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Tulsa Animal Welfare and Best Friends Animal Society Team Up to Increase Pet Lifesaving

This article was archived on 1/1/0001

National Animal Welfare Organization to Embed Staff at Shelter

The City of Tulsa and Best Friends Animal Society have entered a partnership for the organization to serve as a consultant for the City’s animal shelter. As part of the partnership, the Tulsa Animal Welfare shelter will participate in the organization’s Embed Program where for one year, two Best Friends staff will work on-site, or “embed” at the City of Tulsa Animal Welfare shelter. The Best Friends Animal Society Embed Program aims to help local shelters around the country improve shelter operations and institutionalize national best practices.

“Partnering with the Best Friends Animal Society will empower and support City staff to realize their vision of a world-class animal welfare system,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “It’s an important next step in our focused effort to improve animal welfare operations and outcomes.”

“In 2018, Best Friends expanded our Embed Program to include shelter operations to increase adoptions and improve operational protocols,” said Brent Toellner, Senior Director, National Programs, Best Friends Animal Society. “We are excited to get started with the dedicated and passionate shelter staff in Tulsa. We know that by bringing proven lifesaving approaches to the work they are doing, we will see the same kind of successes we’re seeing at other shelters around the country.”

In 2018, the City and partner organizations announced eight items to further advance animal welfare advocacy and operations in the City of Tulsa. Part of those recommendations included adding 12 new field and shelter positions, hire a consultant to maximize current shelter space for efficient use, and develop a full-scale outreach program to improve compliance with animal welfare regulations and other aspects of responsible pet ownership.

“While working under the city’s direction, the Best Friends team will help us rethink the way we do business, creating a more comprehensive and holistic approach to our services,” said Dwain Midget, Director, Working in Neighborhoods. “We need a transformation where the focus is on animal care as much as animal control.”

Last year, the City also issued a Request for Competitive Sealed Proposals (CSP) for management of the City’s Animal Shelter (separate from animal control field operations and law enforcement, which must remain City functions).

The process gave qualified and experienced animal shelter operators an opportunity to demonstrate how they could help the City improve performance and meet its goals for animal welfare. It also empowered City staff to think outside the box and propose new ideas for managing shelter operations. Ultimately, the City’s Animal Welfare staff developed a clear path moving forward that would overhaul the current structure at Animal Welfare while identifying processes that would lead to stronger management with better shelter operations, including management with organizational changes, partnership with local non-profit agencies and facility upgrades. 

About Best Friends Animal Society

Best Friends Animal Society is a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters by 2025. Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer in the no-kill movement and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from an estimated 17 million per year to around 625,000. Best Friends runs lifesaving programs all across the country, as well as the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary. Working collaboratively with a network of more than 3,200 animal welfare and shelter partners, and community members nationwide, Best Friends is working to Save Them All®. For more information, visit