Senior Director, Lifesaving Programs
Brent Toellner is the Senior Director, Lifesaving Programs, for Best Friends Animal Society. Brent oversees Best Friends’ programmatic work in the 17 states across the central region. In this role he works with the regional programs teams and lifesaving centers to create strategies and programs to support shelters and Best Friends’ more than 4,200 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. KCPP has sustained no kill for more than a decade.
Brent has spoken at many National Animal Welfare Conferences including the Best Friends National Conference, American Pets Alive Conference, HSUS Expo, the Arkansas Animal Welfare Conference, the Animal Conference (OK) and the Midwest Animal Sheltering Conference.
Prior to becoming involved in Animal Welfare, Brent enjoyed a 15-year career in marketing and advertising, including as the Director of Marketing and Communications for Visit Overland Park, and the VP, Media Director for Barkley – which was among the top 10 largest Independently owned advertising agencies in the nation at the time.
Brent has a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Missouri and a master’s 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.