BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Steve Spiro

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.

RENE RUSTON

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.

PHILLIP GHARABEGIAN

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.

TALITHA DAVIES WEGNER

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 RescueThe 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.

CHRISTINA SNYDER

Board Member

Christina Snyder, philanthropist, public speaker, and champion for the defenseless, dedicates her time, passion, and resources to being a voice for the voiceless. In 2011, her eyes were opened to the plight of Pitbulls. With a conviction for righteousness and a desire to help open others’ eyes and change hearts, she is driven to rescue and rehome these beautiful beings. A victim of physical and emotional abuse growing up, as well as molestation at age 14, she understands all too well the pain so many young girls and women face or have faced. Ms. Snyder finds inspiration serving young women facing challenging circumstances, and draws from past experiences to encourage women to stay strong, even in times of adversity. She considers it a gift to be able to share from her life’s experiences to others in need and offer encouragement and hope. She is also deeply immersed in campaigns against the dog meat trades of South Korea and China, working closely with the international animals rights organization, Last Chance for Animals. Christina is the mother of a grown daughter and has 3 beautiful grandchildren. She currently mentors young leaders and resides in Laguna Beach, California.

DEAN ANTHONY THEODORE

Board Member

Dean Anthony Theodore was born and raised in Manhattan NYC and presently resides in Malibu Canyon with his wife, Dawn and his 6 Firkins. Dean was a marathon runner and triathlete. His passion for the sport, lead him to design and manufacture the Triathlon Bags worldwide. His Triathlon Bags were featured in all Nissan X Terra Trucks as he had an exclusive royalty deal with Nissan. Dean continued his love of the sport by creating, owning and producing Strawberry Fields Triathlon in Ventura County. It was a week- end event, which included Sprint and Olympic distance Triathlons in addition to 5 and 10 K races. After selling Strawberry Fields, Dean began his fitness studio, 3D Fitness in Calabasas where he trained people in GYROTONIC as well as triathlon training, boxing and designed a program for overweight children called “Fitter Not Thinner.” Dean is an entrepreneur, inventor, and he went on to design a tablet holder for children called Tablet Teddy Bears, which was featured at The CES Show in Las Vegas. Dean’s love of animals has led him to his newest occupation as a Non Anesthetic Dog Teeth cleaner. He loves working with his four legged friends to give them their beautiful smiles without the danger of putting them to sleep. Dean is working on a book called “Adonis” exploring his struggles as a male athlete with an eating disorder and exercise addiction.

LINDA RAZNICK

Board Member

Los Angeles born and raised and now a native to equestrian-, canine- and feline-minded Hidden Hills for the past 18 years, Linda’s only nagging wish as a child was that she be given a dog! Saddled with the full-time job of raising rambunctious twins (Linda and Larry), her folks (also huge dog lovers) stalled on honoring that wish until she was old enough to walk the dog. And so began a love affair and a personal passion that never waned. She got side-tracked for several years with a legal career: cofounder and editor in chief of The Rutter Group, the highly respected and ground-breaking publishers of the California and Federal Practice Guides, Linda mixed her love for the law with her love for writing and gave “birth” to the only child, other than her dogs and horses, she ever had. After some 40 years at the helm of that endeavor, she “retired” (hating that word because she will never really “retire”), Linda moved on to the passion that tore at her heart as a child. Although she and her husband, Rob, have long supported and, indeed, bent over backwards to support many animal rescue organizations, none grabbed her more than the START folks did when they first met at the beginning of 2017. Since then, it’s been a deep dive for Linda with all four (OK, two) paws. It was a privilege for Linda and Rob to host the first-ever “annual gala” for START in September 2017; they take great pride in the outpouring of support and love that event generated. It is with her heart and soul that Linda continues in whatever capacity it may take to bring START’s message and mission forward.