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Let's end the killing in every shelter and every community in 2025

In 2023, 415,000 dogs and cats were killed in our nation’s shelters just because they didn’t have safe places to call home. But people like you are changing that.

Animal shelters, local stakeholders, lifesaving groups, and individual community members are working together to save at-risk pets right where they live. You can help. Find out how your community is doing and what you can do to save homeless pets where you live.

No-kill: The goal of ending killing in shelters

No-kill is a benchmark Best Friends has established to help guide where we focus our efforts to save the lives of the pets most at risk in shelters.

For a shelter to achieve what we consider no-kill, 90% of the cats and dogs coming into the shelter must be saved.

Typically, no more than 10% of dogs and cats entering shelters are suffering from irreparable medical or behavioral issues that compromise their quality of life and prevent them from being rehomed, so that’s how we arrived at the 90% benchmark.

4.76 million

Cats and dogs

entered shelters

3.97 million

Cats and dogs

were saved Of the 4.76 million cats and dogs entering shelters in 2023, 3.97 million were saved.


Total number of shelters

in the U.S. For a definition of “shelter,” please see

The path to achieving no-kill nationwide in 2025

Animal shelters, rescue groups, and individuals like you are working together to save homeless dogs and cats right where they live. Together, we can create compassionate no-kill communities nationwide for pets and the people who love them.

Our priorities: A road map to reaching no-kill 

At Best Friends, we believe in second chances for our most faithful companions. To give them those second chances they deserve, we're using our expertise and passion to take the entire country to no-kill in 2025. 

See our priorities for 2025

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About Best Friends

Best Friends Animal Society is working to save the lives of cats and dogs all across the country, giving pets second chances and happy homes.

Just a few short years ago, cats and dogs were killed in staggering numbers in this country simply because shelters didn't have the community support or the resources to save their lives. That number is now less than half a million per year, but there’s still work to do to ensure a bright future for every dog and cat in America.

Best Friends operates the nation's largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals and is committed to saving the lives of homeless pets by working with shelters and passionate people like you. Together, we will bring the whole country to no-kill in 2025. Together, we will Save Them All.