March 2018 by Ellen Jefferson, DVM, Brent Toellner

Audience: Executive Leadership, Shelter/Rescue Staff & Volunteers

Video Length: 42 Minutes

Strategic Planning To No Kill - No Duplication Of Effort In Your Community Is Key

This session is a step-by-step tutorial on focusing your work so that it is additive, not duplicative, or worse yet, inconsequential. You will leave with an understanding of costs and human-power needs to accomplish various gap filling. This is not rocket science and we know you can do it! We show you exactly how!

This presentation was recorded at the 2018 American Pets Alive! Conference.

About Ellen Jefferson, DVM

Dr. Ellen Jefferson graduated veterinary school in 1997 and started her career in private practice. In 1999, in response to an 85% death rate at the city shelter, she started EmanciPET, a low cost and free spay/neuter clinic in an effort to decrease the number of homeless animals. In 2008, she was still not satisfied with how fast the city of Austin was moving towards No Kill status, and stepped in as Executive Director of Austin Pets Alive! Since 2008, Austin Pets Alive! has been the driving force to bring the entire city of Austin to a greater than 90% save rate and the largest No Kill city in the US.

In 2012, Dr. Jefferson linked with San Antonio Pets Alive to implement the No Kill programs that were proven successful in Austin and helped drive the live release rate from 30% to 80% in 12 months. She is married to a horse veterinarian and they share guardianship of 2 dogs, 3 cats, and a bird.

About Brent Toellner

Brent Toellner is the regional director of the south central and Great Plains regions for Best Friends Animal Society. Brent joined Best Friends in November of 2016.

Prior to joining Best Friends, Brent, his wife Michelle and a few others 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. Since KCPP took over in January 2012, adoptions have increased by more than 200%. KCPP has had a live release rate of more than 90% for four consecutive years while remaining an open-admission shelter, making KC Pet Project one of the largest open-admission no-kill shelters in the nation. In 2016, KCPP finished the year with a 94% live release rate.

Brent still serves on the board of directors for KC Pet Project and is the author of the "KC Dog Blog" (, where he shares information about the fight against breed-specific legislation and no-kill practices.

Prior to forming KC Pet Project, Brent volunteered in animal rescue and then advocacy as the legislative chair for KC Dog Advocates.

Brent lives in Kansas City with his wife Michelle. They share their home with both dogs and cats.