Poverty’s Pet was founded in 2006 by Kate Sivolella.

As its name indicates, Poverty’s Pets aims to improve the lives of companion animals in low-income and under served communities. With a focus on free spay and neuter clinics, Poverty’s Pets continues to work to bring an end to animal suffering.

In 2008, “The Columbus House” was established, earning its name after Kate’s first rescue dog, Columbus. This safe- house has seen nearly 1200 dogs pass through as they made their way to forever homes. Today every dog is cared for by Connie and Josh, who live at the house and love each dog as their own as they transition from stray to being adopted. Once castaways, to a beloved family member.

Meet The Board

Kate Sivolella

Founder & Executive Director

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!

Dana Teel


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.

Sherri Hoffmann


Sherri grew up in South Lake Tahoe where her love for rescuing animals started. She is a graduate of Northern Arizona University and has been a special education teacher for over 30 years. She retired this year and now has more time on her hands to take a more active role in Poverty’s Pets. Sherri has been a part of Poverty’s Pets for many years as a volunteer, helping organize fundraisers and is proud to now serve on the board. She is married to Mark and they have two young adult sons, Blake and Connor. She currently has 5 furbabies – 3 dogs and 2 cats – and usually a fur foster.

Rachel Southard

Board Member

Rachel is a Project Management professional with a special place in her heart for helping animals. In 2010, Rachel adopted Poverty’s Pets original “untouchable dog”, Lila (formerly Jojo). With patience and love, Lila built trust and blossomed; showing love and empathy towards all beings; including her guinea pig brother, Baldwin. Following her passing in 2021, Lila left behind a heart-broken mommy and little brother. When another shy/shut-down dog joined the Poverty’s Pets family later that year, there was just “something about her” that caught Rachel’s attention. Following a road trip to Phoenix and successful introduction to Baldwin, Galena (formerly Jenny) became a “California girl” who loves her “big bro” and Baldwin enjoys bossing them both around! For over a decade now, Rachel continues her volunteer efforts and guidance to Poverty’s Pets from California.

Bill Ross

Board Member

Bill was born and raised in and around Minneapolis, MN but has called Arizona home for the last 30+ years. He graduated with a BS in Computer Science in 1989 from the University of Minnesota and an MBA from Arizona State in 2002.
Bill has served and supported local non-profits over the last 25 years including serving as Board Chair for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Central Arizona. He retired from his position as a senior executive with a Fortune 100 company in 2021 after a 31 year career. Since retiring, he enjoys traveling with friends and family when he is not supporting Poverty’s Pets animal rescue or fundraising activities. Bill and his wife Jane are blessed with two adult daughters, Allie and Kristen, and their 14 year old dog Riley. As a Board Member, Bill’s focus is working with local government officials and agencies to help drive change in local policies and ordinances to address long term challenges within our community related to animal welfare and over-population.

Lani Halican

Board Member

Lani is the Owner/Operator of a Property Maintenance & Remodeling Company in Phoenix. She moved to Arizona in 2000 and attained an Associate of Arts in Visual Communication. After some time in the design & print field she pivoted into the pet industry for almost a decade. In that time she worked as a Regional Sales Rep for a natural pet food company and managed a dog boarding & training facility that also served as a shelter for rescued dogs. Lani shares her life with wife, Christy and their pack of rescue dogs.