Pacific Regional Director
@ Best Friends Animal Society
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 killing dozens of saveable pets, José considered leaving animal welfare, but he decided to stay and work for change at the county facility, which at the time was killing most of the pets that entered the shelter.
During his tenure, José and his team focused on shifting the internal culture and implementing progressive adoption, rescue, community cat and volunteer programs to increase live outcomes and decrease intake, which has declined to 17,000 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 and shelter operations which pushed the open-admission shelter to become one of the most progressive and innovative shelters in the country.
In 2017, José joined Best Friends Animal Society as the new Pacific Regional Director. In this role, he works with animal welfare groups in California, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii and Alaska to support them in implementing lifesaving strategies, policies and programs to achieve No-Kill in their communities. Jose also leads the No-Kill Los Angeles initiative which focuses on bringing together passionate individuals, city shelters and an entire coalition of animal welfare organizations to end the killing of homeless pets in L.A. city shelters.
Jose says that none of his achievements would be possible without the dynamic people he’s worked for and led over the years.