Everyday thousands of pets are killed in Southern and Central California shelters. START was formed in order to address the issues of overpopulation by providing two very important components:

Transport - Spay/Neuter

Transport - Spay/Neuter

SHELTER TRANSPORT ANIMAL RESUE TEAM (START) was founded by three compassionate people
who set out to make a difference in the lives of animals in need.

Steve Spiro


President and Co-Founder

Steve’s originally from London, England and resides in LA. Before forming START in May 2011 with Adam Tarshis and Rene Ruston, Steve and his wife, Suzanna, did individual rescue helping as many dogs as they could bring home or find fosters for. The goal of START was to help more animals in need on a bigger level and bring national awareness to our major animal issues. Steve is an Actor/Writer and is pictured with his beloved MOY MOY.


Treasurer and Co-Founder

Rene has been an L.A. based Realtor for the past 27 years. She balances her successful career with advocacy protests, rescuing animals from hoarding conditions and high kill shelters, going nose to nose with animal abusers and city officials alike. “It is not unusual for me to show up at a home inspection with a recently rescued pitbull in my car.” laughs Rene. In addition to co-founding START, she is on the board of The Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center (SPARC), which is the only no-kill open admission shelter in Ventura County, California. She also sits on the board of directors of Brittany Foundation, and her latest project: Rock and Rescue.



Director of Transports

While visiting her home town of Springfield, OR, Candace took her niece and nephew to visit a Humane Society and noticed they didn’t have many small dogs. She inquired with them about the possibility of transporting in dogs from California, and they said yes! The transports were born. Since then Candace has built relationships with many Humane Socieities and rescues in the Pacific Northwest and joined forces with START to continue the work of getting dogs out of high kill shelters and into groups where they are well cared for and have a new chance at life.


Board Member

Talitha Davies Wegner has been a long supporter of START Rescue as an active board member and legal counsel, but has also helped fund many START transports. Talitha’s Los Angeles practice encompasses all matters of Family Law. In addition to traditional litigation methods, Talitha is a certified family law mediator and founded the Intelligent Alternative Mediation Center to offer her clients a cost-effective, collaborative approach to divorce and other family conflicts. In addition to advocating for her clients, Talitha sits on the board of several other non-profit organizations including Rock and Rescue, The Brittany Foundation and The STAND Foundation. Tabitha donates her time and resources to give a voice to many voiceless individuals in the Los Angeles Community.



Board Member

Phillip Gharabegian is a sports entertainment business affairs attorney at Fox Sports Media Group. He has been involved in animal rights advocacy for more than 15-years and currently services on the board of the Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation. He also serves as a member of the board of directors of the Susie Spector Foundation. Phillip co-founded a Los Angeles-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization called Animal Advocates Alliance. Although Phillip loves all animals, he definitely gravitates towards Pit Bulls, Chihuahuas, Goats, Donkeys and Horses.