No-Kill for Cats and Dogs in America’s Shelters


Now is the time to connect with your local shelter and animal welfare groups to help foster pets and offer ongoing support.

Learn more about Best Friends' response to COVID-19 and other helpful resources here.


Is your community no-kill?


Explore lifesaving nationwide using the interactive tool below and see which shelters in your community need your support. When every shelter in a community achieves a 90% save rate for all cats and dogs, that community is designated as no-kill. This provides a simple, effective benchmark for our lifesaving progress.

This dashboard presents a dynamic data set that is being updated regularly with the most current information available. We welcome your feedback to help ensure that our data is the latest and most accurate information.

About the lifesaving community dashboard

These community maps are the first of their kind in animal welfare. They represent an enormous undertaking on the part of compassionate organizations and individuals throughout the country and a commitment to collaboration and transparency from more than 3,200 shelters across the country.

Community Lifesaving Dashboard FAQs
Answers to frequently asked questions about this new tool and our data collection process. Learn more.

The community lifesaving dashboard is a work in progress, and we need help from people across the country to create a more accurate picture of lifesaving needs in our nation’s shelters. Please let us know what we can do to improve our data.

Animal Shelters
Update your shelter’s information, provide or edit the narrative displayed on your shelter’s page, submit stories of how the dashboard has impacted your community, or provide general questions or comments. Update your information.

The Best Friends community lifesaving dashboard and the data behind it have been awarded a Media Excellence Award in the Analytics and Big Data category. This award recognizes leaders and innovators who create new life-changing technology.

Common elements of a no-kill community

All no-kill communities embrace and promote:

Collective responsibility: We hold ourselves accountable for the welfare of pets in our animal shelters and communities.

  • Individual community members are willing to participate in lifesaving programs.
  • State and local government are poised to support those programs.
  • A transparent shelter staff is working with their community to save more lives.

Progressive lifesaving: We value compassionate and responsible actions to save animals.

  • Decision-making is data-driven and anchored by best practices in the field.
  • Quality care is provided to every pet and quality of life is a priority.
  • Programs are designed to save the animals most at risk of being killed.
  • Programs are designed to tackle the root of the problem rather than the symptoms.

True euthanasia: We recognize that, for some animals, euthanasia is the most compassionate choice. This is why the no-kill benchmark for save rate is 90% and not 100%. In some cases, shelters may not meet the 90% benchmark, but do meet the philosophical principles of no-kill, which are:

  • Ending the life of an animal only to end irremediable suffering.
  • Ending the life of an animal when the animal is too dangerous to rehabilitate and place in the community safely.

End-of-life decisions are made by animal welfare professionals engaging in best practices and protocols.

Visit the “Community Lifesaving Dashboard Frequently Asked Questions" page to learn more. Learn how we calculate lifesaving progress for our maps and how you can help make them more accurate and powerful for the pets in your community and beyond.

Working together to save more pets