A no-kill community acts on the belief that every dog and cat deserves to live — and focuses on saving lives through pet adoption, spay/neuter, trap-neuter-return and other community support programs. While a percentage is not the goal, a quantitative benchmark can help guide lifesaving efforts. Saving 90 percent or more of the animals who enter shelters is the current benchmark for no-kill. For a community to be considered no-kill, all of its brick and mortar shelters located in the same jurisdiction must aggregate at 90% Save Rate or higher for dogs and cats together, and the municipal shelter providing service to a community must also be independently at a 90% or greater Save Rate. Some more info about no-kill:
Getting to no-kill is as important to shelter workers as it is for the animals they love and care for every day. In fact, shelters are vital partners in achieving no-kill status in a community.
No-kill means rehabilitating animals whenever possible, as many unwanted behaviors can be successfully treated, with the exceptions being in cases of extreme aggression; a veterinarian has eliminated medical treatment as a solution; if rehabilitation by a qualified behaviorist has failed; if staff and public safety cannot be assured; or other management protocols seriously compromise quality of life.
Long-term sanctuary care that provides companionship, enrichment, care and exercise can be an option for the small portion of animals unable to find homes. Communication and goodwill between shelters and sanctuaries helps foster these partnerships.
The no-kill principle supports true euthanasia – that is, ending the life of an animal in order to end irremediable suffering – after a veterinarian has assessed that there is no chance of recovering an acceptable quality of life, or in cases where it would be clearly inhumane not to do so immediately due to obvious severe suffering/imminent death. No-kill does not support the killing of healthy or otherwise treatable animals to make space for other animals.
Each community is collectively responsible for its decisions regarding homeless pets and for creating safe, humane environments for the people and pets who live in them.