Southern Utah University recognizes Best Friends’ new animal services leadership program

Animal services is a rapidly evolving professional field that calls for a command of complex skill sets. Best Friends Animal Society and Southern Utah University have announced a partnership for a groundbreaking program focused on developing the high-level professional skills needed to end the killing of pets in our nation’s shelters. The leaders who graduate from this program will be better equipped to lead transformational change in animal services departments, making a positive impact not just for companion animals, but for community wellness, social services, and public health and safety.

Animal services leadership program endorsed by Southern Utah University

The Best Friends Executive Leadership Certification (ELC) is the nation’s first university-endorsed executive leadership program with a focus on the top-level leadership skills needed to end the killing of pets in our nation’s shelters. By using data and proven strategies from across the country, the ELC program offers clarity on what a successful animal services professional looks like.

During the six-month program, students will:

  • Examine and study the programs that reduce the killing of dogs, cats and other companion animals in shelters
  • Create a supportive community of professional animal services leaders
  • Craft a lifesaving-centric business plan tailored for their organizations 
  • Define and create a clear path to lifesaving success

“This is a powerful partnership. The Best Friends Executive Leadership Certification is rooted in proven animal services leadership techniques, skills, programs and policies. While other educational certificates may exist, none of them have the academic rigor and customized learning modules for working professionals along with a focus on the high-level professional excellence necessary to end the killing of pets in shelters.”

– Julie Castle, Best Friends Animal Society CEO

Read more about the announcement of the Executive Leadership Program.

For more information, please email

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