BFAS founders with a dog

Crazy Ones, Misfits, Rebels

In 1984, the founders of Best Friends made a promise to one another and to the animals already in their care – that they would build an animal sanctuary in Southern Utah where they could dedicate their lives to housing and finding homes for unwanted pets while advocating for the importance of no-kill. At that time, shelters across America routinely killed cats and dogs as the primary method of pet population control. There wasn’t a national voice to end the killing. However, as the founders began to broaden the reach of Best Friends, they quickly learned that others would stand with them. Over 30 years later, they’ve inspired others throughout the country to take up the mantle of no-kill and helped to reduce the number of animals being killed in shelters.


Francis Battista, Co-Founder and Board Chair

Judah Battista, Co-Founder and Chief Sanctuary Officer

Silva Battista, Co-Founder

Gregory Castle, Co-Founder and CEO emeritus

Gabriel de Peyer, Co-Founder

Jana de Peyer, Co-Founder

Steven Hirano, Co-Founder

Faith Maloney, Co-Founder

Anne Mejia, Co-Founder and Board Secretary

Cyrus Mejia, Co-Founder and Board Member