This weekend Best Friends Animal Society announced a new initiative that aims to make Utah the next state where no adoptable dogs and cats are killed in shelters.
The No-Kill Utah campaign is being supported by Best Friends, which will kick in $1 million to support the effort, and a coalition of 36 other animal welfare groups who want to see this goal reached by 2019. To officially become a no-kill state, they’ll need to save 90 percent of the animals who enter shelters every year and send them back out the front doors alive – with exceptions for animals who have severe medical or behavioral issues.
“We at Best Friends have always believed that no-kill is possible―that all healthy or treatable animals can be saved,” said Gregory Castle, CEO for Best Friends. “We have reached the point in Utah where that is within arms’ reach. It is time for all of us involved in animal rescue to go for it.”
An estimated 46,000 animals were being killed in shelters every year when the No More Homeless Pets in Utah Coalition formed to address the problem in 2000, but much life-saving progress for homeless pets has been made since then.
In 2013, cities and counties in the state saved 70 percent of the animals they took in, while 23 of the state’s 56 shelters had already become no-kill havens, reports the Salt Lake Tribune.
According to a Best Friends, the coalition helped increase the save rate by supporting more than 261,000 spay/neuter surgeries and facilitating nearly 112,000 adoptions. However, even with the successes, 18,000 homeless pets were still put to death last year. According to Best Friends, 12,000 of those were preventable.
New efforts to help save animals will include increasing public and private partnerships, supporting foster programs, promoting and increasing adoptions, reducing shelter intake through targeted spay/neuter services and saving community cats through Trap-Neuter-Return programs.
While an estimated 3 to 4 million animals are needlessly killed in shelters in the U.S. every year, numerous communities have stood up and rejected the idea that killing is an acceptable solution and have proven that stopping the “humane euthanasia” of healthy and adoptable animals is an achievable goal.
As the movement towards becoming a no-kill nation continues to grow, shelters can again be a safe place that they should be for lost pets who are waiting for their families to find them, or for those who have been abandoned and are waiting for a second chance in a new forever home.
According to the No Kill Advocacy Center, an estimated 500 cities and towns across the U.S. have already become no-kill communities. If animal advocates succeed in Utah, it will be the second state behind New Hampshire to meet the criteria for becoming a no-kill state.
For more information about the campaign in Utah, visit nkut.org.
For more information on the no-kill movement and how to get involved, check out the No Kill Advocacy Center, which will be releasing and screening Redemption, a documentary about the no-kill revolution in the U.S., at locations across country starting in June.
Photo credit: Thinkstock
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