Thank you for visiting FiXiT Foundation’s blog, written by Shelly Breitbeil and Kellie Heckman.

Every day over 11,000 companion animals are killed in U.S. shelters. FiXiT Foundation was formed to combat this overpopulation crisis by identifying the reason some populations are not spaying and neutering their companion animals, even when low cost or free programs are available. FiXiT will conduct market research studies in order to identify the tipping point via messages such as free and incentive-based spay and neuter programs. This concept will be tested over the next few years on the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands – vital information gathered in a controlled environment will help us launch this program throughout the mainland U.S. For more details about the Island Project, please visit http://www.fixit-foundation.org/stcroix.

A huge thank you goes out to our volunteer blogger, Shelly Breitbeil. Shelly turned her passion for helping animals into a profession when she joined PETA’s staff in 1999.  As their Media Liaison, she worked directly with PETA representatives and prominent media outlets to get maximum media exposure for PETA’s message of compassion towards animals. She then joined PETA’s Writers’ Group as manager of the Member Mail Department, putting her in direct contact with thousands of members and non-members alike who wrote PETA each week seeking guidance on how best to help animals.

Having left the PETA staff to pursue her M.S. Ed. at Old Dominion University, Shelly continues to use her voice for animals by volunteering for the FiXiT Foundation as a writer and editor.  She lives in Virginia with her family and her rescued-and-now-quite-spoiled tuxedo cat, Reo.

Our Executive Director, Dr. Kellie Heckman brings her background in research science to FiXiT Foundation. Her experience in science includes the use of genetic tools to examine the evolutionary relationships and the examiniation of natural populations in a variety of animal groups. During her PhD research at Northwestern University, she examined the evolutionary history of mouse lemur species, the world’s smallest primates. At Yale University, her postdoctoral research focused on the population biology of North American freshwater and Mediterranean fish species.

Kellie also provides nearly a decade of animal welfare experience. She was a member of the executive committee of the Friends of the New Haven Animal Shelter and performed additional duties for the organization during her 7 year tenure, including volunteer orientation, fundraising, and feline socialization. In addition, Heckman was also involved with trap-neuter-release efforts in New Haven, CT. Heckman would then use her research background in PETA’s Corporate Affairs Department, supporting the animal welfare movement with hard science.

Kellie received her Bachelor of Science degree in population biology from Purdue University and doctorate in evolutionary biology from Norwestern University.

She currently teaches biology online for Tidewater Community College in Norfolk, VA. and is residing on St. Croix to oversee the Island Project – please check in to read about Kellie’s progress!


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