Animal Welfare Assistance Group (AWAG) was founded in 1978 by Gwendolyn R. May and Claude, the Countess of Kinnoull.   Gwendolyn May was the first Executive Director of the Monterey County Humane Society, a position that she held for 13 years. It was through her contacts and relationships built over the years doing humane work in the area, that many individuals came forward to support the new venture.

Mrs. May was also responsible for acquiring and building the present SPCA facilities on Highway 68. This was accomplished through her hard work with animals in Monterey County and with the financial backing of Lady Kinnoull and Mr. and Mrs. Grover Hermann.

After Gwendolyn R. May’s retirement from the Monterey County SPCA, she and Lady Kinnoull, with the backing of Mr. and Mrs. Grover Hermann, established AWAG, a full Humane Society serving Monterey County. AWAG was founded with mission of assisting pets and their owners specifically in areas where the animal’s needs were not being met, such as with food and veterinary care.

In 1984 Gwendolyn R. May’s daughter, Sherrie May took over as President and Executive Director of AWAG. Sherrie May had been involved in humane work in Monterey County for over 35 years. She worked at the Monterey SPCA, where she founded the Humane Education Program and was its first Director. She was also a State Humane Officer and successfully prosecuted humane cases through the court system.

Sherrie May passed away in July of 2012 and Cathi Cristobal took over as Board President and Interim Executive Director. Ms. Cristobel was an Animal Control officer on the Monterey Peninsula for more than 34 years and is well respected in the animal welfare community.

In September 2013, Roxane Fritz came on board as Executive Director.  Roxane was an attorney for more than 20 years and has been involved with starting and running non-profit pug dog rescues in Northern California for 17 years.

Mission Statement


Animal Welfare Assistance Group, Inc. (“AWAG”) is organized and operated for purposes of promoting the welfare of, and reducing the number of surrendered and abandoned, companion animals in Monterey County.  In furtherance of such purposes, the organization shall engage in the following specific activities:


  1. Educate the public about available spay and neutering programs for companion animals and provide financial assistance to disadvantaged pet owners/guardians for spay and neutering services.
  2. Educate the public about reduced-cost veterinary care available to the public, and provide financial assistance to disadvantaged and responsible owners and guardians of companion animals when life-saving or cost-prohibitive veterinary care or medication is needed.
  3. Provide pet food and supplies to disadvantaged and responsible owners and guardians of companion animals, including, without limitation, disabled veterans, owners of service animals, and low income seniors, families, and individuals
  4. Develop and operate such additional programs as may fill the gaps as now or may in the future exist in animal care and welfare services in Monterey County.
  5. Operate a benefit shop in support of the organization’s programs and services, and (vi) conduct other activities and programs which advance the above stated purposes of the organization.