This month’s animal advocate is Lt. Chris Mufarreh, outgoing interim director and transition support.
How long have you worked at OAS?
What is your favorite part of working at OAS?
The animals–we have the immense opportunity to help needy animals. The unconditional love we get as staff from these animals over time and when they transition to their new home is rewarding.
Who was your all-time favorite shelter pet?
Roxy the Boxer. She came into the shelter with a broken leg that had fused incorrectly. Staff was dedicated to saving her leg instead of amputating it. We got funding from Friends of Oakland Animal Services and worked with a local vet and volunteers who helped with transport. We had it re-set and got her into foster immediately. Her case is a great example of teamwork in a shelter. All the pieces need to work together to give an animal a second chance.
What pets do you have? Where did they come from?
I have a 7.5 yo Boxer named Coach who I adopted from a Boxer rescue group when he was a year old.
What do you wish people knew about your job? (or, what do you wish people knew about OAS?)
The police care. Everyone has their stereotypes – as OPD staff, we are stereotyped a certain way, but it doesn’t mean we don’t love animals.
At OAS under OPD, the police weren’t the problem, it was budget, management – everything. While OAS was under my leadership as an OPD lieutenant we provided structure and hit the lowest euthanasia rate in the history of OAS [live release rate under Lt. Mufarreh was 73%]. For shelters, it starts with the little things – rules go a long way in helping shelter animals stay safe and adoptable.
What brought you to OAS?
I was assigned. It was only supposed to be a few months. They seemed to like me, so I stayed on through February 2015.
What’s something you think most people don’t already know about you?
People think I’m mean and unapproachable. They think I don’t like animals or I’m too rigid. I’m some of those things some of the time. You need a balance to make decisions for the good of the whole shelter and the community.