Utah is on its way to becoming the second state in the nation to be granted no-kill status in regards to how shelters handle their cat and dog population. The Best Friends Animal Society has organized a coalition, made up of more than 50 shelters in the state, to reach this goal by 2019.
Best Friends Animal Society is a nationwide organization that provides resources for local animal shelters and rescues to optimize the quality of life for animals. Among the many shelters involved in the no-kill coalition is Cache Humane Society in Logan. Director Stacey Frisk says Best Friends encourages local shelters like hers to organize spay and neuter programs and promote adoption in their own communities – two facets of Best Friends no-kill goal.
“So the way Best Friends defines no kill is a 90% lifesaving rate," Frisk said. "And I think that’s a really critical part to understand about that initiative; that means 90% of animals entering shelters leave to loving homes, either by being reclaimed by their owners, by being adopted or by being transferred to a fellow no-kill rescue that’s a part of this coalition that then can provide additional training and veterinarian resources that we don’t have the potential to provide in the shelter.”
Frisk says the other 10% are often animals with severe behavior or medical problems. In 2016, the coalition achieved a statewide 85% save rate, meaning 85% of dogs and cats that entered shelters left alive.
“Which is a significant improvement over the situation in 2000 when the coalition was formed where we were seeing statewide euthanasia rates approaching 40,000 animals per year. In the last year, we saw that number reduce to less than 8,000,” Frisk said.
If Utah closes that 5% gap and reaches the 90% no-kill rate, it will become the second state in the nation to do so. New Hampshire became the first state to achieve the no-kill status, which Frisk says was achieved by aggressive spay-neuter programs and community outreach and education.