A no-kill community is generally a city, town, township, village or borough whose animal shelters are working collectively to save at least 90 percent of their animals. In some cases, unincorporated communities are instrumental in this effort and are included as well. 

Sources include Shelter Animals Count (self-reported), public websites, government-provided data and voluntary data submissions. While Best Friends attempts to validate data sources, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information. 

Data is reported in aggregate for all shelters located in or providing animal control services to each community, which means that a community is recognized as no-kill when it meets the following criteria:

  • Shelters’ combined save rates are 90 percent or higher for dogs and cats together. The save rates of individual shelters may vary. 
  • Shelters’ combined save rates are under 90 percent, but those with save rates under 90 percent publicly post on their website that their shelter meets the definition of a no-kill shelter as defined by Best Friends. 
  • This map recognizes the quantitative benchmark of a community reaching no-kill. See our no-kill position statement for how Best Friends defines no-kill qualitatively.

The nature of aggregating the shelter data of a community brings with it the possibility of inflating intake because of transfers of animals between agencies. We acknowledge the complexity involved in using the community data aggregation method.

Maps are based on calendar year data with the data year noted on the list view. Cities and towns that have been added to the map since our last publish appear in orange text on the list view.

Here is the save rate calculation used:

[ (live intakes , including owner-requested euthanasia ) – (died in care) – (lost in care) – (shelter euthanasia) – (owner-requested euthanasia) ] divided by live intakes