Pacific Regional Director at Best Friends Animal Society
Tucson native José Ocaño spent the first decade of his career working for Pima Animal Care Center (PACC) in Tucson, Arizona. He started as a shelter technician at the open-admission shelter, which took in more than 30,000 pets each year. After he spent his first day on the job euthanizing dozens of savable pets, José considered leaving animal welfare, but he decided to stay and work for change at the county facility.
During his tenure, José focused on community engagement and implementing progressive, lifesaving adoption, rescue and volunteer programs to increase live outcomes and decrease intake, which has declined to 18,000 pets per year. In his last role at PACC, as Executive Director, José helped launch a Pet Support Center and overhaul the shelter’s medical operations which pushed the open admission shelter’s save rate to the 90 percent it is today.
This year, José joined Best Friends Animal Society as its new Pacific Regional Director. In this role, he will work with shelters in California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii to help them achieve no-kill by 2025.