After years of hard work and endless effort by animal advocates, the U.S. has finally achieved a huge step forward in the world of animal welfare. According to Best Friends Animal Society, Delaware is officially the first no-kill state in the country.
In order for a state to earn the laudable title of being no-kill, they must save a minimum of 90% of all animals that enter the shelter system.
That extra 10% is reserved for animals that are euthanized for health or safety reasons. With an estimated total of 1.5 million dogs and cats killed in shelters last year alone, every life is precious and important. Best Friends Animal Society, in conjunction with other rescue organizations, is pushing to make huge changes in the way shelters are run nationwide. Their goal is a completely no-kill country by the year 2025.
We still have a long way to go until every state follows a no-kill philosophy. But with Delaware leading the charge, there are already huge improvements. Out of the 12,800 animals that entered Delaware shelters last year, 11,900 were saved.The state has a total of 59 no-kill shelters, and they credit their success to a multi-pronged approach to animal welfare.
Delaware shelters are investing more time, money, and effort in life-saving programs. They’re hosting more adoption events and investing in trap/spay/neuter programs for feral cats. They have low-cost veterinary clinics that help families afford their pets and educate the public about responsible pet care. One of their main focuses is keeping animals out of the shelter altogether. Shelters offer behavioral programs and support for families with dogs and provide resources to keep families together.
While euthanasia rates are still too high in the opinion of any animal advocate, the country has seen huge improvements in recent years.
A New York Times investigation found that pet euthanasia rates in major cities have dropped more than 75% since 2009. Part of that success comes from a cultural shift that keeps animals out of shelters. More people are considering pets part of the family, and that makes them less likely to give them up. There are also advances in shelter management and veterinary care.
Whether Best Friends will see their goal of a no-kill country by 2025 is still up in the air. But with Delaware’s success and a general push for change, shelters are finally heading in the right direction.
Featured image via Facebook/Best Friends Animal Society
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