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Brent Toellner

Sr. Director, Lifesaving Programs

Best Friends Animal Society

Brent Toellner is the senior director, lifesaving programs, for Best Friends Animal Society. He oversees the programmatic work in the central region and the Best Friends Network Partner program, working with the regional programs teams to create strategies to help and support shelters and guide Best Friends’ 3,700 network partner organizations 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 and rescue groups across the 11 states in the two regions. Prior to joining Best Friends, Brent and his wife, Michelle, co-founded the Kansas City Pet Project (KCPP) in July of 2011, to bid on the contract to run the Kansas City, Missouri, animal facility, a place where, for decades, more animals died than were saved. After KCPP took over in January of 2012, adoptions increased by more than 200% and helped elevate KCPP to a live release rate of more than 90% for seven consecutive years (all while remaining an open-admission shelter) to make it 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 degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and a master’s degree in marketing communication from the University of Kansas. Brent and Michelle, who reside in Kansas City, share their home with both dogs and cats. His outside interests include hiking, bicycling and photography.