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Shelter and field assessment

Our shelter outreach team uses a collaborative approach to each partnership. As a rule, we avoid a one-size-fits-all approach, because just like every individual animal, each organization and the community it serves has its own individual personality and needs.

Professional assessment of shelter operations, community programs and field operations are available for each organization, and are performed on-site at your facility, in your community. Assessments are designed to identify specific areas of need and help guide the implementation of best practices in animal welfare. Ongoing support is provided during and after implementation to ensure new programs and practices are sustainable and successful. 

Assessments are free, comprehensive and include evaluation of areas such as organizational culture, internal communications, customer service, shelter policies, staff structure, population, and animal care and behavior.

Best Friends also provides hands-on training led by experienced field officers for a wide array of animal-related issues. 

If you are interested in requesting an assessment, please contact your regional specialist.

Shelter outreach leadership 

Scott Giacoppo is the Director of National Shelter Outreach for Best Friends Animal Society and oversees the development of lifesaving efficacy and sustainability for animal welfare partners across the U.S.

Through Best Friends’ shelter outreach program, Scott provides leadership and hands-on training for strategic shelter partners; conducts professional shelter operations and field assessments; and leads progressive, humane trainings for animal control agencies and officers. In his current role, Scott champions a collaborative approach to partnership and believes that each animal welfare organization, along with the community it serves, is unique and deserving of support that speaks to its individual needs.

Prior to joining Best Friends, Scott was Chief of Animal Field Services for the District of Columbia for 10 years, overseeing all animal control and cruelty investigations team members for Humane Rescue Alliance. In this role, he designed and implemented a number of successful community-based programs, helped draft and secure critical animal protection legislation, and represented the organization as a speaker at various regional and national events. He also established a trap-neuter-return program that garnered citywide support and helped reduce the percentage of stray cats killed from 85 percent to 12 percent.

Scott has been involved in animal protection since 1989, when he became an Animal Caregiver in Minneapolis. He soon returned to his hometown of Boston, Massachusetts, where he began his career with the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals as the Special State Police Officer for Cruelty Investigations. During this time, he received the Boston Police Commissioners Citation for work with dangerous dogs and street gangs, certificates of excellence for promoting and providing community policing education from the New England Crime Prevention Partnership, and a certificate of appreciation from the Rockingham County Attorney’s Office in the state of New Hampshire for assistance in investigation and prosecution of precedent-setting animal fighting cases.


Michelle Logan is the senior manager of Best Friends’ national shelter outreach team and specializes in designing and implementing programs to help shelters save more lives. Michelle works side-by-side with staff at shelters across the country to provide customized support through shelter operations assessments and professional development and training.

Prior to joining Best Friends, Michelle earned a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from the University of Rhode Island and was part of the lifesaving team at Smithtown Animal Shelter in New York where she filled a number of animal care and shelter operations roles.

In 2006, Michelle came to Best Friends where she has served as the manager of Dogtown at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah and as the operations manager for the Best Friends Network, overseeing the strategic vision of the network and team of regional specialists.

Michelle’s work at Best Friends gives her unique insight into the critical roles that different team members can play at shelters around the country. From hands-on work like scrubbing kennels and working with dogs with behavioral challenges to leading trainings on progressive programming and pioneering a mentorship program for shelter partners, Michelle is the quintessential animal welfare chameleon, assuming various roles as needed to best support team members and save the most lives.

The celebrated recipient of the “Energizer Bunny” award at Bridgeway Connections for her tireless work on behalf of her own community, Michelle now lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her two rescued dogs and two former community cats.


Michelle Dosson is a shelter outreach manager for Best Friends Animal Society, providing leadership and training for strategic shelter partners across the country. Through Best Friends’ shelter outreach program, Michelle conducts professional shelter operations and field assessments, and leads progressive, humane trainings for animal control agencies and officers.

Prior to joining Best Friends and serving as a regional specialist for Best Friends Network partners in the Great Plains region, Michelle spent a decade implementing progressive community outreach programs and developing expertise in local and state legislation through Austin Animal Services. While working as a public health educator through the field services department, she created and led programs for the Austin community that included spay/neuter services for companion animals and trap-neuter-return for community cats.

Michelle has worked in public service for more than 15 years. Born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, she nurtured a deep passion for helping animals — both human and non-human — at a very early age through volunteer work with the Cape Town SPCA and local wildlife services.

After moving to the U.S. in 1997 for an athletic scholarship, Michelle found her way to the City of Richmond Animal Care and Control in Virginia, where she worked as an animal caregiver, veterinary services technician and adoptions counselor. In 2008, she began a field services career as an animal protection officer for the city of Austin, Texas, just two years prior to the city passing its no-kill implementation plan. Michelle’s experience as a field officer before, during and after Austin’s journey to no-kill offers her unique insight into programming that prioritizes lifesaving.

Michelle still resides in Austin with her canine companions, Drexil and Maggie, and cares for a small community cat colony. When not out championing lifesaving work for our four-legged friends, Michelle can usually be found lifting at the gym or rolling with the Texas Rollergirls.


Patricia (Trish) Tolbert is the development strategist and was “that kid who brought home all the stray and injured animals,” so it’s not surprising that her professional and personal life has been focused on furry and feathered friends. Trish has served as the executive director of the Memphis Zoological Society, associate director of The Nature Conservancy’s Philanthropy Learning Center, and coach/consultant/trainer to client organizations as varied as the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, World Wildlife, Catholic Charities, Special Olympics International, the University of Massachusetts, and (Australian) Trust for Nature.

While most of her career has been spent in raising funds (or helping others learn fundraising skills), Trish has also served on the grantmaking side of the desk, conducting site visits and grantee evaluations that enabled a private foundation client to make meaningful decisions and award over $10M to small, local nonprofits in Washington, D.C.

Trish earned her M.A. from the University of Manchester in Manchester, UK and her B.A. at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, TN. She holds certificates in nonprofit management and documentary arts from Duke University affiliates and lives near Chapel Hill, NC, with her vet tech husband and four community cats.