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Civic Officials, Sugar House community celebrate opening of new Best Friends Pet Adoption Center

SALT LAKE CITY - A new chapter in the longstanding public-private partnership between Best Friends Animal Society and the Greater Salt Lake City-area community begins today with a "leash-cutting" ceremony at the new Best Friends Pet Adoption Center in Sugar House.

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, Salt Lake County Councilman Arlyn Bradshaw, Salt Lake City Councilman Soren Simonsen and Sugar House Community Liaison Shawn McDonough (representing Mayor Ralph Becker), assisted Best Friends Chief Executive Officer Gregory Castle in a special "leashcutting" ceremony, signaling the grand opening of the center.

The new center, which is part of a trend to take adoptable shelter animals into retail environments, will feature adoptable dogs and cats from Best Friends and local area shelter partners. Gregory Castle said the new retail-type location will help bring more adoptable animals directly to the public, especially to people who might not normally visit a shelter. Best Friends had offered animals for adoption at Trolley Square prior to the move to Sugar House.

"We are delighted to open our new center in the hub of one of the most delightful areas of Salt Lake City," Castle said. "Hopefully, the people who visit the center will feel the love from the animals we feature and help us reduce pet homelessness by giving these animals a forever home of their own."

From 2000 until 2013, Best Friends has helped save the lives of hundreds of thousands of animals all over the state by providing low-cost and no-cost spay-neuter resources, facilitating adoptions and supporting Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) for community cats.

"To achieve its mission, Salt Lake County Animal Services has entered into collaborative partnerships - including Best Friends - to advance our "no-kill shelter" status. It's a great model and Salt Lake County is committed to its success," said Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams.

Located at 2005 S. 1100 E. in one of the trendiest areas of the city, the center, in addition to featuring about 60 animals for adoption, will also provide office space for approximately 30 Best Friends employees. On a typical day, there will be 20 dogs and 40 cats available for adoption. Facilitating the adoption process will be a cozy "get-acquainted" room where potential adopters can spend time meeting a dog or cat one-on-one. The center also has a retail shop where Best Friends merchandise is for sale.

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, who could not attend the event because he is recovering from recent knee surgery said: "We laud and appreciate the great work being done by the Best Friends Animal Society here in Utah and across the country. "The adoption center is a great new addition to our Sugar House family of businesses and we hope it will help further the Society's guiding principle of reducing the number of homeless pets in our community."

The center also will be a fountain of information for pet lovers, including resources for free or low-cost spay/neuter services and informational supports for those who care for community cats, including vouchers and trap rentals.

"Since 1999, when we began as No More Homeless Pets in Utah, we've been working to end the killing of adoptable animals in Utah shelters," said Anna Gonce, executive director of the center. "It's paying off in a big way. In the 13 years since we began, the kill rate in Utah has dropped by 51 percent. Our new center will enable us to take that kill rate even lower."

Gonce encourages the pet-loving public, especially those planning to add a pet to the family, to stop by the center to see all the wonderful animals available for adoption.

"The great thing about the center is that it's a fun family environment for people who love pets. If you can't add another pet to your home, consider volunteering to walk a dog or play with a cat. Our volunteers play important roles in helping to socialize the animals and put them in the best position to be adopted."

Hours of operation

The office will be open for regular business Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Adoption hours at the center will be Wednesday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

About Best Friends Animal Society®

Best Friends Animal Society is a national animal welfare organization building no-kill programs and partnerships that will bring about a day when there are No More HomelessPets® . The society's leading initiatives in animal care and community programs are coordinated from its Kanab, Utah headquarters, the country's largest no-kill sanctuary. This work is made possible by the personal and financial support of a grassroots network of supporters and community partners across the nation.

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Best Friends Animal Society-Utah, the Utah office of the society, began in 1999 as No More Homeless Pets in Utah. Today, it's a proud part of Best Friends Animal Society, still focused entirely on Utah, and serving as an exemplary model for the rest of the country. Our nationally-recognized work focuses on increasing adoptions of shelter cats and dogs, creating access to free and low-cost spay/neuter services, and collaborating with Utah shelters, rescue groups, veterinarians and local governments to save the lives of homeless pets. So far, these innovative efforts have helped reduce the number of animals killed in Utah's shelters by 51 percent. Together with you, we will turn Utah into a state with No More Homeless Pets® .

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