Director

Roberta "Roie" Griego is originally from Boston and is currently living near Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  When health permits, she spends winters in Puerto Vallarta (centro), Mexico.   For approximately forty years,  Roie has dedicated the better part of her life helping animals.   In 1996, she and her husband moved to Puerto Vallarta.  It was there where she began her 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 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 US and Mexico.  FOHA rescues approximately 1,200-1,500 dogs each year from high kill shelters all across the US.  Having served this organization continuously as its president since its founding in 2007,  Roie 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 seriously 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 participated as a volunteer at the spay and neuter clinics. 

Originally from Tucson, Amie often traveled to Mexico as a child (Tucson is about 45 minutes from the border).  These visits began 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 it's suggested to wear sunglasses indoors."

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.  Brenda then moved inside the house, but still likes to howl at night with a plastic bag in her mouth that she pulls out from the crack between the fridge and a cabinet. 

 

Norma F. Kafer & James H. Gordon, Directors

James H. Gordon

Norma F. Kafer

Norma is a long-time resident of Arizona, graduating from Arizona State in 1966. She holds a Masters and PhD from University of Arizona in 1971 and 1976, respectively.  Now retired, she worked over fifteen years as a psychologist with the Arizona prison system. Norma's interests are gardening and animal rescue.  She has one daughter, a psychiatrist, Amie. 

 

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 had 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 with patients one day a week via Skype.  Clare and her husband Bill now spend seven months a year at their home in Puerto Vallarta. 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 SPCAPV.  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 & Neil Sechan, Directors

Neil Sechan

Matt Messner

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.  They divide their time between Puerto Vallarta and Ashland, Oregon.

 

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 November 1994, Lucy and her husband, humorist Gil Gevins, opened a folk art store, Lucy's CuCuCabana. Because the shop carried animal-themed art (lots of sculpted dogs and cats), they decided to help the animals.

 

A spay/neuter program started and the first spay/neuter (S/N) nonprofit was founded, the Animal Protection Association PV, A.C.  Within 8 years, over 3,000 S/N 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 and president of The International Institute of New Jersey, an organization that resettles refugees.  

 

Here in Vallarta, he is vice president of the board of directors of the Vallarta Botanical Gardens and is a member of the local Episcopal Church.  Ralph has four rescue dogs from Aguascalientes.  It began 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 all sorts of critters,  but had a special fondness for cats in the hayloft and Tennessee Walking horses.  Years later he moved to Chicago, where he  designed and built the 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 and rescued/neutered/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.  Afterwards and for the next 35 years,  he directed the implementation of legal and board systems for a Fortune 50 company based in Chicago and London.  Having 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 arts community and enjoy gardening.  They no longer trap felines as bobcats would probably not cooperate (and they do help to limit the pack rat population!). 

Founding Directors and currently serving on the Advisory Board: Brischa (registered Associate) & Ted Borchgrevink

Ted with puppies
Ted with puppies

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."  

bbrischa@hotmail.com

 

 

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!

kelleher@shaw.ca

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, and 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 & Advisory Board

  • Grew up on a farm in North Dakota - lots and lots of animals -  calves, lambs, chickens,  whatever was sick in the house until the animal got well.
  • 40-year career as technician, sales manager, and human resources manager with manufacturers in the automotive industry
  • Associations:  Board of directors - Domestic Violence´s shelter; Professional Women in Business (national); Chamber of Commerce - Cyprus, California
  • After living in Colorado and California for 40 years, moved to Mexico April 8, 2015 - mi español es pequeño

"I love  Nayarit and the wonderful local volunteers who love animals as much or more than I do, and I love what PEACE provides to the colonias in Jalisco and Nayarit."

 

Linda Stewart  hypnoticparadise15@gmail.com  322 242 9045 

Amy & Bill Welch - Secretary-Treasurer & Advisory Board

The Welches assist with the websites (PEACEAnimals and Banderas Bay Charities, Inc) and coordinate USA donations and grants to PEACEAnimals and other charities in and around the Bay of Banderas (Puerto Vallarta). Amy also serves as Treasurer of PEACEAnimals and Amigos de La Cruz de Huanacaxtle.  Soon after arriving in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle in 1997, they started another foundation, Children's Shelter of Hope, with their college friend Christine Amo. Bill is a practicing tax attorney, and former tax partner with Coopers & Lybrand (now PriceWaterhouseCoopers); he helps with accounting and tax filings and donor coordination.  Now retired, for 37 years, Amy was a high school teacher and school administrator for Talented and Gifted Education in Portland. Presently, she rents out houses and condos in the Puerto Vallarta area during her free time.   Floating back and forth between Portland, Oregon and Mexico, they enjoy travel, deep sea fishing, and their boats.

 

For more about PEACEAnimals: how you can donate or volunteer, contact:

Amy Welch  amywelchpdx@comcast.net    503 285 4007 in Portland, Oregon