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Utah Resort's Pound Puppy Hike Aids No-Kill Efforts

The No-Kill Utah initiative began at the end of March with the goal of making Utah a no-kill state for dogs and cats by 2019.

Temma Martin with Best Friends Animal Society said to be considered no-kill means 90% of cats and dogs must leave shelters alive through adoption, returning to owners or being rescued by another animal welfare organization.

“Our statewide save rate is currently at 79.4 percent. The dog save rate is quite a bit higher, which is exciting; we’re at about 92 percent. And then the cat save rate year-to-date is at about close to 64 percent,” Martin said.

Martin said the campaign is on track to meet its goal.

Red Mountain Resort in Southern Utah has been a contributor in making Utah a no-kill state with an activity unique to the facility–the Pound Puppy Hike.

During the complementary activity guests are given a puppy or dog from Friends of Ivins Animal Shelter to walk with on trails in St. George Valley and Padre Canyon.

“One of our hiking guides actually went to work at the shelter as the animal control officer,” said Tracey Welsh, general manager at the resort. “She recognized the need for the animals to get out of the shelter and hike and she knew that Red Mountain guests who brought their dogs enjoyed that, so why wouldn’t Red Mountain guests without dogs?”

The Ivins Animal Shelter has a no-kill policy and its adoption rate is 99.7 percent. Welsh said the resort supports the no-kill mission of the shelter.

“The more exposure shelter animals get as positive animals, that they can be loving animals that can be brought into your home, is huge,” said Welsh.

Around 30 dogs have been adopted by guests who’ve participated in the program since it began in 2008.