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Best Friends Animal Society Celebrates One-Year Anniversary of No-Kill Utah Initiative

Coalition Poised to End Killing of Shelter Animals in Utah by 2019

Best Friends Animal Society is celebrating the one-year anniversary of the statewide No-Kill Utah (NKUT) initiative as a final push to make Utah a state that no longer kills cats and dogs in shelters. The goal is to make Utah a no-kill state by 2019.

The executive director of Best Friends-Utah, Arlyn Bradshaw will be available for interviews at the Best Friends Pet Adoption Center, 2005 S. 1100 E. from 11 a.m. to noon, Sunday, March 29.

NKUT is an initiative of Best Friends Animal Society and a coalition of 51 other Utah-based animal welfare organizations. Making Utah a no-kill state means that animal shelters will have achieved a combined save rate of 90 percent - that is, 90 percent of the animals entering the shelter system leave alive. (The other 10 percent typically are euthanized for severe medical or behavioral issues.) Achieving this goal would make Utah the nation's second no-kill state, following New Hampshire.

At the end of 2014, the collective save rate for all shelters in the state was 77.4 percent, up from 71.5 for 2013. Nearly 13,800 dogs and cats were killed in the Utah shelter system out of a total population of nearly 61,000 animals. Cats represented more than 11,000 of these deaths, or around 80 percent. According to Best Friends, more than 8,000 dogs and cats died in Utah simply because they did not have homes.

Since NKUT launched in April 2014, the number of pets entering Utah shelters has decreased by about .5 percent, and the number of pets being killed in Utah shelters has been reduced by nearly 20 percent.

The 2014 save rate for dogs in Utah has already reached the threshold of no-kill status, at 91.4 percent, but for cats it was significantly lower at 61.8.

"Best Friends is proud of the work accomplished by all 50-plus NKUT Coalition members, said Arlyn Bradshaw, Best Friends-Utah executive director. "Our partnerships among rescue groups, shelters, the kitten nursery and community cat trappers will ensure that we will turn Utah into a no-kill state."

 "As a result of our working together, the state of Utah has now positioned itself as the cornerstone state in animal welfare, Bradshaw added. "We are poised to achieve a no-kill Utah by 2019 and together we are laying the groundwork for other states across the nation to become no kill. Together, we have created incredible change and are leading by example."

Adoptions and spay/neuter are key to achieving NKUT. More than 19,000 pets were adopted through the NKUT Coalition in 2014.

Best Friends Spay/Neuter Clinic in Orem performed more than 10,500 spay/neuter surgeries and nearly 16,700 spay/neuter vouchers were distributed in Utah. More than 9,200 spay/neuter surgeries were performed in Utah for community, or free-roaming cats through our Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) program. More than 5,000 surgeries were performed for pets of low-income pet owners.

Salt Lake County Animal Services, West Valley City Animal Services and South Salt Lake Animal Services all operated as no-kill facilities in 2014. Public/private partnerships have been instrumental in helping these shelters convert to no-kill by promoting and increasing adoptions, reducing shelter intake through targeted spay/neuter services and saving community cats.

Much progress has been made since the original coalition (formerly called the No More Homeless Pets in Utah Coalition) was formed in 2000. At that time, more than 46,000 dogs and cats died each year in Utah shelters.

Best Friends through the years has stressed the importance of personal responsibility in multiple areas of pet ownership: spaying and neutering, microchipping and licensing, adopting from shelters or rescue groups instead of buying from pet stores, breeders or online retailers, fostering or volunteering for a shelter or rescue group, donating and spreading the word as a community advocate.

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About Best Friends Animal Society®

Best Friends Animal Society is the only national animal welfare organization focused exclusively on ending the killing of dogs and cats in America's shelters. A leader in the no-kill movement, Best Friends runs the nation's largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals, as well as lifesaving programs in collaboration with its nationwide network of members and partners working to Save Them All®. In Utah, Best Friends leads the No-Kill Utah (NKUT) initiative, which is focused on ending the killing of dogs and cats in state shelters by 2019, and operates a pet adoption center in the Sugar House neighborhood of Salt Lake City and a spay/neuter clinic in Orem. Since its founding in 1984, Best Friends has helped reduce the number of animals killed in American shelters from 17 million per year to about 4 million.

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