Governor Cox Declares the State of Utah Will Become No-Kill in 2024

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SALT LAKE CITY — Today, Governor Spencer Cox declared 2024 as No-Kill Shelter Year in Utah. The declaration demonstrates that the state of Utah is working diligently to make Utah not only the first no-kill state in the west, but also the largest no-kill state in the country.   


Best Friends Animal Society, a leading national animal welfare organization working to end the killing of cats and dogs in America’s shelters by 2025, applauds this monumental lifesaving motion in its home state.  


“Utah is on the cusp of achieving no-kill and Governor Cox’s declaration gives the movement an extra push to achieve this momentous accomplishment in 2024,” said Julie Castle, CEO, Best Friends Animal Society. “Forty years ago, Best Friends made Utah its home state with the Best Friends Animal Society Sanctuary in Kanab. Now, in 2024, it just makes sense for no-kill to be on the horizon for the Beehive State.”  


According to recent data from Best Friends, about 2,100 dogs and cats were killed in Utah animal shelters, with a majority (76%) of those deaths being cats. However, there is hope – 46 out of 58, or 79%, of shelters in Utah have reached no-kill status. Currently, throughout the state only 12 shelters have yet to reach no-kill. 


Best Friends and the No-Kill Utah (NKUT) Coalition, an initiative that brings together passionate individuals, city shelters, and animal welfare organizations, are working to increase pet lifesaving throughout the state.


The organizations work with shelters throughout the state, including North Utah Valley Animal Services and South Utah Valley Animal Services, to adopt lifesaving programming including: community cat programming, spay/neuter services, and food assistance, among other resources.  


"I am supportive of Utah working to become a no-kill state," said Gov. Cox. "We know that when residents of our great state come together for a cause they believe in, they can achieve so much. I fully support Utahns stepping up by adopting and fostering animals in their local communities." 

No-kill is defined as saving every dog or cat in a shelter who can be saved. Rather than simply working to obtain a no-kill designation, the goal is for every shelter to make a clear commitment to pet lifesaving and transparency while working to achieve and sustain no-kill in philosophy and practice. Community safety and good quality of life for pets are guiding principles of the no-kill philosophy and are attainable when animal welfare professionals engage in best practices and protocols. 

“Utah continues to make significant progress in pet lifesaving, and it takes a collaborative approach to achieve no-kill,” said Castle. “Community members, local shelters and rescue groups, and government officials must take Governor Cox’s words to heart as we all commit to 2024 as the year Utah goes no-kill.” 

Individuals can help save lives by choosing to adopt from a shelter or rescue group instead of purchasing from a breeder or store, spay or neuter their pets, foster kittens or an adult dog, volunteer, donate, and advocate for proven lifesaving programming for pets. 

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 in 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 415,000 last year. Best Friends runs lifesaving programs across the country, as well as the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary. Working collaboratively with a network of more than 4,800 animal welfare and shelter partners, and community members nationwide, Best Friends is working to Save Them All®. For more information, visit