Staff

 

Zoey Knittel
Executive Director

Zoey Knittel serves as the Spay Neuter Project of Los Angeles’ Executive Director, overseeing the organization’s management, programs and development.  Zoey joined SNPLA in its infancy and immediately developed internal management procedures and participated in the strategic planning process defining SNPLA’s long term goals and vision. With over ten years of development and non-profit management experience, Zoey successfully developed SNPLA’s comprehensive fundraising plans which serve as a launch pad for the organization’s complex operations. She also serves as SNPLA’s external spokesperson to raise awareness about under-served populations as well as to ensure SNPLA continues to meet the needs of the ever-changing Los Angeles community. Zoey previously served as the managing director of a non-profit literary arts foundation and her award-winning writing has been widely published. Her screenplays have been produced by Rock The Vote for MTV, her short films premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, aired on MTV, and were awarded the Peabody Award For Excellence in Television. Recently, Zoey, her husband and cats have fostered and found homes for a three-legged Pitbull, an eighteen year old senior kitty, and a litter of bottle baby kittens. She is proud to be able to support SNPLA’s mission to provide the best quality care for those pets in need of the most help.

Janet Sepulveda
Director of Operations

Janet has felt great compassion and love for animals ever since she can remember. She has 10 years of experience in animal welfare. She began her career with animals as a volunteer caring for puffins at the Aquarium of the Pacific. She later worked at an animal shelter, veterinary hospital and finally SNPLA. She has simultaneously worked for several nonprofit spay and neuter organizations in Los Angeles. She recently became an RVT and is attending Cal State Fullerton earning a business degree. She is very proud to be a part of SNPLA and create a positive impact on animals in her community.

Elaine Lukic, D.V.M
Medical Director

Elaine Lukic is the Medical Director of SNPLA

Dr. Lukic graduated from the University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine in 2003. After graduation, she practiced both general and emergency medicine in South Florida. In 2006, she moved to Southern California to pursue her passion for shelter medicine with OC Animal Care. She has been involved with non-profit, low-cost spay/neuter programs for almost 15 years both domestically and internationally. She has participated in numerous animal welfare projects abroad including programs with Christian Veterinary Mission in Bolivia, Project HEAL in Ecuador, and Animal Balance in Samoa as well as local efforts throughout Florida and Southern California. Dr. Lukic has been working with SNPLA since July 2010. She believes in providing exceptional quality medicine and treating all animals with genuine care and concern as if they were her own pets. She shares her home with a spirited Golden Retriever and three affectionate and mischievous cats.

 
wendy bio

Wendy Ochoa
Director of Administration

Growing up in sunny California, Wendy has always had a passion for animal welfare and takes pride in aiding SNPLA’s mission to provide veterinary services that are affordable and accessible to all pets in Los Angeles and underserved communities. With over 8 years in the veterinary field and management, Wendy continues her education in Business Administration. Her hobbies play a major role in her life today and she loves spending quality time with her rescued dogs.

Erin Thomas
Accounting and HR Manager

Erin Thomas serves as Spay Neuter Project of Los Angeles’ Accounting and HR Manager. With 10 years of experience in multiple accounting and human resource roles, Erin completed her MBA degree in 2017. With her immense love for animals, the opportunity to work with SNPLA was an easy decision. Erin currently has two cats at home and a secret dream of one day living on a farm with many more animals.

 
 

Adrian Perez
Mobile Vaccine Manager

Adrian’s passion for animals started at a very young age. With over 15 years of experience in animal welfare, Adrian began his career in shelter medicine before joining SNPLA’s very first spay and neuter team in 2008. His experience includes emergency care, general medicine, and spay and neuter. In his free time Adrian enjoys camping, hiking and spending time with his family.

 

Kelsey Kazahaya
Program Manager

Kelsey is SNPLA’s Kitten Lifesaving Program manager. SNPLA’s Kitten Lifesaving Program has saved over 4,000 neonatal kittens from shelter euthanasia since 2016.
 

Zach Deegan, DVM
Staff Veterinarian, Mission Hills Clinic

Dr. Zach Deegan is a veterinarian with 10 years of veterinary experience in shelter medicine, high-quality high-volume spay neuter programs, disaster response and animal welfare policy. He has been full time with SNPLA since 2017. Dr. Deegan is a key member of the leadership team at our Mission Hills clinic, where he helps manage daily clinic operations, sees wellness and spay/neuter recheck appointments, and also trains staff and volunteers in HQHVSN best practices and procedures.

Seung Lee, D.V.M
Staff Veterinarian, Mission Hills Clinic

Dr. Seung Lee is our staff veterinarian at our Mission Hills clinic. Dr. Lee is proud to provide expert wellness care to the cats and dogs of the San Fernando Valley and has been doing so with love for the past 5 years. 

Merissa Niewzal
Manager, Mission Hills Clinic

Merissa is the Mission Hills Clinic Manager. She has been in the field of veterinary medicine for 10 years. She has volunteered with wildlife, farm animals, dogs, cats, and exotic animals. She is a lifelong animal lover who is passionate about the rights of animals in our society, and enjoys spending time in nature. She has two cats, Soybean and Tofu, and a dog, Boo Boo.

Lori Reyes
Lead Veterinary Technician, Mission Hills Clinic

Lori Reyes has had a love for animals for as long as she can remember. She graduated college with a degree in Veterinary Technology and has worked at SNPLA since 2013. When she is not working, she spends quality time with her four beloved dogs.

 

Zoe Ramagnano, VMD, CVA
Staff Veterinarian, Los Angeles Clinic

Zoe Ramagnano knew that she wanted to be a veterinarian from the age of six. She graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with a BS in Animal Bioscience and an honors degree in Veterinary Science in 2000. She then received her VMD from the University of Pennsylvania in 2005. She went on to complete a rotating surgery and medicine internship at the VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital before joining the VCA West Los Angeles staff in 2006. In 2012, she decided to move away from corporate medicine and joined the staff of a small boutique veterinary practice in Silverlake. Along the way, she never lost her love for learning and, during her years in practice, received advanced training in dentistry and became certified in veterinary acupuncture.

In September of 2017, Dr. Ramagnano had a life changing experience. Hurricane Harvey hit Houston and the people and animals in that community desperately needed help. Before she knew it, she was on a plane to Houston along with members of Angel City Pit Bulls and Best Friends Animal Society. In just 48 hours, the team was able to build a temporary shelter and veterinary clinic in an open fairgrounds warehouse. Dr. Ramagnano became the Medical Director for that initial Montgomery County facility and spent the next 10 days truly saving and changing lives with a staff that was almost completely powered by volunteers.

When Dr. Ramagnano returned home, she knew what her true calling was – she wanted to put her expertise to work helping animals and people in the most need. In May of 2018, she became the staff veterinarian at the brand new SNPLA clinic in South LA. Dr. Ramagnano states that “it is an understatement to say that it is my dream job.. we have built a truly unique and beautiful clinic. It is a place where animals come first. It is a place where you are treated like a human being, no matter your background.”

Dr. Ramagnano has served as the volunteer Medical Director for Angel City Pit Bulls since the inception of the organization and has been a strong proponent for the positive representation of pit bull type dogs.

Sara Ruffner
Manager, Los Angeles Clinic

Sara has served as the clinic manager of SNPLA’s South LA clinic since its grand opening in 2018. Sara played a major role in the setting up and opening of this, the newest, of SNPLA’s clinic locations. The South LA clinic provides wellness care as well as spay/neuter, meeting a tremendous need in this vibrant community, serving over 10,000 dogs and cats each year.

 

Maricruz Roman
Lead Veterinary Technician, Los Angeles Clinic

Maricruz is Los Angeles’ lead technician. She has worked with SNPLA for over 5 years. As a receptionist, Mari serves as the smiling face that greets our South LA clients every day. 

 

Denise Soto
Manager, San Pedro Clinic

Denise serves as the clinic manager of SNPLA’s San Pedro clinic. Denise has worked with SNPLA for nearly 10 years and brings tremendous veterinary technician skills to her role as clinic manager. Started in 2009, the San Pedro clinic is a cornerstone of SNPLA’s spay/neuter program and is located adjacent to LA Animal Services’ Harbor Animal Care Center.