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People Power: Outstanding in His Field

California shelter’s captain wins Animal Control Employee of the Year

Jeff Christner’s idea of a great leader is George S. Patton, the colorful, four-star general during World War II.

It’s not because Patton wore ivory-handled, Colt .45 revolvers, or because he was known to slap shell-shocked soldiers on occasion.

Christner—captain of the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA’s animal rescue and control and humane investigation departments—subscribes to one of Patton’s views on leadership: “Always do everything you ask of those you command.”

“He wouldn’t tell anybody to do anything that he wouldn’t do himself,” says Christner, who’s worked at the San Mateo, Calif., shelter for nine years.

Christner’s taken that ethic to heart. Whether it’s being the first one through the door at a hoarder’s house, or putting himself into a risky position during a complicated effort to rescue a horse whose hind legs had fallen through the deck of a bridge, he’s always ready to take the lead.

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