Who We Are

Brent Toellner sitting down and holding puppy

Brent Toellner, senior director of national programs

Brent Toellner is the Senior Director, Lifesaving Programs, for Best Friends Animal Society. In this role Brent oversees the programmatic work in the central region and the Best Friends Network Partner Program. In this role he works with the regional programs teams to create strategies to help and support shelters and Best Friends’ nearly 4000 Network Partners toward the goal of ending the killing of shelter pets by 2025.

Brent joined Best Friends in 2016 as the Regional Director of the South Central and Great Plains Regions and was responsible for connecting, consulting and collaborating with animal shelters, advocates, spay/neuter groups and rescues across the 11 states in the two regions.

Prior to joining Best Friends, Brent, his wife Michelle co-founded the Kansas City Pet Project (KCPP). In July 2011, they formed KCPP to bid on the contract to run the Kansas City, Missouri, pound — a place where, for decades, more animals died than were saved. After KCPP took over in January 2012, adoptions increased by more than 200% and helped elevate KCPP to a live release rate of more than 90% for seven consecutive years while remaining an open-admission shelter, making KC Pet Project one of the largest open-admission no kill shelters in the nation. In 2017, KCPP finished the year with a 96% Live Release Rate.

Brent has a Bachelor’s in Journalism from the University of Missouri and a Masters in Marketing Communication from the University of Kansas. Brent lives in Kansas City with his wife Michelle and share their home with both dogs and cats. His outside interests include hiking, bicycling and photography.