Ruth Steinberger Executive Director, Spay FIRST! Inc.

Ruth Steinberger, Co-CEO and founder of Spay FIRST! has coordinated rural pet sterilization programs since 1993, with a focus on at-risk animals in chronic poverty. Ruth moved to Oklahoma in 1999 to make her home in an area with no existing low-income spay/neuter programs. By working closely with humane societies and veterinarians, she helped create programs that now provide over 25,000 surgeries annually. In 2004, she was a founding board member of Spay Oklahoma, the first high volume spay/neuter clinic in Oklahoma. In 2003, Ruth worked closely with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe (Sicangu Lakota) to develop a high volume spay neuter program on the reservation to stop ‘dog round-ups.’ The “Rosebud program” resulted in her receiving the prestigious ASPCA Henry Bergh Award in 2006. The model was presented at the 2012 First International Symposium on Dog Population Management (sponsored by World Health Organization). Ruth pioneers innovative programs and her private practice model was featured in March, 2007 Veterinary Practice News and Animal Sheltering Magazine in 2012. In 2007 Ruth developed the first Oklahoma-based continuing education anti-cruelty class for police officers and has organized presentations on early age spay/ neuter for Oklahoma veterinarians in conjunction with Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) and was made an honorary lifetime member of the OVMA in 2013. Along with Spay FIRST board members Dr. Charles Helwig and Billy Clay, D.V.M., DIPLOMATE American Board of Veterinary Toxicology, Ms. Steinberger received the OVMA 2013 Presidents Choice Award in honor of Spay FIRST’s role in research on non-surgical sterilization of companion animals. Spay FIRST has applied injectable calcium chloride on tribal lands, initiated trials on megestrol acetate in cats, and was featured by the Associated Press for their partnership with the USDA in testing of GonaCon injectable contraceptive for dogs. Spay FIRST! is the first non-profit organization to partner with the USDA to conduct extensive research (non-terminal) on injectable contraceptives for female dogs.