Co-founder, Chief Regional Programs Officer
Judah Battista is a co-founder and the chief regional programs officer for Best Friends Animal Society. As chief regional programs officer, Judah oversees the development of Best Friends program expansion into new regions of the country and maintains current programs in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Salt Lake City.
Judah began his journey with the organization when he was just 14 years old. While growing up, he had an affinity for animals and was especially sensitive to those who were suffering. He channeled this compassion into his work at the Sanctuary, where he spent his spring breaks and summers helping the organization get off the ground. To that end, Judah framed buildings, installed drywall, ran electrical wiring and did plumbing.
Judah has worn many hats at Best Friends, including roles as a vet tech and cat care manager, providing for the medical care and adoption of the cats at the Sanctuary. He also served as clinic manager and interim director of animal care.
In 2006, Judah made a decision to leave Best Friends to work in Chicago, where he learned about the scale of the challenges involved in saving homeless animals and about how to address the homeless pet problem on the community level. After two years with PAWS Chicago, a no-kill animal rescue organization, Judah returned to Best Friends to work in outreach programming and, in 2011, he again took on the responsibilities of animal care director.
As a second-generation co-founder whose father, Francis Battista, discovered the property that became Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, Judah literally grew up as one of the people who created the no-kill movement, which is now a national movement to end the killing of dogs and cats in shelters by the year 2025.