Leadership

Lindsey Ortiz, President of the Board of Directors

lindsey_ortizLindsey Ortiz has been a long time animal lover with previous volunteer work and employment in local no-kill shelters and rescues. She and her husband Landon adopted their first pittie in 2009 and became forever advocates for the breed, later adopting another.

Lindsey served as Event Chair for LOVE-A-BULL starting in 2010 and joined the Board in 2014. She uses her background in non-profit fundraising to organize and plan LOVE-A-BULL org’s events throughout the year, raising tens of thousands of dollars to help pit bull type dogs. A community warrior, she prides herself on volunteer comradery and networking with people who can truly influence and change negative perceptions about pit bull type dogs.

Lindsey is a proud mother of a pittie-loving girl and future LOVE-A-BULL volunteer named Kenzie.  Her four-legged babies include Julie the pittie, Vinnie the 100lb pittie mix, Kobe the dachshund mutt and best good boy.

Lindsey will forever be a proud pittie mom, advocate, and educator for the breed.

Kat Peterson, Treasurer of the Board of Directors

IMG_8363Kat Peterson is an animal welfare advocate and cherishes the important role all pets play in our lives. She is an avid cat-lover and parent to three adorable kittens. Kat was first introduced to LOVE-A-BULL and the Pit Bull “breed” by her sister and the many pit bulls that she has owned and fostered over the years.

In 2009, Kat joined LOVE-A-BULL as the organization’s accountant, working to protect the financial health and offer guidance to all involved on the fiduciary responsibilities required in running a non-profit. In April of 2016, Kat decided to increase her dedication to LOVE-A-BULL and join the Board of Directors in order to help ensure pit bull-type dogs get the respect they deserve.

Crystal Dunn, Vice President of the Board of Directors

Crystal will happily tell you that her favorite people are mostly canine. She started training dogs professionally in 2006, where she came to know and adore many pit bull-type dogs through her clients. Their quirky nature, loyal hearts, and versatile abilities made them shine in training and it became clear that their bad rap was due to human error.

Over the years since, Crystal has worked with Houston and Austin rescues and shelters to rehabilitate abused Pits and Pit Mixes. She even helped overhaul a shelter known for high kill stats, moving them toward a no-kill model. She owned and trained under Leaps N’ Hounds for ten years, managed a luxury pet resort, and has privately trained thousands of dogs and a few trainers too. She holds a CPDT-KA, Instructor Certifications, and has an extensive background in animal-assisted therapy.

Crystal has been involved with LOVE-A-BULL org since 2010, training and heading up the Pit Crew Therapy Dog program. She joined the board in 2016 and currently serves as Vice President. Crystal now writes full time and lives with her husband and daughter, a pointer mix named Jack, a shepherd mix named Lyla, and an aspiring therapy Pit Bull named Winnie.

Kailyn LaVoie, Secretary of the Board of Directors

 

Kailyn is a life-long animal lover and in 2014 committed to living a lifestyle truly in line with animal welfare. Her passion has always been dogs – especially those that face the biggest challenges. She believes in correcting the skewed image of pit bull-type dogs through increasing personal interactions with the wide-mouthed wiggle butts, remedying the myths (both positive and negative) around the history and traits of these dogs, and helping people to think critically about the current information available around dogs, which is frequently inaccurate or misleading.
Upon seeing that her values were shared with LOVE-A-BULL org, Kailyn joined the event team in 2016 and became the secretary of the board in 2019. She believes deeply in rescue and as a result has been providing love and housing to her free-loading mutt, Boone, since 2012, and Science, her pit bull-type pup, since 2014. Her dream is for compassion and respect to be extended to all animals. Her action plan is to start that message through the rescue of our beautiful and deserving furry friends.

 

Ashlee Lukoff, Volunteer Coordinator

Ashlee’s love for Pit Bulls started about 15 years ago when she fell in love with her first American Staffordshire Terrier, Mason. After meeting Mason and adding him to her family, Ashley became an active volunteer for a Delaware Pit Bull rescue, Response-A-Bull. Ashley assisted in walking the dogs in the shelter and with hosting fundraising events for the organization. Response-A-Bull introduced her to her next pittie, Lucy, and Ashlee became what we lovingly refer to as a “foster failure”. Ashlee and Lucy currently spend their time running, hiking, reading and napping.

After moving to Austin about 4 years ago, Ashlee wanted to continue working with Pit Bull rescues and helping to put an end to all the myths and misaligned judgments that surround these dogs. She did a little research and came across LOVE-A-BULL. As a Love-A-Bull volunteer, Ashlee has worked closely with the Events team which hosts multiple fundraising events throughout the year. Ashlee’s bubbly, outgoing personality and passion for Pit Bulls make her the perfect addition to the LOVE-A-BULL leadership team as the organization’s Volunteer Coordinator.

Brian Beardsley, Community Outreach and Education Chair

Brian came to Texas in 2014 from Seattle. He brought along with him his furry boy Sam, a rescued Mastiff mix. Brian’s first volunteer opportunity came with Austin Pets Alive! (APA!). While volunteering at APA!, the big flood of 2015 hit and Brian rescued another pup, “Tug”. Brian’s dedication to volunteering and the dogs he took responsibility for, led him to advocate for a pittie named Finn. In his search for resources and options for Finn, Brian found the LOVE-A-BULL organization and has been actively involved with the organization for two years. As a volunteer for LOVE-A-BULL, Brian attends multiple outreach events where he discusses proper care for dogs, resources that the LOVE-A-BULL organization offers, such as the free obedience training and of course the dogs in our care up for adoption. In addition to his involvement with Community Outreach and Education, Brian can frequently be found walking Adopt-A-Bulls in boarding that are waiting for a home, as well as assisting with transport of dogs to and from events. Brian’s genuine care for dogs, his positive attitude and eagerness to make a change in the Austin community, as well as his background in training and education, make him a true asset as the organization’s Community Outreach and Education Chair.

Previous Board Members


Lydia Zaidman and Meghan Wells , Co-Founders LOVE-A-BULL

In 2005, Meghan Wells took over leadership of the Austin American Pit Bull Terrier Meetup group, a small group of pit bull advocates who took monthly “fun walks” around downtown. Later, Meghan joined forces with Lydia Zaidman, another one of the active meetup members, to transform the meetup group into a vehicle to change minds and fight negative stereotypes surrounding pit bull-type dogs. Together, they founded LOVE-A-BULL. In 2008, with a huge dream and a lot of hard work, Lydia and Meghan turned LOVE-A-BULLinto a 501(c)3 not for profit organization. Meghan along with her pittie, May and Lydia along with her pitties, Mocha and Lucy, worked tirelessly to help educate the public on the truths about pit bull-type dogs and to advocate for just how amazing these dogs can be. Since its inception, Meghan and Lydia have helped to shape LOVE-A-BULL into what it has become today: a thriving education, advocacy, and rescue organization whose primary mission is to promote responsible guardianship and improve the image and lives of pit bull-type dogs. While serving the organization, Lydia helped found Pit Crew Therapy Dog Program of which she and Mocha served in, until Mocha’s passing. While serving LOVE-A-BULL, Meghan spearheaded multiple education and outreach efforts, including conference workshops, community resource fairs, interviews, and research projects, and partnerships to spread awareness of our mission and goals. She led countless free spay/neuter clinics and helped co-found the low-cost training program still offered to the Austin community to this day. Both Lydia and Meghan served tirelessly on the Board of Directors before ending their tenure in 2014. They remain active as volunteers, relentless supporters, adopters and fosters for the organization.

LOVE-A-BULL would not be the amazing organization that it is without their dedication and hard work. A huge thank you goes out to these amazing women and all they have accomplished for pit bull-type dogs everywhere!

 

Brandy Lord, Board Member

Brandy Lord has been an avid pit bull lover since her teenage years. She began her relationship with LOVE-A-BULL in 2012 after adopting Mr. Felix as a playmate for her female pittie, Karma. Brandy continued to become more heavily involved in the organization as a trainer and foster. In 2014, Brandy was ecstatic to be offered the opportunity to sit as part the Board of Directors. Her “get it done” attitude has proven to be a valued trait to the organization as LOVE-A-BULL continues to press forward with its mission of changing the negative stereotypes surrounding pit bull-type dogs. In 2015, Brandy adopted her second pit bull from LOVE-A-BULL, Mama Jade, completing her pack of 3. She looks forward to a day when all dogs are seen as individuals and when discrimination based on breed is outlawed everywhere. Brandy stepped down from the board in 2018 and remains a volunteer.

Amber Mitchell, Board Member

bio_amberAmber Mitchell discovered LOVE-A-BULL at one of the organization’s adoption events in 2012. She had recently seen the disproportionate amount of pit bull-type dogs waiting for adoption at one of Austin’s local animal shelters and knew she wanted to be involved with an organization that was advocating for and reestablishing the positive image of the pit bull. Amber joined  LOVE-A-BULL as a foster mom to Adopt-A-Bull Boots and soon became what many rescuers lovingly refer to as a “foster failure”. Although she couldn’t resist adopting Boots, Amber knew she didn’t want her involvement to stop at being an adopter and in July of 2014 she became Volunteer Coordinator. She enjoys helping volunteers find their special niche in the organization and she is continually impressed with the time and passion of our volunteer community. In early 2015 Amber Mitchell joined the Board of Directors and has become a valued part of the leadership team for the organization. Amber stepped down from her position on the board in December of 2017 and remains a volunteer.

Megan Ransom, Board Member

bio_meganMegan Ransom has been working against negative stereotypes associated with pit bull-type dogs since she and her husband, Josh adopted their first pit bull mix in 2008. They welcomed Howie into their Indiana home after months of fostering him and facing the discrimination pit bull guardians face everyday. Megan has since been a dedicated and responsible guardian, training Howie to be an ambassador for his breed. Megan has been part of the LOVE-A-BULL team since relocating to Austin in 2010. She and Josh added a second pittie to their pack in 2012, Pete, who landed a spot in their home after being fostered through the LOVE-A-BULL Rescue Program. Pete was pulled from the Austin Animal Center where he came in as a city stray, neglected and heartworm positive. Pete passed his CGC in 2013 and has been Part of the Pit Crew Therapy Dog Program for over a year. Pete and Megan enjoy visiting local nursing homes, schools, and attending community outreach events with their fellow Pit Crew members–changing minds and spreading the love that pit bull-type dogs have to give! Pete, Howie & their canine sister Hope welcome new foster dogs into their home and make them feel at ease by allowing them to fit right into the pack! Megan works closely with the adopt-a-bulls in our rescue program and has presented on behalf of LOVE-A-BULL at conferences such as American Pets Alive. Megan stepped down from the board in November of 2015 after seven years of service.

Leala Ward, Board Member

bio_lealaLeala Ward became an advocate for pit bulls in 2006 when she adopted her handsome boy Leo. Now living with a houseful of wonderful pit bulls, Leala has been confronted with many of the pit bulls stereotypes and myths. As a result, Leala was overwhelmed with the need to educate. With that inspiration, Leala instantly became an active volunteer at LOVE-A-BULL. She has participated in the Low-Cost Training Program and is an active participant in many public events where LOVE-A-BULL organized grassroots education and outreach to the community. Leala is a spay/neuter fanatic and works tirelessly to help with pit bull overpopulation.  LOVE-A-BULL asked her to join the organization as a Board Member in early 2009 and she co-founded our rescue program in 2010.  Leala’s board tenure ended in April of 2016.