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City of Los Angeles Animal Shelters Reach No-Kill for the First Time Ever

Person holding a brown tabby kitten

Best Friends Animal Society's No-Kill Los Angeles Initiative Becomes a Reality in America's Second Largest City

March 10, 2021 (Los Angeles, CA) -- The second largest city in the country, Los Angeles, has become no-kill for the first time.

When Best Friends Animal Society first launched its No-Kill Los Angeles (NKLA) initiative in 2012, only 56% of dogs and cats were making it out of Los Angeles city shelters alive. In 2020, thanks to the efforts of Los Angeles Animal Services, a coalition of animal welfare organizations, compassionate leaders and dedicated community, the city sustained a save rate of 90.49%.

"It's difficult to overstate the enormity of this moment and its place in the history of the no-kill movement," said Julie Castle, chief executive officer, Best Friends Animal Society. "NKLA has demonstrated what's possible when an entire community works together and if Los Angeles can do it, any city can."

A 90% save rate is the nationally recognized benchmark to be considered "no-kill", factoring that approximately 10% of pets who enter shelters have medical or behavioral circumstances that warrant humane euthanasia rather than killing for lack of space.

The NKLA coalition steering committee members include Angel City Pit Bulls, FixNation, Heaven on Earth Society for Animals, Kitten Rescue, Kitty Bungalow Charm School for Wayward Cats, Michelson Found Animals Foundation, Paws for Life K9 Rescue, The Spay Neuter Project of Los Angeles (SNPLA), and Stray Cat Alliance.

"Collaboration is key to saving lives and this coalition has certainly proved that to be true," said Brenda Barnette, general manager of LA Animal Services. "We're so grateful to Best Friends, our many rescue partners, staff, volunteers, and the community who responded to foster and adopt the animals in our Centers during the pandemic, which helped us achieve our 90.49 percent lifesaving rate by year end 2020."

While COVID-19 created some challenges in Los Angeles, as it did for animal shelters across the country, it also offered opportunities to transform shelters through expanded community involvement.

"By increasing fostering and programs that keep pets with their families, the future of animal sheltering is starting to look a lot like people's homes," Castle said. "This is so positive because a home environment is almost always preferable for pets. It also frees up space for the shelters to be able to focus on the most in-need animals in their care."

The achievements and successes of Los Angeles serves as a model for other cities and states, as Best Friends leads the way to a no-kill country by 2025. Best Friends founded a similar coalition statewide in Utah, called No-Kill Utah (NKUT), which is close to reaching the 90% save rate in every shelter and community in Utah. When this happens, it will be the second no-kill state in the country, after Delaware. Currently, the United States has a collective 79% save rate.

To find a local shelter near you or learn more, visit https://bestfriends.org/2025-goal.

About Best Friends Animal Society

Best Friends Animal Society is a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of dogs and cats in America's shelters by 2025. Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer in the no-kill movement and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from an estimated 17 million per year to around 625,000. Best Friends runs lifesaving programs all across the country, as well as the nation's largest no-kill animal sanctuary. Working collaboratively with a network of more than 3,200 animal welfare and shelter partners, and community members nationwide, Best Friends is working to Save Them All®. For more information, visit bestfriends.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About Los Angeles Animal Services

LA Animal Services promotes and protects the health, safety, and welfare of animals and the people who love them, and is one of the largest municipal shelter systems in the United States. With six Centers across the City, LA Animal Services serves approximately 60,000 animals annually and responds to 20,000 emergency calls involving animals or people in danger. LA Animal Services is part of the Human Animal Support Services (HASS) international coalition, joining 38 municipal shelters and animal welfare organizations across the country to reimagine and transform the way shelters care for animals and their families, by offering access to resources to help keep families together; getting lost pets home quickly without having to enter the shelter system; providing food and medical assistance; and continuing to build on a strong adoption and foster program so pets find their permanent homes or are placed in foster care. Visit our link.tree for helpful links to the services and resources available to you and your companion animals. Connect with LA Animal Services and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.