The former boss of Birmingham Dogs Home has admitted defrauding the charity of £640,000 over a four-year period.
Simon Price, 53, pleaded guilty at the city's magistrates' court to 10 counts of fraud by abuse of position. He denied two other charges.
His wife Alayna, who was the commercial manager, denied six fraud charges between 2014 and 2016 and transferring cash between bank accounts.
The couple, from Solihull, are due at Birmingham Crown Court on 29 November.
Mr Price was told by district judge Jan Jellema he was being sent to the crown court for sentence because the magistrates court's powers of punishment were "not sufficient".
The offences at the Solihull-based charity that Mr Price admitted to all happened between February 2012 and June last year.
The two charges the former chief executive denied were one of fraud relating to an allegation he raised a false invoice and moving £914,538.12 in criminal property between bank accounts from 2012 until July 2016.