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Understanding No-Kill 2025 with Best Friends Animal Society


In a world where compassion for all living beings takes center stage, there is an ever-growing movement to protect and improve the lives of our furry friends. For decades, animal shelters have been faced with a daunting challenge – finding homes for countless animals and ensuring that no innocent lives are lost. Enter the No-Kill 2025 initiative, a powerful vision to revolutionize the way we approach animal welfare and sheltering.

At the forefront of this transformative mission is the Best Friends Animal Society, an organization dedicated to eradicating unnecessary euthanasia and bringing about a time when every pet has a loving home. Best Friends’ ambitious goal is nothing short of remarkable – to make every shelter across the United States a no-kill shelter by the year 2025.

But what exactly does “No-Kill 2025” mean, and how does Best Friends Animal Society plan to achieve this audacious objective? Join us as we dive deep into the heart of this compassionate movement, exploring the core principles, challenges, and innovative solutions that will pave the way toward a brighter, more humane future for our four-legged companions.

What does “No-Kill” refer to?

No-Kill refers to saving every dog and/or cat in a shelter who can be saved. In order to measure the progress Best Friends Animal Society is making moving forward, the society utilizes a 90% benchmark target.

Typically, the number of pets entering shelters who suffer from irreparable medical or behavioral issues that compromise their quality of life and prevent them from being re-homed is less than 10%. Due to this, the Best Friends Animal Society designates shelters that meet the 90% save-rate benchmark as “no-kill”.

The goal is for every shelter to make a clear commitment, sustainable practice, and philosophy of no-kill – not simply working to obtain a no-kill designation. Ultimately, they’re working to ensure that every shelter across the U.S. and beyond has the resources to save every dog and cat possible.

But Best Friends Animal Society won’t stop there. They have made promises to continue to address the systemic issues that put pets at risk.

What are the strategies being used to achieve no-kill?

The Best Friends Animal Society recognizes three specific strategies working towards creating no-kill shelters.

  1. Collaborative partnerships and coalitions between shelters, rescue groups and community members;
  2. Lifesaving programs and best practices designed to save the most lives as possible; and,
  3. Data-driven decision-making for each community.

What’s the current state of animals in U.S shelters?

  • 81% of the 4.4 million cats and dogs that entered into U.S. shelters were saved in 2022.
  • Five states account for half of all cats and dogs killed in the U.S.
  • National shelter intake has increased since 2020 but remains below pre-pandemic levels.
  • Of the 3,943 shelters and rescues across the U.S., 56.6% have achieved a save rate of 90% or more.

How does data get collected?

In 2019, Best Friends Animal Society created a new digital tool called the Pet Lifesaving Dashboard that worked to help modernize the 150-year-old field of animal welfare. Through a cumulation of continuous outreach to gather data, extensive research, data analysis and technology development, Best Friends Animal Society works to provide the most accurate and up to date data regarding shelters and rescues across the U.S.

Best Friends Animal Society collects data specifically form eight hubs around the U.S.: The Best Friends East Coast Corridor; Houston; Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah; Los Angeles; Northwest Arkansas; and Salt Lake City.

Using ShelterLuv, an online, real-time shelter management system, data is collected and verified by the National Operations Support and Business Intelligence Team.

What can I do if my community isn’t no-kill?

To make a change, you must become a positive part of the solution. Many communities rely on a few residents taking it upon themselves to collaborate with local government, local shelters, and the general public to increase lifesaving options. On more than one occasion, a solution has been found by having more support and help in local shelters.

Check out how your community is doing, here!