Clare Leach


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.”


Lisa Mahoney


Lisa Mahoney spent her early teenage years on a ranch in Texas surrounded by animals, wild and tame.  As a passionate animal advocate, her goals include educating young people regarding the importance of protecting wildlife and caring for pets, with an emphasis on spay/neuter.  Lisa's main focus are the communities in the area of the Bay of Banderas, Mexico.  Says Lisa, "I want to save lives four paws at a time!"  Lisa and her husband, Mike Mahoney, spend their year living between a home in Corona del Mar, California and Punta de Mita.


Trisha Aljoe


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


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 resident since 2007.

Bill Goodloe


Born in Virginia and raised on a large property that always had dogs.  Bill and his partner started a real estate-related company Goodloe & O'Donoghue Associates. Upon retiring he split his time between South Carolina and Puerto Vallarta.  Moderately bilingual, he moved to PV full time eleven years ago.  Always involved with animals, Bill has fostered dogs, volunteered at spay/neuter clinics and has adopted two dogs from the Acopio.  Bill believes if dogs could talk, he would stop trying to make human friends.

Cairo Gregor


Cairo lives outside San Francisco in Marin County with her husband Michael and three children. Adding to her household are three rescue dogs, two Australian mixes and a beloved chihuahua, Pepe, whom she rescued from the SPCA-PV sanctuary.  Cairo's mother Gretchen DeWitt, co-founded the SPCA-PV and founded PEACEAnimals.  Cairo shares her mother's passion for animals and has been involved with animal rescue for 15 years, serving as president of the SPCA-PV's sister organization based in California.  In California, Cairo is owner and designer of fine jewelry, CAIRO Jewelry.  Her passions include travel, running, time with family and making a difference in the lives of animals.  

Roie Griego


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.”

Mike Irvine


Originally from the Scottish Highlands and after 4 years of continuous travel, Mike, his wife, Tracy, and their Cairn Terrier Hamish, settled in Vallarta just over 5 years ago.  Michael volunteered at the city's municipal shelter for two years before he became a full-time dog handler and spent much of his time socializing and preparing the larger dogs for adoption. He resigned from that position in December of 2020. Mike is a published freelance writer who has volunteered to help with the newsletter.  Currently Mike is actively involved in animal rescue, He spends his time divided between two passions, freelance writing and animals. Mike has a
close working relationship with Dogs for Life and writes for dog blogs and online pet magazines.  He loves to travel, sample the odd whiskey and walking any neighbors' dogs that will let him.

Amie Kafer


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


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.

Chuck Latham


Chuck grew upon a farm near Memphis, Tennessee. He graduated with honors with a degree in Animal Science. After college, Chuck settled in Colorado while working for the USDA and Jones Veterinary Supply. In 1984, Chuck founded CLA, a sales and marketing agency focused on the pet market. In 2013 he founded H&C Animal Health which focuses on developing veterinary products for pet retail. Currently he is the Chairman of 1C the parent company for CLA and H&C.  Chuck has been named chairman of NARMS, President of Petsmart Charities. He has supported many philanthropic organizations including, Petsmart Charities, Petco Foundation and SaddleUp Foundation.  Chuck has been involved in his church and community and is an avid golfer and cyclist as well as a devoted husband, father and proud pet parent of Maggie, a 14 year old Springer Spaniel the Latham family rescued. 

Matt Messner and Neil Sechan


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.

Cindy Santa Cruz


Growing up in Mexico City and Guadalajara, Cindy attended college in the US and Europe. "I have always been an animal lover and have volunteered at different animal rescue organizations such as the Maui Humane Society and the San Diego Humane Society.  Being an avid horseback rider since childhood, I won Volunteer of the Year for efforts at organizing nationally-recognized shows in Hawaii.  I recently moved to Puerto Vallarta for work.  I am 100% bilingual and bicultural.  I live in Nuevo Vallarta with my son Robby and my rescue dog Shanti, a small mixed terrier."

Steve Stowell


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!

John Whitten

Clinic Coordinator

A 20+ year resident of La Cruz, pictured with his wife Cynthia del Pino, John has 27 years of experience as an educator and education administrator.  John has volunteered at clinics over the years. His primary goal as Clinic Coordinator is to ensure the clinics run smoothly, are well advertised and that the vets have the supplies and materials needed.  Weekly John attends the clinics, takes pictures and writes a summary in English and Spanish for the PEACEAnimals newsletter.  (52) 322 111 9419

In Memoriam

Gretchen DeWitt


It is with sadness that we announce that our founder Gretchen DeWitt passed unexpectedly on Wed, Nov 11, 2020.  As one of our board members said, "We’ve lost one of the kindest, most caring and overall wonderful people on the planet."

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, Brischa Borchgrevink and Amy Welch, former PEACE USA treasurer, founded PEACEAnimals.

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

Gretchen DeWitt Obituary (1942 - 2020) - San Francisco Chronicle (


In Memoriam

Ralph Osborne


Ralph Osborne, one of our founding board members, died on August 18, 2020 of COVID-19 in Puerto Vallarta.  He was 81.  Ralph was a full-time resident and had lived here since 2005.  Ralph loved animals and all things beautiful.   Originally from New York, at the age of eight he was sent to boarding school in Arizona because of his asthma.  Surrounded by dogs and horses, he learned how to ride.  Later, as a young man, he missed the equestrian riding team for the U.S. Olympics by just one person.  After graduating from Northern Arizona University, Ralph moved to New York City, where he served as president of the International Institute of New Jersey, an organization that resettles refugees. He recently retired as president of C.S. Osborne & Co., an international manufacturing firm, family owned and operated since the Civil War.   Ralph enjoyed adventures in 150 countries and had plans for more.  He was an active and supportive member of the local Episcopal church.  Ralph was also a board member and great supporter of the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens, where all four of his rescue dogs are buried.  If visiting, you will be able to look across the Horcones River and see the land Ralph purchased and donated.  It will remain wild and beautiful and where his ashes will be scattered.   Ralph Osborne was an extraordinary person - kind and good, generous and curious, modest and joyful, loving and very lovable.  So many people have lost a wonderful friend.  New York Times



Advisory Board

Ted with puppies
Ted with puppies

Brischa & Ted Borchgrevink


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.”

Lucy Muñiz


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. In 2020, after 29 years in the same location, Gil and Lucy closed the store and retired to their home in San Miguel de Allende.  Lucy founded 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.

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


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.

Amy & Bill Welch


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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