JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — With a record number of participants, Best Friends Animal Society brings its signature No More Homeless Pets Conference to Jacksonville this week, less than a month after announcing its bold call to, once and for all, end the killing dogs and cats in the nation’s shelters.
Since 2001, thought leaders in the animal welfare movement and people from animal rescue groups and municipal shelters have converged at Best Friends’ No More Homeless Pets Conference to share ideas and find out what more can be done to save the lives of shelter animals. The last four such yearly conferences have been held in Las Vegas.
The No More Homeless Pets Conference will be at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, 225 E. Coastline Dr., from Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 10-13. This year’s conference is setting an attendance record with more than 1,500 participants and walk-in registration still available.
Gregory Castle, chief executive officer for Best Friends Animal Society, said Jacksonville was chosen “because of the tremendous success and collective will of this community to save the lives of homeless dogs and cats. The City of Jacksonville, First Coast No More Homeless Pets and Jacksonville Humane Society, with the support of other rescue groups and shelters, are a sterling example of how a major American city can implement life-saving changes in its approach to municipal animal services that move the city down the road to “no-kill” status.
Recently Best Friends conducted a survey which revealed that most Americans aren’t aware of the startling fact that each day 9,000 dogs and cats are killed in our nation’s shelters. The survey showed that most people thought the number was closer to 500. The survey also showed that 48 percent of people also thought that animals confined in shelters are usually claimed by their owners, adopted or transferred to a rescue group. The sad truth is that for many of these animals, the shelter is the last stop.
“That statistic just underscores the urgency and the need for the No More Homeless Pets Conference,” Castle said. “Our research reveals a huge disconnect in what happens to our animal friends in shelters and what Americans think happens. Like people, pets are unique individuals. Their special characteristics create the bonds with us, as humans and animal lovers. This makes the fact that so many lose their lives each day in shelters almost unthinkable. Best Friends wants to rally the support of Americans, because if we take simple steps together, we can save them all.”
“We believe that no-kill is achievable. We believe that collaboration between municipal shelters, humane societies and rescue groups is key. We believe that sharing our best ideas will get us to no-kill,” Castle said.
Best Friends, known as the flagship of the no-kill movement in the United States, has been working with communities around the country to help them achieve no-kill status.
“From Austin to Kansas City to Jacksonville, no-kill is picking up incredible momentum and we're seeing communities all over the country embracing the notion that it's unacceptable to kill pets in shelters when viable solutions exist to save them”,” Castle said. “For instance, Best Friends, the City of Los Angeles and member organizations of the NKLA (No Kill Los Angeles) Coalition are on track to take Los Angeles, the second biggest city in the country, to no kill by 2017 with our NKLA initiative. The energy and the momentum of the no-kill movement is undeniable.”
Best Friends’ Save Them All initiative encourages the public to play a role in solving this problem. Action steps that every person can take include always adopting rather than buying pets, committing to spay/neuter family dogs and cats, donating, volunteering with your local animal rescue group or shelter and helping to spread the word. To find out more visit www.bestfriends.org/SAVE.
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. An authority and leader in the no-kill movement since its founding in 1984, Best Friends runs the nation's largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals, as well as life-saving programs in partnership with rescue groups and shelters across the country. Since its founding, Best Friends has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from 17 million per year to around 4 million. Best Friends has the knowledge, technical expertise and on-the-ground network to end the killing and Save Them All™.
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