Frequently Asked Questions

Best Friends Animal Society, a leader in the no-kill movement, is working with shelters, rescue groups and our members nationwide to end the unnecessary killing of dogs and cats in shelters and Save Them All.

Best Friends, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, operates the nation's largest sanctuary for homeless animals; provides adoption, spay/neuter, and educational programs; manages the Best Friends Animal Society Pet Adoption and Spay/Neuter Center in Los Angeles; and publishes the Best Friends magazine.

Best Friends has expanded our outreach beyond the Sanctuary to help animals nationwide. Some examples include:

Best Friends Animal Society–Utah, based in Salt Lake City, began in 2000 as No More Homeless Pets in Utah. Today, it's part of Best Friends Animal Society, and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in Utah's shelters by 51 percent.

Best Friends Animal Society–Los Angeles' presence in L.A. is carried out through its many adoption events, spay/neuter campaigns and partnerships with city and county government. In early 2012, the Best Friends Pet Adoption and Spay/Neuter Center in Mission Hills, California, opened to the public.

The No More Homeless Pets Network is comprised of 501(c)(3) public charity rescue groups, spay/neuter organizations, and shelters actively saving lives and reducing euthanasia rates in their communities.

Below are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Best Friends.

About the Sanctuary

1.) How did Best Friends begin?
2.) How many animals live at the sanctuary?
3.) Where do they come from?
4.) What is a "no-kill" sanctuary?
5.) What happens to the animals who are brought here?
6.) Where is the Sanctuary?
7.) What services and activities are available at the Sanctuary?

1.) How did Best Friends begin?

Best Friends had its origin in Arizona in the 1970s with a group of animal lovers who were unwilling to accept the conventional wisdom of the time that humane societies and shelters "had no choice" but to kill their "unadoptable" animals.

They rescued animals from shelters whose luck was about to run out, rehabilitated them, and found homes for hundreds of these cast-off pets.

Those who did not find homes became a unique assortment of wonderful and lovable creatures whose numbers grew until Best Friends Animal Society was established in 1984 as a large and unique sanctuary at Angel Canyon in Utah.

Since then, Best Friends has grown into a leader in the no-kill movement with a mission to end the unnecessary killing of dogs and cats in America's shelters and to Save Them All.

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2.) How many animals live at the Sanctuary?

The Sanctuary is home on any given day to about 1,700 animals. Most of these are dogs and cats, but there are also horses, burros, birds, rabbits, goats, pigs, and an assortment of other creatures.

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3.) Where do they come from?

The animals come from all over the country, and sometimes beyond — mostly from shelters that don't have the resources to rehabilitate them and where they would otherwise be destroyed. In exchange, many of these shelters take back animals who are ready to be placed in good homes.

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4.) What is a "no-kill" sanctuary?

"No-kill" means that animals are not destroyed except in cases of terminal and painful illness, when compassion demands euthanasia because there is no reasonable alternative.

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5.) What happens to the animals who are brought here?

Most of them are soon ready to go to good homes with permanent or foster families, making way for new arrivals.

If for any reason adoption isn't possible, Sanctuary animals will get love and care from staff and volunteers for their lifetime.

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6.) Where is the Sanctuary?

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is located at Angel Canyon, where Best Friends owns nearly 3,700 acres, and leases another 17,000 acres of state and federal land, in the majestic red rock country of Southern Utah, just outside the town of Kanab. The Sanctuary is at the heart of the famous Golden Circle of national parks, close to Zion National Park, the Grand Canyon's North Rim, Bryce Canyon, and Lake Powell.

Angel Canyon is a mecca for people who love animals and nature, and is world famous as the backdrop for dozens of movie and TV westerns going back to the 1950s, including “The Lone Ranger,” “Mackenna's Gold” and “The Outlaw Josey Wales.”

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7.) What services and activities are available at the Sanctuary?

Tours of Best Friends and visits with the animals are available daily throughout the year. Full tours take about an hour and a half, and need to be booked in advance. Over 25,000 visitors and vacationers come to the Sanctuary each year.

Visitors and volunteers are always welcome at the Sanctuary, and are a vital part of helping the animals to get ready for new homes. There are a plethora of animal shelter volunteer opportunities. Folks come from all over to spend time with the animals and give them the personal attention they would get in a family home. Student and intern programs are also available.

The Best Friends Clinic provides low-cost spay/neuter for pet dogs and cats. The fee is $25 for cats and $35 for dogs. For an appointment, call (435) 644-2001, ext. 4210. Feral, stray, and free-roaming cats are done at no charge through the community cat program. For more information and to make an appointment, call (435) 644-4469.

Hands-on workshops at the Sanctuary cover a variety of topics related to animal care and sanctuary management.

Staff members are licensed by state and federal authorities to rehabilitate birds and other wildlife and provide ongoing care for animals who cannot be released.

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Save Them All

1.) What does it mean to Save Them All?
2.) Can we really Save Them All?
3.) What are some of our programs to Save Them All?  

1.) What does it mean to Save Them All?

At the core of Best Friends' work is the dream that one day animals will no longer be killed in America's shelters, and all animals born will get the love and care they deserve. Best Friends is working with you — and with humane groups all across the country — to Save Them All.

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2.) Can we really Save Them All?

Absolutely! Utah is a great example. In 1999, nearly 46,000 animals were killed in Utah shelters. Innovative efforts have helped reduce the number of animals killed in Utah shelters by 51 percent. Additionally, in Jacksonville, Florida, where Best Friends has partnered with First Coast No More Homeless Pets, 16,640 dogs and cats died in Duval County shelters in 2008. By 2012, that number has decreased to 4,433, an astounding 73.4 percent reduction!

These remarkable achievements are due to the success of spay/neuter and adoption programs, and a growing public sentiment that dogs, cats and other pets should be valued as family members.

Every week, more humane societies, animal welfare groups, animal control authorities, and concerned citizens are committing themselves to the goal of bringing an end to the killing in their own neighborhoods, cities or states.

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3.) What are some of our programs to Save Them All?

The No More Homeless Pets Network is a free program that offers fundraising and adoption events, educational opportunities, consultations, and grants to select 501(c)(3) rescue groups or municipal shelters whose spay/neuter and/or adoption programs make a significant and measurable impact in their communities.

At the No More Homeless Pets National Conference, experts from across the country share strategies they are using to develop no-kill communities.

Staff members and volunteers work with Best Friends Animal Society–Utah and Best Friends Animal Society–Los Angeles to help the entire state of Utah and Los Angeles achieve no-kill status. Programs include adoption events, spay/neuter programs, and public awareness campaigns. Best Friends has collaborated with Salt Lake County Animal Services (SLCoAS) to open the Best Friends Pet Adoption Center.

In Los Angeles, we manage the Best Friends Animal Society Pet Adoption and Spay/Neuter Center. We also initiated No-Kill Los Angeles (NKLA), a model campaign, working with shelters and rescue groups to bring an end to the killing of healthy homeless pets.

Free information on pet care and behavior, as well as how-to guides for humane groups and individuals who want to get involved helping animals, are available on our website. Best Friends staff members provide free consulting services for No More Homeless Pets Network partners.

Best Friends magazine is the nation's largest general-interest animal magazine (circulation about 215,000). Our magazine focuses on positive stories about the work of Best Friends, other inspiring organizations, and people who are doing good work for the animals. It's an expression of the Best Friends’ philosophy that kindness to animals builds a better world for all of us and shares information about our efforts to Save Them All. To receive the magazine, become a member of Best Friends.

The Best Friends website at www.bestfriends.org is updated regularly with news about the Sanctuary and our outreach programs. The website also provides resources to help individuals and organizations help animals.

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Membership and management

1.) How is the work of Best Friends funded?
2.) How many members does Best Friends have?
3.) Is Best Friends affiliated with any other organizations?

How is the work of Best Friends funded?

The work of Best Friends Animal Society, including care of the animals at the Sanctuary, our Save Them All outreach, national and local programs, and community support is funded by the generous donations of members, supporters, corporations and foundations.

Donations to Best Friends are tax-deductible. Accounts are fully audited, and financial information is available on our website or upon request.

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How many members does Best Friends have?

Active membership currently numbers more than a quarter million households worldwide.

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Is Best Friends affiliated with any other organizations?

Best Friends is not formally affiliated with other animal welfare groups, but works cooperatively with hundreds of other organizations, including our No More Homeless Pets Network partners. There are businesses and other charities that include the words "Best Friends" in their title, but they are most often not associated with Best Friends Animal Society.

Best Friends Animal Society
5001 Angel Canyon Road
Kanab, Utah 84741-5000
Phone: (435) 644-2001
Email: info@bestfriends.org

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