In the last decade and a half, animal shelters in numerous communities have implemented a bold series of programs and services to reduce birthrates, increase adoptions, and keep animals with their responsible caretakers. As a result, they are achieving unprecedented results, saving upwards of 95 percent of all impounded animals in their animal control facilities. These communities share very little demographically. What they do share is leadership at their shelters with a passion for lifesaving and who have comprehensively implemented a key series of programs and services, collectively referred to as the “No Kill Equation.”
At one time, those communities also offered little more than killing and excuses: pet overpopulation, blaming the public, a lack of resources. When they stopped blaming and changed their own behavior, the killing stopped. There is still a “public” in these communities, animals are still entering their shelters, and resources are tight. But they are succeeding, where ours is failing.
The fundamental lesson from the experiences of these communities is that the choices made by shelter managers are the most significant variables in whether animals live or die. Several communities are more than doubling adoptions and cutting killing by as much as 75 percent — and it isn’t taking them five years or more to do it. They are doing it virtually overnight. There are now “no kill” communities in California, Kentucky, Indiana, New York, Michigan, Texas, Nevada, Virginia, and elsewhere. In short, there are no valid excuses as to why our community cannot do the same if it chooses.