Here’s How You Can Help Your State Euthanize Fewer Dogs


When Best Friends Animal Society started the No Kill Utah initiative in April 2014, the goal was for the entire state to become “no kill” by 2019. Just two years later, amazing progress has been made. In 2015, the overall save rate for all animals was 84.3 percent, up seven points from 2014. The save rate (the animals who get out alive) for dogs was an impressive 93.2 percent and cats 74.5 percent. For reference, the ASPCA notes that the nationwide save rate is just 61 percent for dogs and 42 percent for cats.

“In 1999, more than 103 animals were killed in Utah’s shelters every day. Today that has dropped to fewer than nine per day, a number of lives that is very possible to save with community support,” said Arlyn Bradshaw, Best Friends – Utah executive director, in a press release.

The people behind No Kill Utah (NKUT) have worked really hard to reach this point, partnering with 56-plus shelters all over the state and offering free or reduced-cost spay/neutering. It’s clear that their education efforts have worked and that the average pet parent in Utah is doing their part to be responsible.

Adopting your dog from a shelter could literally save a life. Photo Credit: Best Friends Animal Society
Adopting your next dog from a shelter could literally save a life. (Photo courtesy Best Friends Animal Society)

So, what can the average pet parent do to reduce the number of dogs euthanized in their own state? Here are some suggestions:

  • Adopt your new pet from a shelter and encourage your friends and family members to do the same. Share information with people about why they shouldn’t buy a pet from a pet store or online. The National Mill Dog Rescue is a good resource.
  • Spay or neuter your pet and encourage your friends and family members to do so as well. Don’t let the cost discourage you. There are many low-cost or even no-cost clinics out there for people who need help. The ASPCA has a searchable database to help you find a program nearby.
  • Donate to a local shelter or rescue. Websites like Charity Navigator can help you find a legitimate organization to help.
  • If you can’t donate or adopt, perhaps you can foster? Providing even a short-term or temporary home for a dog helps!
  • Microchip and license your pet. This makes it much easier to return her to you if she accidentally gets out of the yard! Just about every veterinary clinic and even some pet-supply stores have microchip readers to help finders of lost pets contact owners.
  • Volunteer at a shelter. Volunteers are needed to clean, exercise, and interact with dogs, and to talk to potential adopters. The more volunteers, the more pleasant of an experience a visit to the shelter can be and the more successful meet and greets go.
  • Find out if there are any no-kill initiatives in your city and get involved. Best Friends Animal Society currently has initiatives in Utah, Los Angeles, and New York, but could be expanding in the future. Also look for local Humane Society chapters or any other animal welfare organization that might be doing something.
  • Become an advocate in your community. Attend local events supporting shelters/rescues, post education articles (like this one!) on your Facebook page or on Twitter, and share information with people you meet.
  • Go to training classes with your dog. A well-trained dog is less likely to run away or end up in a shelter because of behavior problems. You can also learn more about training, including getting DIY tips, from our many Dogster training articles.
Photo Credit: Best Friends Animal Society
A volunteer playing with dogs. (Photo via Best Friends Animal Society)

Are you working toward helping your state become no kill? Share your challenges and successes in the comments!

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