Staff & Volunteers

VOCAL is not your typical animal welfare group. Our dedicated staff and volunteers set the pace for efforts to help the local pet population. To learn about our staff members and volunteers, please continue reading.

Kate Rengel

Executive Director/Founder

Kate Rengel is the Executive Director at animal adoption center V.O.C.A.L.

Kate, our Executive Director, has been rescuing dogs since she was 19 years old. After graduating Magna Cum Laude with a degree in finance from Florida State University, Kate and her husband, Stephen, settled in Ocala, Florida with their two dogs, Riley and Reese. Since then, Kate and her husband Stephen have adopted three more rescue dogs, and frequently have a foster or two (of the canine or feline variety) in their home. Kate saw the extreme need for low-cost spay and neuter options in the Marion County area while working with local shelters and was determined to be part of the solution. She believes that Marion County can become a no-kill county with the help of many dedicated people.

Elizabeth Ivory

Office Coordinator

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Elizabeth was the kind of child that was always begging her parents to take in the stray and homeless animals that crossed her path.
Growing up, Elizabeth witnessed first-hand how poorly some animals
were treated and always wanted to help more of them. When she was old enough to volunteer, she started in local shelters.  Elizabeth gives her time, her energy and her heart to animal welfare. She is dedicated to helping VOCAL achieve the goal of solving the homeless pet problem through prevention and rescue.
She has put her considerable technical knowledge and computer skills to good use in the VOCAL office.  She has a “can do” approach to her work and keeps things running smoothly.
Elizabeth believes that Marion County can become a No Kill county and lead the way for other areas to follow.  Her family of four includes 3 rescued cats and Dig Dug; a dog found abandoned in the Ocala National Forest.

Heather Sulecki

Cat Coordinator

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Heather has lived in a Ocala for many years. She has raised two children and currently has several four legged kids in her home. Her two newest cats are rescues from right here in Marion County. Through rescuing these little babies and volunteering with VOCAL, she has realized first hand the crisis cats are facing in this community. Heather is passionate about helping once homeless cats find their forever loving homes just like her own rescues.

Astrid “Mimi” Buendia

Behaviorist/Trainer

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Mimi has been a successful law professional for many years, but her love for animals moved her to pursue a career in their behavior and well-being.

She is an Animal Behaviorist Counselor certified by ABC College, specializing in dogs and cats. She has been with animals all her life, and she has witnessed how frustrating is for humans to be unable to communicate with their pets, or to have a broken relationship with them, due to lack of understanding. She solves this issue by using the concept of positive obedience training. Through her work, Mimi’s goal is to make your dog trust, respect, and love you.

Dr. Maggie Bell

Bereavement Counselor

Dr. Maggie Bell is part of the team at this Marion County animal rescue center

Maggie is a local physician with the Ocala Hospitalist Group. Maggie also has a master’s degree in psychology and was a social worker for 15 years before she became a physician.
Maggie and her husband, Darcy, have been rescuing unwanted dogs for 20 years. They currently have five dogs in their family, including Cinco (pictured), who was rescued in Mexico. Maggie is a tireless volunteer who makes a difference in the lives of neglected animals and has a particular affinity for abused pit bulls.

Keep learning about VOCAL and how it’s different from your average pet organization by contacting us today!