Proven Strategies, Proven Impact

Best Friends and our network of 3,700+ shelter and rescue partners are saving lives and achieving no-kill at an unprecedented rate. A no-kill United States is in sight.

animal save rate by year

Lifesaving Progress Around the Country

Since 2016, when Best Friends declared our goal to make the country no-kill by the end of 2025, we have made incredible lifesaving progress. In the last five years, we have directly supported nearly 1,200 animal shelters around the country, and the field has been completely transformed. Community-supported sheltering, our vision for a new way of animal sheltering-where saving animal lives is a collaboration between shelters and their communities-has accelerated from a pilot to a widespread solution.

2020 was a monumental year for cats and dogs in America's shelters.


DECREASE in animal shelter intakes


REDUCTION in animals killed

Shelters engaged with Best Friends save more lives than unengaged shelters.

In states like California where Best Friends prioritized resources, intakes trended even lower, and lifesaving was higher than national averages in 2020.


DECREASE in intakes

graphic of California with overlaid text that say spotlight California

REDUCTION in animals killed

Millions of Pets Saved

In the last five years, the animal sheltering field has made consistent, year-over-year progress that adds up to millions of lives saved.

2016 TO 2020

REDUCTION in animals killed


additional lives SAVED

2019 TO 2020

REDUCTION in animals killed


additional lives SAVED

2020 Snapshots of Success

More No-Kill Shelters

There are 4,404 animal shelters in the U.S. (as of 2020). Today, 48% of them are no-kill. The percentage of shelters that are no-kill has doubled over the last five years.

no kill shelter percentages by year
no kill shelter percentages by year for mobile

Lifesaving where it's needed the most

Last year, Best Friends and our network partners provided critical support in TEXAS, FLORIDA, and CALIFORNIA, three of the top five states with the biggest lifesaving gaps in 2019. The results speak for themselves.

lifesavings statistics for Texas overlaid on an image of the statelifesavings statistics for Florida overlaid on an image of the statelifesavings statistics for California overlaid on an image of the state

The Road Map to 2025

For the last five years our programs and services have been guided by three simple yet powerful strategic priorities:

cat and dog graphic

Directly saving animals and modeling solutions to achieve no-kill nationwide

graphic of two hands cupping a heart
Supporting Shelters

Transforming animal sheltering systems in partnership with our national network of animal welfare organizations

graphic of a dog and person with a plus sign to another person
the Public

Inspiring and organizing community engagement for systemic change and lifesaving success

This work is making a real, tangible difference. Millions of cats and dogs are alive today who otherwise might not be, and millions of families around the country are enriched because of them. Together, if we keep working hard, we can build a better future through kindness to animals and the people who love them.

Please join us in this work with a gift to Best Friends today.

Tracking our lifesaving progress with data

Knowing where we stand not only helps determine the best way to move forward, but it also helps track the progress we’re making together.

See the data »