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New Hampshire is the only state to achieve no-kill status for their animal shelters, and on March 31, Utah announced their plans to be the second. Best Friends Animal Society Chief Executive Officer Gregory Castle, together with government officials Mike Mower and Arlyn Bradshaw, unveiled an initiative to save at least 90 percent of dogs and cats in their shelters by 2019.

It’s a great time for shelter pets, with similar no-kill initiatives picking up steam across the country. Today, there are no-kill shelters representing 500 American cities and towns, and major cities including Boulder, Colo.; Reno, Nev.; and Austin, Texas are entirely no-kill!

Being a no-kill shelter doesn’t mean denying merciful euthanasia to sick, suffering animals or dangerous animals that pose a real threat to the public. It means saving as many animals as possible through adoptions or neuter and release programs. A shelter must save at least 90 percent of its animals to qualify as no-kill.

Skeptics believe that no-kill initiatives would burden taxpayers or lead to animal hoarding situations, but this isn’t the case. Saving animals eliminates the cost of euthanasia and generates revenue from adoption fees. Plus, pet owners pour money into their local economy through the purchase of pet toys, supplies, grooming, vet care, and more.

The demand for pets far exceeds the number of healthy and treatable animals in shelters. Over 23 million Americans get a new pet every year, and with good marketing, most of these can be convinced to rescue theirs from a shelter.

The overwhelming majority of Americans care for dogs and cats and don’t want shelters to put down animals needlessly. Thanks to dedicated volunteers and humane legislators, we are getting closer and closer to being a no-kill nation.

 Image Source: Wikimedia Commons