A compassionate presence in the community since 1955

About Us

About Us

we are a true grass-roots organization

President’s Message

Pet Assistance Foundation (PAF) welcomes you to our caring family. 

PAF was founded in 1955 by a group of women who realized that pet overpopulation is the root cause of companion animal suffering. Our founders knew there had to be at least ONE organization dedicated to addressing the problem. We are, indeed, true pioneers for spay/neuter advocacy. Our funds go directly to helping the animals.

PAF is 100% grassroots. While we first set roots in Central and Northern parts of Los Angeles, additional branches have sprung up throughout Southern California. Caring volunteers saw the need in their respective communities and could not help but be struck by the relentless “fallout” of pet overpopulation—the “free puppy and kitten” signs and ads, abandonment, strays in the streets, animals passed from one bad home to another, and the high euthanasia rates in the shelters. These volunteers devoted themselves to running a PAF Branch to principally operate a local spay/neuter hotline; however many plunged headlong into rescue, humane education, volunteering in local shelters and promoting humane legislation as a result of what they witnessed in their communities, as well as their experiences on the Branch hotline.

I have served as PAF a volunteer since 1969 when, as a young teacher in an inner city Los Angeles School, I became involved in rescuing the many strays on our campus. Initiated into the fold by our school secretary, a PAF Board member, I felt a sense of relief that at least there was an organization addressing my almost daily encounter with suffering animals. I have since dedicated my life to spay/neuter advocacy, humane education, rescue and adoption, and legislative reform.

We invite you to become involved in our effort as a donor or a volunteer. By making a tax-deductible financial contribution or volunteering, you are part of PAF’s long tradition of being “a compassionate presence in the community. “

For the Animals,
Wendy AragonPresident

Our Beginning…

One morning in 1955, a small group of women sat sipping coffee and lamenting the plight of cats and dogs in their communities. The stories they shared had much in common. All featured dependent creatures with no one to depend on, surplus animals whose perceived lack of value put them in dire straits.

Existing humane societies helped as many as they could, but the tide of unwanted cats and dogs was unrelenting. The women realized that for things to change, there needed to be at least one organization dedicated to addressing the root cause of companion animal suffering: pet overpopulation. So they scraped together $250, walked down to the bank, and formed Pet Assistance Foundation, a society of true pioneers of spay/neuter advocacy and compassionate outreach.

President’s Message

Pet Assistance Foundation (PAF) welcomes you to our caring family. 

PAF was founded in 1955 by a group of women who realized that pet overpopulation is the root cause of companion animal suffering. Our founders knew there had to be at least ONE organization dedicated to addressing the problem. We are, indeed, true pioneers for spay/neuter advocacy. Our funds go directly to helping the animals.

PAF is 100% grassroots. While we first set roots in Central and Northern parts of Los Angeles, additional branches have sprung up throughout Southern California. Caring volunteers saw the need in their respective communities and could not help but be struck by the relentless “fallout” of pet overpopulation—the “free puppy and kitten” signs and ads, abandonment, strays in the streets, animals passed from one bad home to another, and the high euthanasia rates in the shelters. These volunteers devoted themselves to running a PAF Branch to principally operate a local spay/neuter hotline; however many plunged headlong into rescue, humane education, volunteering in local shelters and promoting humane legislation as a result of what they witnessed in their communities, as well as their experiences on the Branch hotline.

I have served as PAF a volunteer since 1969 when, as a young teacher in an inner city Los Angeles School, I became involved in rescuing the many strays on our campus. Initiated into the fold by our school secretary, a PAF Board member, I felt a sense of relief that at least there was an organization addressing my almost daily encounter with suffering animals. I have since dedicated my life to spay/neuter advocacy, humane education, rescue and adoption, and legislative reform.

We invite you to become involved in our effort as a donor or a volunteer. By making a tax-deductible financial contribution or volunteering, you are part of PAF’s long tradition of being “a compassionate presence in the community. “

For the Animals,
Wendy AragonPresident

Our Beginning…

One morning in 1955, a small group of women sat sipping coffee and lamenting the plight of cats and dogs in their communities. The stories they shared had much in common. All featured dependent creatures with no one to depend on, surplus animals whose perceived lack of value put them in dire straits.

Existing humane societies helped as many as they could, but the tide of unwanted cats and dogs was unrelenting. The women realized that for things to change, there needed to be at least one organization dedicated to addressing the root cause of companion animal suffering: pet overpopulation. So they scraped together $250, walked down to the bank, and formed Pet Assistance Foundation, a society of true pioneers of spay/neuter advocacy and compassionate outreach.

Financial Information

2021
990

2020
990

2019
990

2018
990

2017
990

2016
990

2015
990

Looking for additional information? Contact us!

Officers & Directors

Wendy Aragon
President

I am proud to have been involved with PAF for over 50 years as a hotline/field volunteer as well as serving on the Board of Directors intermittently since 1982. Because of PAF’s longevity and deep commitment to curtailing the tragic pet overpopulation tragedy through legislation, education, and financial help for low-income pet guardians, I was able to serve on several legislative committees to draft spay/neuter/breeding control ordinances, develop government vouchers and various shelter reform measures that have played a role in reducing the birth of surplus companion animals. As a Los Angeles Unified School District Middle School teacher for 25 years, I helped to develop humane education curricula and implement programs, including sponsoring a Friends of Animals Club for 19 years. While recognizing that there are many challenges ahead, my PAF colleagues and I are committed to creating a future when companion animals are born into a world where they are wanted and cherished.

Mary Finley
Vice President

I’m a busy mom with three kids and lots of rescued pets–currently three cats and two dogs. Like most who will read this bio, I have always felt a calling to help animals. Pet Assistance Foundation was the first organization to help me with an abuse case. After that, I was hooked. I love that they’re about justice for underprivileged animals, they’re active in legislation, and they’re dedicated to spay and neuter. When I talk about PAF, I guess I should say “we,” not “they,” as I’ve been with them for about twelve years now. I’ve done a little of everything–answered the hotlines, managed a branch with an adoption program, fostered kittens, ran the main office, taken classes on humane education. Volunteering at a shelter helps keep me connected to the cause. Now I’m serving on the Board of Directors, helping to steer PAF into a future that will be kinder because of them.

Karen Simmons
Secretary

I’ve been the Secretary of the Pet Assistance Foundation Board of Directors for over 30 years. That long ago my friend, Wendy Aragon, asked me if I would be interested in serving on their board. I researched the organization and liked what I read about their beliefs and goals to help suffering animals and curb pet overpopulation. Obviously, I am an animal lover. I believe that education is very important, starting with the children, learning about animal compassion and responsibility. My work history has been as a personal assistant. I recently retired and moved from my home of 50 years in Long Beach, California to upstate New York where my son and family live. I will remain on the board as long as needed.

Carol Joob
Director

I’ve been an animal advocate in the Inland Empire for over 34 years. In addition to more than 20 years on the Pet Assistance Board of Directors, I serve on the boards of the Pet Overpopulation Coalition (POPCO) and Ruff Animal Rescue, two organization aiding pets in need in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, and as Director of Benevolent Animal Rescue Committee (BARC), a rescue group helping to place abandoned dogs and cats. All of this keeps me pretty busy, but I make sure to find time for family (including three dogs deemed unadaptable and two fosters), and a bit of travel when I can.

Betsy Denhart
Director

I love Pet Assistance because we focus on addressing the root causes of animal suffering. I’m especially drawn to humane education, and the ripple effects that promoting empathy and kindness can have one pets and people alike. Just before the pandemic, I completed classes at the Academy of Prosocial Learning to become a Certified Humane Education Specialist. I’m hoping to be able to use what I’ve learned to expand PAF’s humane education efforts. Besides working with Pet Assistance, I’ve volunteered for LA City shelters and spcaLA, spent 20 years as an independent dog rescuer, served on Spay Neuter Action Program of San Diego’s Advisory Committee, American Rat Terrier Rescue’s Board of Directors, and the CDFA Pet Lover’s License Plate Grant Program Technical Review Committee.

Julie Virga
Director

I’ve been an animal advocate my entire adult life. I’ve rescued, spayed, neutered and found homes for hundreds of animals. My house would not feel like home without my pets, both feline and canine (that’s Bandit in the picture). Recently, I founded the nonprofit Fix Our Shelters, a watchdog organization demanding accountability, transparency, and oversight of animal shelters across our state and country. We represent and defend the best interests of animals both inside and outside shelter walls. I’m excited to be on the Board of Pet Assistance Foundation, a venerable organization with decades of experience improving the lives of animals, and to see how, through synergy, we can amplify our impact.

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