Founders of Best Friends Animal Society

Anne Mejia and dog

Anne Mejia

Co-founder

Anne Mejia is one of the co-founders of Best Friends of Animal Society and currently sits on the board of directors. Anne was born in Toronto, Canada, one of 10 children and the daughter of an English mother and a French Canadian father. Anne’s ...

Cyrus Mejia and dog

Cyrus Mejia

Co-founder

Cyrus Mejia is one of the co-founders of Best Friends Animal Society. He was born in New Orleans in 1947 and raised in Mississippi by a progressive school teaching mother, and father who had recently emigrated from Columbia, South America. After high ...

Faith Maloney and black-and-white dog

Faith Maloney

Co-founder

Faith Maloney is one of the founders of Best Friends. She is a consultant in all aspects of animal care at the sanctuary, including the Best Friends clinic and adoption programs.

In the early days of Best Friends, Faith spent much of the day ...

Francis Battista and two dogs

Francis Battista

Co-founder

Francis Battista is co-founder of Best Friends Animal Society, and today, considered to be one of the foremost thought leaders in animal welfare. Born in 1945 and raised in the New York City metropolitan area, Francis has always been in the ...

Gabriel DePeyer

Gabriel DePeyer

Co-founder

Gabriel de Peyer is a co-founder of Best Friends Animal Society and the former chairman of its board of directors. In establishing the Sanctuary, he was its chief designer, organizing the layout of roads and the positioning and design of the animal ...

Gregory Castle and black German shepherd

Gregory Castle

CEO, Co-founder

Gregory Castle is a co-founder of Best Friends Animal Society and currently chief executive officer. Born and raised in England, Gregory is a graduate of Cambridge University with a master’s degree in philosophy and psychology. After his studies ...

Jana DePeyer and dog

Jana DePeyer

Co-founder

Jana de Peyer is one of the co-founders of Best Friends Animal Society and has performed many functions over the years, including initiating the Sanctuary’s first off-site adoption and membership programs. She has been involved with leading the How ...

Judah Battista and brown Chihuahua

Judah Battista

Co-founder

Judah Battista is a co-founder of Best Friends Animal Society who began his journey with the organization when he was just 14 years old. Born in Chicago in 1970, Judah was raised among many of the children of the adult co-founders of Best Friends. ...

Silva Battista and dog

Silva Battista

Co-founder

Silva Battista is one of the co-founders of Best Friends Animal Society. She holds a degree in fine art from Bristol College of Art and worked as a graphic artist and horticulturalist, including a stint in the gardens of Buckingham ...

Steven Hirano

Steven Hirano

Co-founder

Steven Hirano came to Angel Canyon in 1984 and began building. In the following seven years, he was immersed in the construction of the initial buildings and animal care areas at Best Friends. In 1991, he shifted his talents to publishing; he began ...