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City of Abilene - News Releases

Posted on: April 29, 2021

Justin Lelesch named Animal Services Director

Justin Lelesch, the new animal services director holding and playing with a dog at the shelter

 The City of Abilene is pleased to announce Justin Lelesch as Animal Services Director for the City of Abilene.

Lelesch has been a part of the City since 2016, when he was first hired as a kennel technician. Over the past five years Lelesch has been promoted to animal control officer, field supervisor, and now director.

“I'm pleased to be able to hire a known commodity and one who will continue the life-saving policies we have put into place over the last few years,” said Abilene City Manager Robert Hanna.


The City of Abilene has partnered with Best Friends Animal Society over the past year in an effort to improve animal outcomes at the Abilene Animal Shelter while a search was conducted for a new animal services director. Lelesch has been working closely with Interim Animal Services Director Michael Bricker, who has been overseeing Animal Services since last July.

"I'm excited for this next chapter for Abilene Animal Services. I am honored and humbled that the City has chosen me to take up the mantle, and I plan to pour my heart and soul into continuing the amazing work we are doing here. It is my goal to ensure that Animal Services is a department that our community is proud of; together I think we can make that happen," said Lelesch.

Lelesch holds a bachelor’s of science degree from The Ohio State University with a focus in animal sciences. Prior to his arrival in Abilene, Lelesch spent three years working at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Lelesch assumes his role as director of Animal Services effective immediately. He will continue to work in consultation with Mr. Bricker and Best Friends Animal Society through the end of June.

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