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Francis Battista - ideas for shelter/rescue leaders to do now

Guest: Francis Battista is co-founder and chairman of the board of Best Friends Animal Society. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Francis managed the Best Friends rescue shelters in Tylertown, Mississippi, and Metairie, Louisiana. Francis was also involved in the negotiations with federal agencies and courts that brought 22 of Michael Vick’s dogs to Best Friends. In 2012, Francis was instrumental in launching No-Kill Los Angeles. He is also a writer and internal consultant for Best Friends.

Main question: What do you think shelter and rescue leaders should be thinking about in this current public health crisis?


  • Push toward community solutions. As a result of the pandemic many organizations saw a surge of willing foster caregivers and adopters. We should continue the momentum and engage the community still further in our work including in efforts to prevent animals from entering the shelter in the first place.

  • Seek ways to better utilize the talents of volunteers. Ask what their skill sets are and what they think they could do to best help the organization.

  • Actively work to support animal lovers within communities of color in developing networks to help animals. A good way to start, if you have not done so in the past, may be hosting adoption events to connect with people in communities where your organization has not historically had much engagement.



Recorded August 6, 2020.

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