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NKLA coalition celebrates record-breaking, lifesaving month for city shelter dogs, cats

Thank you Los Angeles!

LOS ANGELES - December 2012 ended up being the best month ever in Los Angeles for saving adoptable, treatable shelter dogs and cats, capping the inaugural year of NKLA, a mission to take the City of Angels to a no-kill status within five years.

Los Angeles Animal Services and NKLA (No-Kill Los Angeles), a Best Friends Animal Society-led coalition working to end the killing of adoptable, treatable animals in Los Angeles animal shelters, reported a reduction in shelter killing for the year by more than 4,200 animals for 2012 compared to 2011. And for the month of December, the save rate for animals at City of Los Angeles shelters was at an all-time high of 84 percent.

"Though we were just short of reaching our goal of a 90 percent save rate, it was a tremendous achievement and gives us great momentum going into 2013, especially considering that previously typical save rates for LA shelters have been in the 60-65 percent range," said Francis Battista, a co-founder of Best Friends Animal Society who works closely with the NKLA coalition."

Brenda Barnette, general manager of LA Animal Services, also expressed satisfaction with the December no-kill push:

"The success in 2012 is a great tribute to what can be done when government, nonprofits, individuals and large organizations focus their efforts to save animals' lives and work together," said Barnette.

At the end of October, statistics showed that 3,500 less animals had been killed in shelters, exceeding the NKLA coalition's goal for the year by 500. "With that success in hand, we decided to challenge the coalition and the community to end the year with a no-kill December," Battista said.

The NKLA benchmark for success is based on decreasing noses-in and increasing noses-out, with a threshold benchmark for the NKLA coalition being a 90 percent save rate for every dog and cat entering the city shelter system.

"There are no exceptions based on behavior or health," Battista said. "All canines and felines are lumped into the arithmetic regardless of whether the animal is a three-day-old kitten, feral cat or a "man eating" pom pom. The only animals not counted are those arriving at the shelter, sadly, dead on arrival, usually due to traffic incidents."

Another big part of saving animal lives in December was the "Twelve Pets of Christmas" promotion, sponsored by Found Animals Foundation. The program, which ran Dec. 1-23, offered an adoption subsidy to anyone adopting one of 12 categories of pets that sometimes need a little extra help - seniors, pitties, Chihuahuas, pets with medical issues, black dogs or cats, etc.

"Found Animals' program was a clever and very successful campaign and we were pleased to be able to provide incentive funding for organizations to help with additional boarding and medical costs to assist the program," said Battista.

Finally, from the perspective of LA Animal Services, Barnette said the program was positive for everyone, including her own LA Animal Services staff members.

"It was an extraordinary effort by all of our staff to achieve such success for the month," Barnette said. "And it was so incredibly gratifying for me to watch how energized our shelter staff members were to help save so many lives during the holiday season."

About Best Friends Animal Society®

Best Friends Animal Society, named Animal Welfare Non-Profit National Brand of the Year based on the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend® study, 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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