George Harding IV, a dedicated animal welfare professional with over 30 years of experience, has joined San Bernardino County as its new Animal Care chief.

From a very young age, Harding, a Missouri native, developed a passion for animals and made it his mission to better the lives of pets and people in his local community.

“From as far back as I can remember, animals have held a special place in my heart, particularly those we call our pets.” Harding said. “My earliest childhood memories revolve around Champ, our Rough Collie, who became a part of our family after my grandfather’s passing.”

“Growing up, my family had a penchant for road trips and camping. These adventures served to deepen my connection to nature and its diverse inhabitants, which led me to earn my undergraduate degree in conservation enforcement.”

After earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Missouri, he transitioned to Lee’s Summit Animal Control, where he began his career as an animal control officer before becoming the animal control manager. After some time, he returned to school to earn a master’s degree in business administration from Baker University in Kansas.

After his time at Lee’s Summit, he went on to serve as executive director of the National Animal Care and Control Association from 2013 to 2018 before moving to California to be closer to family, which led him to accept a position with the City of Antioch as its animal services manager.

“George is an accomplished leader who brings a wealth of experience to this critical position,” said Board of Supervisors Chair and Third District Supervisor Dawn Rowe. “I look forward to working with him to improve the quality of life for shelter animals and county residents.”

Among his top priorities include learning as much as he can about the county and applying his knowledge and skills to meet the needs of the community. He will also work towards improving operations.

“I want to help move San Bernardino County Animal Care forward in becoming a model agency for others to follow in how we care for the animals in our shelters and enforce the animal welfare laws in our county,” he said.

As someone who has served in several leadership positions in state and national animal welfare organizations, Harding’s experience will help shape his efforts to advance animal welfare in San Bernardino County.

For 12 years he served on the Missouri Animal Control Association Board of Directors with two terms as president and one as vice president. He was also appointed by then-Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to serve as a member of the Missouri Spay/Neuter Fund Board. Additionally, he served on the National Animal Care and Control Association Executive Board and he currently sits on the California Animal Welfare Association (CalAnimals) Board of Directors.

One of many significant projects Harding will lead in San Bernardino County is the new $45 million Animal Care Center coming to Bloomington in early 2026.

“I am extremely excited about the new county Animal Care Center,” Harding said. “This facility will help to address the issue of shelter overcrowding.”

The 61,000-square-foot shelter and care facility will offer top-level onsite veterinary care, dedicated dog and cat enrichment areas, and spacious kennels for pets as they await their forever homes. Although the new building will allow the county to double its capacity, Harding and his team will continue to seek creative solutions to encourage more adoptions.

“I would like to thank county leadership for giving me the honor of serving in this position,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to drawing upon my experiences to respond to the needs of this community.” 

For more information on how to make a difference in the lives of shelter animals, please visit

Additional County Update News – January 18, 2024

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