MeLissa Webber joined Dallas Animal Services (DAS) in February of 2020 as the department’s second assistant director and was promoted to interim director in March 2021. DAS is the municipal shelter for the City of Dallas, the ninth largest city in the country, which is estimated to have the third-largest dog and cat intake in the United States. In her role as interim director, she supports a staff of nearly 200 and works to ensure DAS continues to achieve its goals of public safety, compassion and no shortcuts. Since arriving at DAS, she has spearheaded the department’s diversity, equity, and inclusion endeavors and DAS’s involvement in Human Animal Support Services (HASS), a collaborative national effort to re-imagine animal services with a focus supporting the bond between people and pets.
Before she arrived at DAS, MeLissa oversaw lifesaving field and shelter operations at Los Angeles Animal Services (LAAS), one of the few shelters with a higher intake than DAS. She also spent seven years at the San Diego Humane Society, followed by roles as the senior vice president and chief operating officer at Animal Care Centers of New York City, where she helped take the placement rate from 72% to 93%. She served on the Association for Animal Welfare Advancement Conference committee, and she spearheaded a peer group of animal welfare leaders from across the nation to strategize on the future progression of animal welfare.
In her free time, she enjoys the gorgeous parks and outdoor spaces near her Oak Lawn home near Dallas with her husband and their rescue pets.