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About us

Spay and Neuter Syracuse was founded by the Syracuse Onondaga Cat Council. The Council was comprised of local veterinarians, licensed veterinary technicians, rescuers, and concerned citizens who banded together in an effort to address the animal overpopulation problem in Central New York.

Spay and Neuter Syracuse is a 501c3 non-profit low-cost spay and neuter clinic devoted to the sterilization of homeless animals and pets belonging to people of low income in the Central New York area. SANS first opened its doors on November 13, 2005. It is the first and only low-cost spay and neuter clinic in Onondaga County.

Our mission is to provide low-cost spay and neuter services for low income household pets, students, veterans, and animal rescuers in the Syracuse area.

This will be accomplished by:


1. Performing high quality sterilization surgeries for dogs and cats to prevent homeless animals from being born.

2. Educating the public about dog and cat overpopulation, sterilization, and responsible animal ownership.

3. Providing exemplary services that are low-cost for financially disadvantaged families by caring, friendly and professional staff.

Today, SANS Clinic continues to grow operating 3-5 days per week performing between 18 and 35 surgeries each day.

At SANS, our Board of Directors is involved in all aspects of the organization. The Board is all-volunteer and provides experience needed to achieve the strategic goals of the SANS organization as defined by the mission statement.

Board President

Michael Moynihan, D.D.S

Michael joined the Board of Directors at SANS in 2010.  He has many years of experience working as a cat rescuer and volunteer with shelters, veterinarians, and humane law enforcement officers. Presently he is working with KittyCorner of CNY, the Cortland SPCA, and as a supporter of Big Cat Rescue (Tampa Florida). Michael has a B.A. in Biology from Dowling College and experience as both a science tutor and as a veterinary assistant. He received his DDS and post-doctoral training at Columbia University where he was involved with physiology research and, eventually teaching. After moving to Syracuse in 1995, he joined the Medical Education Department of St. Joseph’s Hospital where he volunteers his time teaching and serving as an advisor the residents in the clinic. Michael is in private practice with Endodontics Associates as a root canal specialist.

Board Vice President

Karen Storne

Karen joined the Board of Directors at SANS in 2011 and serves as Vice President. Karen manages the grant and fundraising committees at SANS, including the annual PAWCASSO event. She has worked in Environmental Consulting for over 35 years and is currently a Technical Associate at Ramboll. She has a B.S. degree in Chemistry from Syracuse University and a degree in Respiratory Therapy from Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse. Karen has been involved in volunteering with animal welfare organizations for the last twelve years and served as Chairperson of the Bone Appétit event, raising over $17,000 for the Wanderers’ Rest Humane Association. Karen has also completed courses at the Veterinary Technology Distance Learning Program at Purdue University in order to gain knowledge in the animal care field. She attended the 2010 Best Friends No-More-Homeless conference in Las Vegas and met with the Mayor’s Alliance in New York City in 2010. Karen believes in giving back to the community through the promotion of animal welfare and has a special interest in diminishing the overall mental and physical suffering of abandoned companion animals.

Board Secretary

Peggy Ries

Peggy joined the Board of Directors at SANS in 2015 after several years as a volunteer involved in marketing and communications for PAWCASSO. Peggy is a passionate advocate for animal welfare, social justice, and environmental causes. She began working at her dad’s advertising agency at an early age, and she now has more than 30 years of experience in marketing and communications. As Marketing Leader at Brierley Associates, she manages marketing activities for this engineering firm. She also serves on the board of the Central New York Land Trust.

Board Treasurer 

Dan McClung

Dan joined the Board of Directors at SANS in 2012. He has been fundraising for Spay and Neuter Syracuse since the first PAWCASSO event in 2007 and his involvement has grown over the years to include development of a computerized event management system, training and coordination of volunteers, and automating registration and checkout.  Dan earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering from RIT and his MS in Computer Engineering from Syracuse University. Dan is also a graduate from the Advanced Course in Engineering from Syracuse University. He has 15 years of engineering experience in a variety of applications including building systems, medical devices, industrial controls, and embedded systems. He is currently a senior systems engineer at INFICON working with remote imaging technology for industrial applications.   Previous employment includes senior engineer at GE Inspection Technologies working with remote imaging technology for industrial applications.

Board Member

Lauren Bachiller

Lauren is a new board member who joined in June of 2022. She is an experienced animal rescuer that has volunteered for several organizations. She currently focuses her efforts on cat rescue and has found homes for several hundreds of them over the years. Spay and neuter services are important to Lauren because they are critical to reducing the population of homeless animals. She looks forward to making an impact in the community through her work with SANS.

SANS Leadership

Clinic Manager

MaryKay Tracy

MaryKay joined the SANS team in 2018. She has worked in the animal field since 1992 starting in the pet trade field.  In 1997 she owned a pet store where she wanted to make sure people were getting healthy pets.  In 2002 she started at Chittenango Animal Hospital as a receptionist/vet assistant. During her time at Chittenango Animal Hospital she grew passionate about client education and low stress handling. MaryKay is passionate about animal welfare and the many benefits of spay/neuter.

Medical Director

Laura Cook, D.V.M.

Dr. Cook is a 1989 graduate of The College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University. She has been in small animal practice in Chittenango since graduation, and has strong interests in surgery and behavior. She has been at SANS since 2013, and is a former member of the Board of Directors and currently oversees clinic operations. She is also on-site supervisor of the New York State Veterinary Medical Society exhibit at the New York State Fair, is a member of two community bands and is very active in her church. She was awarded Veterinarian of the Year in 2015 by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation. Her involvement with animals dates back to childhood, and includes horseback riding, showing dogs in obedience, wildlife rehabilitation, and sharing her life with countless cats and dogs. Before vet school, she was a humane officer and director at Tompkins County SPCA. She has two married children and two delightful granddaughters, and currently shares her home with three dogs and two cats.

Licensed Veterinarian

H. Heinzerling, D.V.M.

Dr. Heinzerling received her B.S. and D.V.M. degrees from Cornell University and has worked in many aspects of veterinary medicine including as a bovine practitioner, a regulatory racetrack veterinarian and as a wildlife vet at a jungle wildlife refuge in Bolivia where she continues to work with mostly pumas and jaguars. Over the years, she has developed a deep fondness and fascination for felines, big and small, and is an advocate for the conservation of large wild felids worldwide. She particularly enjoys surgery and is delighted to be able to work at SANS, where she has worked since 2014. Dr. Heinzerling has also spent many years traveling and working overseas, mainly in Central Asia, South America, Australia and New Zealand and has worked not only as a veterinarian but as a mountain guide in Patagonia, a trail ride guide in the Australian Outback, an actress and as a Spanish/English translator. Her hobbies are anything that involves mountains.

Our Veterinarians

Licensed Veterinarian

M. Ferrs, D.V.M.

 Dr. Ferris joined our team in early 2022. She grew up in the southwestern part of Virginia near Tennessee in coal country of the Appalachian Mountains.  She went to college and earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA in 1991. She continued her education and received her B.S. and D.V.M. from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in 1995. 


She started working in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia at a mixed practice and spent most of my career doing small animal medicine in Virginia. After 26 years she and her family moved to upstate NY to be closer to her husband’s family.  She enjoys spending her free time with her two kids, four standard poodles and two cats. 

Licensed Veterinarian

C. Fredenburg, BVSc

Dr. Fredenburg Joined SANS Mid September 2023. She started her Veterinarian career as a technician and then continued her studies and received her bachelor in Veterinary Science from University of Sydney in 2015.  She has gone through surgical training with ASPCA Spay/Neuter Alliance in 2018 and 2021.  From there she has dedicated her profession to small animals with special interests in HQHVSN (high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter), shelter medicine and feline medicine. 

Licensed Veterinarian

J.Risser, DVM

Dr. Risser has joined SANS in April of 2023.  She has gone to Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2002 and the University of Florida (Maddie's Fund Shelter Medicine Certificate in 2018.  She was a general practitioner for 16 years in Jefferson County and currently has 4 years experience in HQHVSN (high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter), and shelter medicine. Recover CPR Certified- Renewed in 2023, and has been a Fear Free Certified Professional since 2018. An AVMA member since 2002 and has participated in World Vets spay/neuter clinics in Roatan, Honduras from 2012-2018.

Licensed Veterinarian

J. Gorman, DVM

Dr. Gorman has joined SANS in July of 2023 and was licensed in NY in 2021.   He enjoys working in private practice along with giving us time at SANS to help our Spay/Neuter mission.  

Licensed Veterinarian

E. Barnes, DVM

Dr. Barnes has joined SANS in October of 2023.  After being in private practice, general surgery, and dentistry for 23 years, doctor Barnes has dedicated herself to HQHVSN (high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter).  With about 3 years of HQHVSN surgery experience and an excellent work ethic we are happy to have doctor Barnes with us.

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