Renew your AZA Membership todayHow to Post Jobs

AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, Certified Related Facilities, Commercial Members, Conservation Partners and Society Partners may post free unlimited online job listings as a member benefit. Non-members can purchase job listings. How to post a job

Career Center

Interested in a career in AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums? Learn more about types of zoo and aquarium jobs and relevant education programs in our career center.

Best Friends Animal Society

Sr. Director - Sanctuary Animal Care Operations

Summary: The Senior Director of Sanctuary Animal Care leads our critically important lifesaving work at the heart of the organization, Best Friends’ sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. This position is responsible for driving the Sanctuary Animal Care Division’s work in alignment with national no-kill objectives and serves as the sanctuary-based thought-leader for Best Friends’ national lifesaving and network programs. This senior director oversees animal care operations, comprised of six animal species areas and a full-service veterinary hospital and clinic, and provides strategic guidance and influence in efficient lifesaving strategies to achieve no-kill 2025. The senior director is the leader and a spokesperson for the Sanctuary’s unique role as mission ambassadors and an innovator for new, effective models of care, rehabilitation, and placement of medical and behavioral special needs animals.
Culture Statement and Responsibility
We value attitude over aptitude, and we treat Kindness as a discipline because it is paramount in our culture along with our other Guiding Principles. Culture is how we talk to and treat ourselves and one another, it’s how we generate and respond to change, it’s how we plan and make decisions, it’s how we do what we do.
Essential Duties/ Responsibilities:
  • Treat people around you as our most valuable resource by leading with compassion and kindness in all your actions, build trust by demonstrating authenticity and following through on your commitments, encourage self-care and work-life balance through your own example, and work to build strong relationships with your team by creating communication loops to share and receive honest feedback. You are responsible and accountable for the culture of your team.
  • Partner with the Chief Sanctuary Officer, collaborating with various internal departments, in achieving the promise of the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary brand for visitors, donors, and other supporters. Lead by example through direct and impactful personal and organizational contributions towards Best Friends’ no-kill 2025 goal; act with urgency and efficiency on behalf of animals still at risk of being killed in shelters across the region and the country; lead teams in their important role as ambassadors representing Best Friends’ history, mission, and no-kill goals.
  • Identify and elevate opportunities to innovate in meeting the lifesaving objectives and the unique care and rehabilitation work of our Animal Care. Identify opportunities for the Sanctuary Animal Care leaders to represent that thought leadership at Best Friends National Conference and other settings that influence Animal Welfare and its supporters.
  • Define lifesaving operational objectives in the context of no-kill 2025 goal, as well as any other quantitative and qualitative measures of success; lead the execution of strategies and programs to achieve those objectives through general oversight of all animal care and outcome programs, including program redesign as necessary to fulfill objectives; represent the vision as well as the strategies to achieve that vision. Communicate the status of the execution of those strategies to staff, supporters, and stakeholders.
  • Purposefully and thoughtfully create an environment where Best Friends is the best place to work for a career in animal welfare, providing opportunities for growth, and for maximizing individuals’ lifesaving impact; lead human resource matters in conjunction with the Human Resources regarding staff selection, management, development, and retention; oversee headcount controls and position creation or realignment; build individual capabilities and capacity through performance measurement, goal setting, coaching and mentorship.
  • Support directors and managers in overseeing departmental budgets including managing expenses, revenues, and reporting on result; oversee the physical facilities and equipment procurement and management including supplies, inventory, building upkeep; participate in capital improvement project planning.
  • Lead the maintenance of a safe workplace. Value and model safe work practices, adhering to organizational safety practices and rules, and addressing or communicating to leadership about unsafe practices and conditions.
Physical Requirements
  • Must be able to:
  1. Routinely lift 40 pounds and perform daily strenuous activity including, but not limited to lifting, carrying, reaching, stooping, squatting, cleaning, and bending.
  2. Work at a computer or driving a car for extended periods of time with repetitive typing, sitting, arm, and hand motion.
  3. Work indoors and outdoors in a variety of weather conditions including extreme heat and cold.
  • Daily exposure to dogs, cats and other animals of all sizes, temperaments, and medical status.
  • Valid driver’s license with ability to travel, including overnight stays, when needed.
  • Daily hours and days of the week may vary according to the needs of the department schedule; position includes weekends, nights, and holiday work.
After applicants accept an offer of employment in writing, they will be asked to provide Covid-19 vaccination status information pursuant to any applicable policies in place at the time of hiring.
Thank you for your interest in pursuing a career at Best Friends Animal Society. Best Friends Animal Society is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to their race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, marital status, or domestic partner status.
Applicants for employment in the US must have valid work authorization that does not now and/or will not in the future require sponsorship of a visa for employment authorization in the US by Best Friends Animal Society.

Experience Required

Solid leadership and management experience preferably in animal operations with a lifesaving focus; 7+ years of proven successful leadership experience, including overseeing large-scale strategy, operations, budgeting (greater than $5M preferred) and staffing (greater than 100 persons preferred), preferably including oversight of multiple locations and/or facilities; 5+ years of experience working for or with a humane organization preferred but not required; experience with or confidence in understanding and managing budgets. · Strengths and experience in utilizing statistical information to inform, develop and implement division and department level strategic plans, including change management strategies and program direction; proven attention to detail with advanced organizational and time management skills. · Customer-centric, non-judgmental approach to engaging with adopters, partners, visitors, volunteers, and colleagues; familiarity and comfort with nonjudgmental philosophies. · Strong leadership skills with the ability to act decisively with a get-it-done attitude in difficult and fast-paced situations; strong interpersonal skills, a team player, upbeat, energetic, tactful, and diplomatic, able to get along with people from different backgrounds, as well as the ability to handle sensitive and confidential situations. · Excellent communication skills, public speaking, and presentation experience with the ability to professionally advocate Best Friends’ position on issues; experience in supporting, engaging with, and developing relationships with volunteers and donors. · Proficiency with Microsoft Office products; familiarity with shelter software/animal management software, or desire to learn, comfort learning new systems, including online information systems.

Further Comments

Best Friends recently received a 2022 Top Workplaces USA award from Energage. Visit the Best Friends Animal Society page on the Energage Top Workplaces award winners’ site here to learn more. Not only do we take pride in cultivating a welcoming and supportive community and culture for our employees, but we also offer competitive benefits that make it easy to see why we were granted such an awesome award! Take a look for yourself! We offer competitive pay, medical, dental, vision, basic and supplemental life insurance, short and long-term disability, dependent care reimbursement, pet sitting reimbursement when traveling for work, flexible spending account, health savings account, generous paid time off, paid holidays, auto insurance discount, and legal and identity theft coverage.  For added well-being support, we offer Pawternity Leave for employees to have time to care for their personal pets, mental health support, and an employee assistance program. We also offer a generous 401k savings plan. Do you want to love where you work? Look no further and apply online today!


$120,000 to $140,000 annually, depending on experience

How to Apply

Applicants can apply for this position or any other positions by going to

Best Friends Animal Society
Kanab, UT

Visit our website

I Accept

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. If you continue using our website, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website and you agree to our Privacy Policy.