by Melissa Mixon
Animal protection and adoption professionals know that social equity plays a role in their work. For example, adoption requirements may eliminate people from marginalized groups if they require home ownership, a fenced yard, or a high fee.
Esteban Rodriguez, the new Director of the Seattle Animal Shelter, wants to tackle those challenges and more in his new role.
“I would like for us to work to provide services outside of the shelter and I would love to have a great community engagement program,” said Rodriguez. “For our organization to be successful and to really be inclusive we have to go out into the community and engage people in volunteering and adopting. When you see our truck do you run and hide your pet or do you come out and wave at us?”
Rodriguez brings 12-years’ experience in the field, most recently serving as the Operations Manager for the Santa Barbara County Animal Services Division. His service area was 32 times larger than the City of Seattle and he managed three separate shelters located an hour’s drive from each other.
His interest in animal services began as he was being a responsible pet owner. Rodriguez was looking into vaccinations and other services and found it difficult to find low-cost veterinary care. Because of that experience, he would like to host community spay, neuter, and vaccine clinics and partner with local veterinarians to bring those services to the community.
“I come with a lot of compassion for our community, for the pets and the pet owners who we serve here,” he said.
Rodriguez shares his new Seattle home with his wife and their 14-year-old son, as well as Goli, a four-year-old Giant Schnauzer mix, who they rescued from a shelter. They are all excited to be here.
“Seattle is just as beautiful as Santa Barbara, if not more so,” said Rodriguez. “When I read the job bulletin I saw a lot of things I’ve been advocating for – like providing services for marginalized communities – are happening here.”
“If there’s an opportunity we are going to look for it and make sure we’re doing the right thing. I’m committed to the Seattle Animal Shelter and the place I want to be for the rest of my career.”