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City of Seattle Seattle Animal Shelter Director in Seattle, Washington

Position Description

The City of Seattle is seeking a strategic and collaborative operations leader for the role of Seattle Animal Shelter (SAS) Director.

The SAS Director is a visionary and inclusive leader who oversees a division of 36 staff, including five managers (two of which are veterinarians), and an operating budget of about $6.7 million. Approximately 800 volunteers support the SAS mission by helping in the direct care of animals, fundraising, and other activities. The SAS Director partners with the Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports the programs and initiatives of the SAS by engaging the community increasing awareness and raising funds for projects and programs that are outside the scope of basic SAS operations.

FAS is the backbone of the City of Seattle and a dynamic organization comprised of sixteen divisions and 600+ employees that provides $200 million a year in services to the City through an exciting portfolio of lines of businesses. FAS is a collaborative workplace with collective accountability to promote equity, respect, civility, integrity, inclusiveness and fairness for all employees.

Job Responsibilities

The SAS Director is a member of the FAS Leadership Team and provides oversight and direction for the Seattle Animal Shelter and the programs and services it provides. The Director works collaboratively and in partnership with the Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation Board. In addition to management and oversight, the Director will play a pivotal role in further developing a culture that centers racial equity and social justice in all its work. This role will create and communicate the vision to establish opportunities to build strategy, connection and partnership with communities that are underrepresented or isolated, promote an equitable, inclusive and respectful work environment and support the department and citywide goals related to race and social justice.

The shelter’s five program areas are:

Field services: Enforce animal related ordinances, including leash law, scoop law, noise ordinance, pet licensing and property damage; regulate dangerous, menacing and exotic animals; enforce animal control code in parks and neighborhoods; investigate animal cruelty, neglect and abuse; pick up stray, abandoned, surrendered and decreased animals; respond to injured/deceased marine wildlife calls; provide support to police, fire, health and related agencies; conduct inspections at special exhibits; and educate residents about responsible pet ownership.

Animal care: Provide care and shelter for the City’s lost, surrendered, injured, and impounded animals; reunite lost animals with their owners; adopt available animals to suitable homes; and support the robust volunteer program.

Spay/Neuter Clinic: Provide low-cost, high-quality sterilization services for dogs and cats owned by Seattle residents; operate an early spay/neuter program for dogs and cats adopted at SAS; implant microchips for animals sterilized at the clinic; test adopted cats for feline leukemia prior to release to new owners; and operate a vaccination program.

Volunteer programs: Manage a variety of programs for the many volunteers at SAS, including foster care for cats, dogs, and critters; direct care of animals at the shelter; and fundraising/marketing efforts.

Administration, Communications, Pet Licensing and Fiscal Management: Handle a wide variety of administrative, customer service and financial functions, such as: maintain high levels of customer service and customer relations; manage SAS’ finances and budget; assess policies and practices with a racial equity lens and support the RSJ team; accept pet license sales at SAS and coordinate license sales at multiple off-site locations; support fundraising efforts.


The successful candidate will be a results-oriented leader whose work is grounded by a commitment to racial equity and community engagement, transforming strategy into action, and enduring inclusive partnerships. They bring their extensive operational expertise and animal welfare experience to implement equitable solutions to difficult problems. Their work builds a culture that is progressive, collaborative, and transparent. They have a reputation exercising a high level of tact, good judgment, discretion, and diplomacy and cooperative working relationships with diverse groups of people.

This candidate will also have a strategic mindset and a deep understanding of animal shelter or closely related operations as well as experience leading organizations responsible for delivering public sector services and programs. Demonstrated knowledge in working with elected officials, employees at all levels, and the public is critical to success in this role, as well as extensive experience in building strong teams and fostering an inclusive workplace culture.

Desirable Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated ability to effectively deliver strategic advice and recommendations relating to operations and/or programs.
  • Demonstrated ability to assess workflows and strategically develop and deploy organizational policy and systems improvements.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage multiple competing projects simultaneously and drive projects to completion.
  • Proven success leading, coaching, and mentoring staff for high quality performance.
  • Proficient use of MS Windows-based software including MS Office Suite (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.), Internet, and Adobe Acrobat. In addition, the most competitive candidates will possess:

  • Extensive management and leadership experience in a municipal government animal shelter or animal care facility with field/enforcement responsibilities.

  • Experience working with labor unions and collective bargaining agreements.
  • Experience in managing a budget and taking operations and mission beyond budget constraints.
  • Knowledgeable of best practices in a municipal or government animal shelter environment
  • Experience in fundraising, marketing, and media relations.
  • Commitment to improving equitable services delivered to underserved communities
  • Experience in organization-wide change management MORE ABOUT THE SEATTLE ANIMAL SHELTER SAS is a nationally recognized animal welfare organization that promotes public safety and animal welfare and protects animals from cruelty and neglect. SAS runs animal sheltering and adoption programs to reunite lost animals with their owners and places animals in forever homes. SAS hosts a spay and neuter clinic providing low-cost services serving more than 4,000 animals per year and manages pet licensing for City residents. And SAS’ animal control field services staff enforce Seattle’s laws regarding animals, helping keep animals and people safe.

Additional Information

In addition to the application, please include your resume and a cover letter that explains your interest and describe how your knowledge, skills, and abilities prepare you for the job responsibilities and qualifications outlined. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Job offers are contingent on review of criminal history as well as verification of information provided by the applicant as part of the application process.

Salary: $150,101.00 - $168,654.00 Annually

Location: 15th Avenue West, WA

Job Type: Civil Service Exempt, Regular, Full-time

Department: Finance and Administrative Services

Job Number: 2021-00031

Closing: 2/2/2021 4:00 PM Pacific

Agency: City of Seattle

Address: Seattle Municipal Tower 700 5th Avenue, Suite 5500 Seattle, Washington, 98104