Model Programs

Best Friends Animal Society is known for developing and supporting model no-kill programs that can be refined and replicated in communities across the country. Model programs save lives and demonstrate the value of the targeted investment of resources in the march to no-kill.

San Antonio

SAPA Announcement 2Austin Pets Alive showed that no-kill was possible in that Texas city. So it was amazing news when the team, led by Dr. Ellen Jefferson, announced they'd be taking their energy and creativity to San Antonio. Best Friends is proud to now be working with San Antonio Pets Alive (SAPA). In 2012, we presented SAPA with a $450,000 grant to help them get started on their life saving mission. Best Friends also partnered directly with San Antonio Animal Care Services to implement a comprehensive Community Cats Project, with funding provided by PetSmart Charities®. As a result of these model programs 5,000 more San Antonio shelter pets have been saved in 2012 compared to the same time period for 2011. Contact: (210) 306-6126


Jacksonville AnnouncementFeral Freedom, a program of First Coast No More Homeless Pets (FCNMHP), is a cutting-edge plan that Best Friends began funding 2008. It turned the conventional idea of how to handle community cats on its head. Rather than impounding and killing feral cats, which almost by definition are unadoptable, the Feral Freedom model conceived by FCNMHP Director Rick Ducharme, has feral cats trapped by Jacksonville Animal Control bypass the shelter entirely in favor of being spayed or neutered and returned to the location where they were trapped. This creative partnership with animal services resulted in a reduction of shelter cat deaths by more than 50% in the first year of implementation.

Based on the continuing success of Feral Freedom, in 2012 we awarded First Coast NMHP an additional $340,000 to support increased shelter adoptions. The grant helped to fund a new adoption center - a public/private partnership with Jacksonville Animal Care and Protective Services - and a neo-natal kitten nursery run by Jacksonville Humane Society. Such multi-agency collaborative efforts reflects Best Friends commitment to community coalitions.


ABQ AnnouncementAs in San Antonio and Jacksonville, Best Friends is supporting a public / private partnership that implements a variation of the Feral Freedom model that is saving lives.

The idea is simple. Best Friends' staffers work closely with the Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department (AAWD) on a Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) program where cats from high shelter cat intake areas are TNR'd rather than being impounded and killed. The Community Cats Project has the goal of spaying/neutering 3,500 community cats a year for three years, at a total project cost approximately $1 million. The results are already clear - shelter killing of cats is down by 67%, based on statistics from April-June 2012 compared to April-June 2011, and that's only in the first few months of program implementation! with the first 2,000 or surgeries completed. Community cats need a community solution, and that's exactly what is happening. It's local government, local TNR organizations, local spay/neuter clinics, individual volunteers, and Best Friends who all have a big hand in the program's success. Contact: (505) 440-3441


Four Directions Cat Program works with over 50 urban and rural communities in a radius of about 150 miles surrounding the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, providing trap/neuter/return (TNR) services, including trapping and transport assistance, a food program, and veterinary care. We use the Best Friends clinic for spay/neuter services, and six veterinarians' clinics around Southern Utah participate in a low-cost spay/neuter program. Four Directions utilizes a key volunteer in each of their larger locations to streamline efforts. Best Friends also collaborates with local governments on progressive policies and laws designed to save cats. Contact: (435) 644-4469

FreeFix LA

Since April 2011, FixNation and Best Friends have been working together to lower the shelter euthanasia rates in East Valley-an impoverished area of Los Angeles with high euthanasia rates. This Best Friends-staffed program targets the East Valley residents by offering TNR as an alternative to trap and kill. The program serves cats in five cities: Pacoima (91331), Sylmar (91342), North Hollywood (91605), Panorama City (91402) and Van Nuys (91405). This targeted program has resulted in a 20% decrease in shelter cat intake in those areas in the first half of 2012. Free Fix LA hotline: (818) 823-3188

Catnippers (Los Angeles, California)

We are also working in Los Angeles, California, with FixNation, who operates as a low-cost spay/neuter clinic in Los Angeles. The first of its kind in the United States, this clinic is groundbreaking and will lead the way as a model for community cat clinics around the country. The clinic works with local groups and individuals to battle the overpopulation of cats by providing free spay/neuter services for feral and stray cats as well as shots and health checks. Since its inception in 2007, FixNation has spayed and neutered 60,000 cats. Since 1999, every other month, a mass TNR event called Catnippers, staffed by all volunteers, is held. Over 120 cats are typically fixed in one day. Contact: (818) 524-2287 or e-mail:

Feral Freedom (DeKalb County, Georgia)

Similar to the Jacksonville program, Rebecca Guinn, director of LifeLine Animal Project, and Kathy Mooneyham, director of DeKalb County Animal Services and Enforcement, approached Best Friends to save the community cats from being euthanized at the shelter. LifeLine has two clinics to perform the spay/neuter surgeries. Best Friends staff provides care for the cats, and once the cats have received vaccinations and recovered from surgery, they are released back into the community in which they were found. Since its inception in August 2010, the feline kill rate went from 78 to 26 percent at DeKalb County Animal Services. Contact: (404) 933-0044

Lifesaving Grants

Best Friends is helping dozens of shelters and rescue groups across the nation through our No More Homeless Pets Network Lifesaving Grants program. Best Friends, in collaboration with PetSmart CharitiesⓇ offers Lifesaving Grants that focus on increasing adoption and spay/neuter efforts. In 2012, the first year of the collaboration, over 50 Network partner organizations are putting $430,000 to work saving the lives of homeless pets.