José Ocaño, Pacific Regional Director
State of Hawaii
California counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno, Imperial, Los Angeles, Marin, Monterey, Riverside, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz
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 saveable 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 PACC’s Pet Support Center and overhaul the shelter’s medical operations. He pushed the open-admission shelter’s save rate to the 90 percent it is today.
In 2017, José joined the Best Friends team 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.