Smiling person holding a dog in their arms

Saving pets in North Carolina 

In 2023, 33,292 pets were killed in North Carolina shelters, making it the state with the third highest number of dogs and cats killed in shelters.

With your help, we can end the killing. Best Friends is actively working with shelters around the state to save more pets in our community by focusing on four key areas proven to save more lives.

Growing lifesaving programs

We are helping shelters implement lifesaving programs that reduce the burdens put on shelter staff, pets, and adopters alike. Key shelter programming includes eliminating barriers to adopt, such as reducing adoption fees, and growing foster programs that free up space in shelters to save more lives.

Protecting community cats

To protect cats in the community who prefer to live outdoors (we call them community cats), we’re focusing on controlling their populations through trap-neuter-vaccinate-return (TNVR). This allows them to continue to live where they’re happiest and safe.

Helping pets stay in homes

We’re helping shelters keep pets and families together with low-cost or fee-waived spay/neuter clinics and return-to-owner programs, as well as rehoming pets when they can no longer stay with their families.

Ensuring the best care for pets

We’re also helping shelters develop policies to help regulate nonurgent intake or pet surrenders through managed intake. This can involve creating set intake hours, an appointment policy, or procedures focused on creating support to keep pets at home or be rehomed before needing the shelter.

You can be a part of the lifesaving when you foster, support your local shelter, help community cats, and adopt.

Small dog

Do you believe every animal deserves a safe place to call home?

Over 33,000 cats and dogs are killed in North Carolina shelters every year, but you can help change that.

You can make a difference for pets in your community when you raise your hand to support your local shelter, volunteer, adopt, foster, and advocate for animals.

Every dog and cat deserves to be in a place where they are comfortable and safe.

With your help, we can make sure that every pet who enters a shelter in North Carolina has a path to leave that shelter alive.

No-kill: Ending the killing of pets in shelters

Only 76% of pets who enter North Carolina shelters make it out alive. We need to get to 90% for North Carolina to be considered no-kill.

Even with the best of care, there will always be pets who come into a shelter with health or other issues that make it inhumane to prolong their suffering, but for most shelters that makes up 10% or less of the pets taken in. The remaining percentage is how Best Friends arrived at the no-kill benchmark of 90%, and we are committed to helping every North Carolina shelter reach no-kill.

31% of pets killed in North Carolina shelters come from five shelters: Johnston, Wilkes, Robeson, Forsyth, and Randolph — making up 10,478 of the 33,292 dogs and cats killed in 2023. But no-kill is within reach for these shelters by taking steps toward lifesaving.

Want to help? Click below to see our data and find out how your local shelter is doing. If your shelter isn’t at a 90% save rate, you can check to see what they’re doing to protect North Carolina pets, contact them, and sign our pledge to get involved.

Help a North Carolina shelter or animal rescue group

Best Friends Network Partners are made up of thousands of public and private animal shelters, rescue groups, spay/neuter organizations, and other animal welfare groups, all working to save the lives of dogs and cats here in North Carolina.

Each and every one of our network partners needs caring people like you to adopt, foster, donate, volunteer, and advocate to help save the lives of pets where you live.

Find an animal shelter or rescue group near you today: 

Search by City/State/Zip
Units: Miles
Address, City, Zip-Code, Country, ...

Recent tales from North Carolina

Looking for a little inspiration? Check out these pets and their stories of hope, love, and resilience.

What you can do to save the lives of pets

We save more lives together, and everybody can do something.

You can spay and neuter your pets, provide a foster home for a homeless pet, volunteer with other people making a difference, and join campaigns to make your community understand the need to save the lives of all pets.

Helping pets stay with families

From securing pet-friendly housing to purchasing items or supplies for pets in need, you can help pets stay in their homes right here in North Carolina.

Microchip your pet to keep them safe 

A veterinarian or shelter staff member will scan for a microchip when stray pets are brought to them. This safe and effective technology can help get your pet back to you quickly if they’re ever lost. 

Make your voice heard

If you can’t adopt or foster, you can spread the word about the importance of stepping up to save the lives of cats and dogs.

Let your family, friends, and neighbors know that together we can make a difference in the lives of pets. 

Facebook logo    Instagram logo    icon

Smiling person sitting with dog outside next to a gray wall

Show your support

Do you believe every animal deserves a safe place to call home?
Best Friends Animal Society logo mark

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.

As recently as 2016, 2 million cats and dogs were killed in shelters in this country simply because shelters didn't have the community support or the resources to save their lives. That number is now around 400,000 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. We’re sharing our resources and what we know to help shelters around the country achieve no-kill in their communities. 

Together, we will bring the whole country to no-kill in 2025.