Ed Boks: A Trailblazer in Animal Welfare

Transitioning from his roles as a Pastor and educator, Ed Boks redirected his passion towards animal welfare, igniting a career marked by compassion and innovation. He began his journey at Maricopa County Animal Care & Control in an entry-level position, where his passion for compassionate care and dedication to service set him apart. Through hard work and perseverance, Boks steadily advanced within the organization, demonstrating exceptional leadership and a deep commitment to the welfare of animals.

His ascent within the department culminated as Chief of Staff. In this pivotal role, Boks played a central role in overseeing operations and implementing strategic initiatives. His reputation for excellence and innovative thinking caught the attention of Maricopa County’s Executive Team – who recruited Boks to develop an award-winning Maricopa County Management Institute.

Gov Jan Brewer presents Boks with NACo Excellence Award

This detour in Boks’ career deepened his understanding of organizational development and corporate training. The Management Institute, which Boks developed, became instrumental in optimizing organizational efficiency and strategic planning, leading to Maricopa County’s recognition as the ‘best run municipality in the United States’ by Governing Magazine. His exemplary contributions were further honored with a National Association of Counties Achievement Award, underscoring his innovative approach to organizational management.

Recognizing Boks’ exceptional talents, he was entrusted with the executive directorship of the Animal Care & Control Department during a period of intense public scrutiny, underscoring the confidence placed in his ability to navigate challenges and drive meaningful change.

Called upon to lead Maricopa County Animal Care & Control, Boks revitalized the agency into a beacon of progress and compassion. Under his stewardship, the department witnessed unprecedented success, becoming the nation’s highest volume pet adoption agency while achieving historic lows in euthanasia rates. Boks’ strategic acumen and unwavering dedication reshaped the landscape of animal welfare, setting a new standard for excellence and compassion.

Dr. Jonathan Weisbuch, former Director of Maricopa County Public Health, praised Boks’ innovative approach in improving animal welfare services, including expanding adoptions and securing external funding:

“Ed Boks was a most creative member of the Public Health team, always finding innovative ways to improve services for the animals, developing methods to expand adoptions and lower the euthanasia. Ed was also very good at finding financial support from outside of government funding to help support the organization.”  – Jonathan Weisbuch, MD, MPH, FACPM: Former Director Maricopa County Public Health

During a defining moment in his tenure, Mayor Michael Bloomberg sought Boks’ expertise to revolutionize Animal Care & Control of New York City. Despite initial reluctance to leave Maricopa County, Boks agreed to serve as Executive Director for both Maricopa County Animal Care & Control and Animal Care & Control of New York City for six months, managing two of the largest animal control departments in the nation simultaneously. This extraordinary feat underscored Boks’ ability to manage complex challenges and drive transformative change on a monumental scale.

“At the time Ed Boks was brought on as executive director, Animal Care & Control was in need of major improvement. Faced with significant challenges, Mr. Boks brought a new vision and energy to the organization, especially in the pursuit of making New York a no-kill city. Under his leadership, AC&C made progress in improving conditions in animal shelters, increasing adoption rates, improving public perception of the organization, and growing the volunteer program. Mr. Boks was a key player in setting AC&C in a new direction and served effectively as a turnaround CEO.” – Dr. Thomas Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. – New York City Public Health Commissioner; Appointed by President Obama as the Director of CDC
Bloomberg applauds Boks

Transitioning to New York City full-time, Boks’ visionary leadership propelled the department to become the foremost pet adoption program in the nation, earning accolades and acclaim for his unparalleled achievements.

Continuing his legacy of success, Boks was then recruited for the role of General Manager at LA Animal Services, where he orchestrated yet another remarkable transformation. His tenure witnessed historic lows in euthanasia rates and the implementation of pioneering initiatives such as LEED-certified animal care centers and comprehensive spay/neuter laws, cementing his reputation as a trailblazer in the field.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa lauded Ed’s contributions, highlighting the city’s progress in pet adoptions and shelter expansion.

“Under Ed Boks’ leadership this City revamped the way we treat and care for our pets and animals. The “no kill‟ policy became a central component of our animal services strategy. Pet adoptions are up, shelters expanded at a rapid rate, and “spay and neuter‟ has become more than just a call to action; it is the law in Los Angeles. We look forward to building on his legacy and continuing to make Los Angeles the gold standard for pet protection.” – Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

After leaving LA Animal Services, Boks agreed to serve one-year contracts as executive director for struggling humane societies in AZ, WA and TX where he extended his impact as a visionary leader and educator. He has facilitated strategic planning, built extensive coalitions, managed multi-million dollar capital campaigns, and secured multi-million dollar grants, showcasing his multifaceted expertise and unwavering commitment to animal welfare.

“I was beyond impressed by Ed’s ability to hit the ground running as a leader. He promptly developed and implemented a thorough mission-driven Strategic Plan; increased fundraising to levels greater than any preceding year; modernized the IT infrastructure; implemented a facilities and vehicle preventative maintenance program; conducted a compensation survey to correct wage disparities; and implemented the organization’s first performance management program. The positive changes Ed implemented have paved the way for the organization’s continued future success for years to come.” – Logan Wilson, former Spokane Humane Society Treasurer
“Ed Boks’ vision brought YHS to a place of leadership in the animal welfare industry, and inspired our organization to create an extremely safe community for animals in need. We remain grateful for the numerous contributions Ed has made toward YHS’s lifesaving work and we will continue to build on the solid foundation he created.” – Jerry Kipp, President of the Board of Directors, Yavapai Humane Society

Ed Boks’ illustrious career stands as a testament to his visionary leadership, unwavering compassion, and relentless pursuit of excellence. His ability to effect transformative change on a monumental scale has earned him widespread acclaim and admiration within the industry. For organizations seeking a dynamic and visionary leader dedicated to advancing the welfare of animals, Ed Boks represents an invaluable asset poised to drive meaningful impact and lasting change.

“Managing an animal care and control agency in the United States is one of the most difficult jobs in government. These agencies are given far less resources than those that provide other protective services, such as police and fire departments. In addition to protecting people from animals, they have to protect animals from people, duties that can conflict with each other. And they have to do this in a politically charged environment in which some press to cut their budgets while others work to expand their responsibilities. Ed Boks has managed three of the largest agencies in the country.  Through effective administration, information-based policy development, and innovative programs, Ed has shown that well-managed animal care and control agencies can successfully protect both the people who live in their community and the animals they care for. – Peter Marsh, Esq.: Founder – Solutions to Overpopulation of Pets


    • Voice For The Animals and The Pet Place Television Show recognition for “exceptional commitment and contributions to animal welfare in Los Angeles”.
    • Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Friends of Animal Care & Control in New York City for “exceptional life-saving contributions”.
    • National Award for Excellence presented by Alley Cat Allies for “transformative efforts in feral cat care”.
    • Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Award for “outstanding leadership as director of Animal Care & Control”.
    • In Defense of Animals Lifetime Achievement Award for “dedicated efforts to end animal homelessness and provide compassionate care for homeless animals”.
    • National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award for developing the Maricopa County Management Institute.
    • Maricopa County Animal Care & Control Employee Recognition for 10 years of meritorious service.
    • New York Times profile: Saving Animals is Ex-Pastor’s New Mission


    • National Animal Control Association (NACA): served on Board of Directors
    • Capital Projects: oversaw design and development of animal care centers in Los Angeles (LEED Certified); Phoenix; and Prescott AZ, including three spay/neuter clinics/veterinary hospitals.
    • Strategic Planning: Led the Strategic Planning process for multiple agencies and provided consulting expertise.
    • Collaborations: Established extensive animal welfare coalitions, forged partnerships with businesses and non-profits, and created successful 501c3 fundraising auxiliaries.
    • Grants: Secured multi-million dollar grants and raised hundreds of thousands in donations.
    • Contract Negotiation:  Negotiated cost recovery contracts with cities, sometimes doubling department revenue.
    • Maricopa County Management Institute: designed, developed, implemented, managed, instructed.
    • Chief Enforcement Officer:  Maricopa County, New York City, City of Los Angeles; contributed to the formation of Anti-animal cruelty Task Forces; authored animal welfare ordinances.