History and Mission

Poverty’s Pets was established in 2006, under the direction of the Founder and Animal Advocate, Kate Sivolella, with a mission to address animals in low-income and underserved neighborhoods, with a particular focus on spay/neuter clinics. Since 2008, Poverty’s Pets has facilitated the adoption of over 700 animals and provides medical services to over 500 animals each year. We have created a foster home, known as the Columbus House, for any dogs that cross our paths. With a compassionate volunteer network, it is Poverty’s Pets goal to end animal cruelty, suffering, overpopulation and homelessness

Poverty's Pets is 501c3 non-profit.

Meet the Board

Kate was born and raised in Montclair, New Jersey but has called Phoenix her home for over 20 years. She graduated from Fordham University and is a licensed Realtor and Property Manager, in addition to founding Poverty’s Pets.


Her work prior to starting Poverty’s Pets often brought her to underserved communities in downtown Phoenix where she began noticing that many of the dogs in this area were neglected, abused, and greatly in need of care and services. Moved by the suffering, Kate was inspired to help and did so in starting Poverty’s Pets. Besides Kate’s love of rescuing pets, Kate loves Ice hockey, she’s an avid NY Giants fan, and enjoys listening to music. She also loves spending time with her family, which uniquely consists of two sets of twins!

Founder and Executive Director
Kate Sivolella

With experience in private, public, political and non-profit sectors, Kellye uses her passion, experience and knowledge of diverse populations and community organizations to bring about positive change, particularly to underserved communities.  With a degree in Criminal Justice and minors in Sociology and Political Science from Wilmington College in Ohio, Kellye has used her education and background to advocate for voter’s rights, lgbt and animal welfare, in addition to many other commendable initiatives.  From 2007 to 2011, Kellye served as a Director for the Ohio Secretary of State.  She currently serves as the Arizona State Director for The Humane Society of the United States and has been a volunteer and board member in various nonprofit organizations and is currently a member of the Wilmington College of Ohio President’s Advisory Council.

President of the Board
Kellye Pinkleton

Trained as a lawyer at the University of Arizona, and now serving as a commissioner with the Maricopa County Superior Court, Margaret first engaged with Poverty’s Pets through fostering and adopting her family’s much- loved dogs, Posie and Jacque, and then by providing pro bono legal services.  Before moving to Arizona in 1995 for law school, Margaret received a bachelor’s degree from Simmons College in Boston and a master’s degree from Columbia University in New York City.  Prior to becoming a lawyer, she worked as a political reporter and news editor for a community newspaper in Columbia County, New York, as well as for a goat cheese farm where she was involved in animal care, cheese making and selling at the Union Square Greenmarket.  Margaret serves on the board because she appreciates its clarity of mission and the long-time leadership in animal advocacy that Poverty’s Pets has established.

Vice President of the Board
Margaret LaBianca

Raised in Scottsdale/Phoenix since age six, Dana received her Associates Degree in Mortuary Science from the San Francisco College of Mortuary Science in 1995. She has since worked in Phoenix and Atlanta as a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer with a focus on Restorative Arts. She currently attending college part time in pursuit of a degree within the healthcare industry. Dana has spent many years volunteering with animal rescues and shelters and eventually discovered Poverty’s Pets, who’s vision, passion and goals aligned with her own.  She has been fostering dogs for Poverty’s Pets for four years. Two of her fosters, Maggie Mae and Willy, have found a permanent home with her family which includes her daughter, Riley and her son, Jake, three cats and her husband, John, who has been a wonderful help and support caring for the many rescues that have passed through their home.

Secretary of the Board
Dana Teel

Spending most of her childhood in Tucson, Angie was naturally a Wildcat fan and attended The University of Arizona for both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Angie then moved to the San Francisco area for five years where she adopted her first pitbull, Emma, from the county shelter. She fell in love with bully breeds and began volunteering with BADRAP, San Francisco Bay Area, to help train shelter dogs to help make them more adoptable. Angie moved to the Phoenix area  in 2005 and adopted her first Poverty’s Pets rescue in 2007, LolaBug. About 1 ½ years later, she fostered a Poverty’s Pets rescue and became a foster failure when she adopted LexiLooWhoo. Angie’s husband and sons help to support Poverty’s Pets as well. They are an animal-loving family!

Treasurer of the Board
Angie Padgitt

Born and raised in Nashville, TN, Melissa graduated from the University of Tennessee with a BS in Marketing. She has worked for Visit Phoenix since February, 2000, and currently serves as Vice President of Marketing, tourism & Communications. When she’s not cheering on her Vols during football season or snuggling with her dogs, Melissa is out and about supporting local boutiques and restaurants (translation: shopping and eating). She’s often accompanied by a Poverty’s Pets pup, giving them a special adventure and extra socialization. She and her husband Mike share their lives with two rescue dogs – Tanner the Chihuahua (7) and Hannah the Pittie (5).  Hannah is a Poverty’s Pets alum who was saved, along with her four puppies, during flyer distribution for a spay/neuter clinic. Melissa began volunteering for Poverty’s Pets in the summer of 2014.

Board Member
Melissa Gogel

Born and raised in small-town Minnesota, Rachel is a project management professional with a special place in her heart for health and fitness, but more importantly, for Poverty’s Pets and its rescue and advocacy efforts.  In 2010, Rachel adopted the “untouchable dog” from Poverty’s Pets. With patience and love, Lila (formerly Jojo) was able to build trust and has blossomed, showing love and empathy towards all beings, including her guinea pig brother, Baldwin.  Because of Rachel's advocacy and networking, she has facilitated the adoption and transportation for countless rescue animals over the years and continues to volunteer and offer guidance to Poverty’s Pets from California. 

Board Member
Rachel Southard

Chloe is an Arizona native, born and raised in Scottsdale, currently living in Phoenix. She graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice in 2014.  When she isn't lounging at home with her 2 dogs, 2 cats and boyfriend, he spends her free time taking pottery classes or painting pet portraits. She became involved with Poverty's Pets when she was looking for another dog, and ended up with her first foster, and foster fail - Taylor now Clementine. 

Board Member
Chloe Liberman