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Unleashed at new post, Farley no longer dogged by political defeats

He's not the governor of Arizona, nor the mayor of Tucson. But former state legislator Steve Farley says he "couldn't be happier to be in the dog house" as he starts his new job: CEO of the local Humane Society.

Farley, who left the state Legislature because of term limits after serving as a representative and then senator from Tucson, started as the head of the Humane Society of Southern Arizona on Wednesday.

"Leading the Humane Society is the next step in my public service," he said in a news release. "My devotion to helping the lives of animals, my relationships with leaders throughout the community, and my experience in public communications, public policy, and public management will be put to good use leading this strong, innovative, and purpose-driven organization. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve and save lives every single day."

Known as much for his public art projects — including the tiled photographic murals at the Broadway entrance to Downtown — as his unsuccessful Democratic primary bids for governor and mayor, Farley said on Facebook that he also has long connections with animal rescue.

"Not many know I spent three years in the 1980s as a volunteer animal behaviorist at the San Francisco SPCA where I helped to socialize and train hard-case shelter dogs to make them more adoptable, and worked their national behavior hotline to help foster parents solve their animals' behavior problems across the United States," he wrote.

"My family found our beloved dogs Scooter and Benny in the loving care of the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, and both my daughters served as volunteer dogwalkers over the years," he said. "During my 12 years serving Tucson in the Legislature I was named Humane Legislator of the Year several times, including for my successful effort to ban the cruelty of greyhound racing in Arizona, and helping to lead the fight against puppy mills."

"Especially in these often difficult and divisive times, our companion animals unite us. Their unconditional love for us and ability to bring us together comprise a unique natural force that promises to help us find solutions to a wide array of social problems - both human and animal," Farley said.

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