Brown dog with his person

Animal admission policy at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

As the nation's largest no-kill animal sanctuary for companion animals, we receive thousands of requests for admission every year. Because of our reputation for lifesaving work, many people want to know how animals come to us. We are also often asked questions, such as, "Where can I give up my dog for adoption?"

Types of animals at the Sanctuary

The majority of the animals we're able to accept at Best Friends are cats and dogs who have the ability to live in a very high energy environment with staff, visitors, volunteers and other animals.

Aggressive and fearful animals

In order to provide the highest possible quality of life for animals at the Sanctuary, we house most of our animals in groups so that they get social interaction and have plenty of room for exercise. For this reason, we are unable to accommodate most requests involving aggressive animals or those fearful of their same species. Aggressive animals, especially those who pose a risk to other animals (including cats fearful of other cats and dogs fearful of other dogs), must be housed individually. And there is very limited individual housing at Best Friends.

Special-needs animals

Many of the Sanctuary animals have special needs and need a lot of space, training time and caregiver resources. We can only commit to receiving new animals when we have the ability to provide for them.

Criteria for admission

Admission decisions are made based on our ability to provide appropriate housing for each animal and provide care meeting each animal's unique needs. Although our goal is to help animals on their way to a loving home, we also make a lifetime commitments to the animals who come here. Potential admissions are considered based on available space and resources.

The Sanctuary is prioritizing accepting animals to the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary from our lifesaving centers, from those shelters that are within a targeted radius around the sanctuary for which we are the best lifesaving option, and finally from our partners. We are able to accommodate only a fraction of the individual admission requests received each year.

Admission process

Our admissions process calls for good communication between our regional specialists and an animal's caregiver, so that a variety of options to help the animal can be considered. We rarely consider admission to Best Friends as the first option. Because of limited staff resources, we are not able to personally respond to every individual request.

Pet help resources

For individuals needing help for their animals, please visit our resources section where you'll find information on a wide array of topics addressed by our experts here at Best Friends: training, health issues, finding a new home for animals and much more. Almost always, the best chance for a good home for homeless pets in need is right within their own community.

What to do if you find a stray animal or encounter wildlife in Kanab or Kane County

While we know most people visiting Best Friends would do anything to rescue an animal, rules mandated by Kanab City and Kane County governments require us to follow procedures that help us maintain good working relationships. Well-intentioned visitors have in the past picked up stray dogs and brought them to the Sanctuary, thinking they were rescuing them. More often than not, these dogs already belong to someone. It's not uncommon to see dogs wandering freely around town or riding unsecured in the back of pickup trucks or even flatbed trucks (fairly common scenes in rural America that for animal lovers takes some getting used to).

Stray and free-roaming dogs must be reported to animal control. Kanab has one animal control officer who works out of the Kanab City Police Department. Kane County does not have anyone specifically assigned to animal control; however, the county sometimes works with the Kanab animal control officer. The following guidelines will help you stay within mandated parameters and help Best Friends maintain friendly relations with the residents of Kane County.

(While cats may not be specifically mentioned in local at-large ordinances, please do not pick up free-roaming cats. Most are family pets with outdoor access.)

If you spot a dog apparently running loose in Kanab

Do not pick up the dog and bring him to the Sanctuary. If you do, you could be accused of stealing a family's dog. Instead, report the dog to animal control by calling police department dispatch at 435-644-2349.

If you think that the dog is in imminent danger, you may offer to keep the dog at your residence until the owner can be found. But you must inform the police department of your intention. Make sure that you give clear contact information. Again, do not bring the dog to the Sanctuary. If you determine that the dog might have life-threatening injuries, report the situation to animal control, as well as the Best friends Clinic, 435-644-2001, ext. 210.

If you see a dog outside the city limits, but within Kane County

  • Call dispatch at 435-644-2349 and report the location of the dog.
  • Do not pick up the dog and do not bring the dog to the Sanctuary.
  • If you determine that the dog might have life-threatening injuries, report the situation to animal control, as well as the Best Friends clinic.

Encountering wildlife

Please watch carefully for deer, wild turkeys, rabbits and other wildlife on the road and by the roadside. Remember that if you see one animal, more are likely to be around because they tend to travel in groups.

If you hit a deer, please do not approach the animal. Instead, call 559-MED-WILD (for genuine wildlife emergencies only). If it appears that an animal might require euthanasia, try contacting the Sheriff's Office dispatch at 435-644-5807.

You may encounter rattlesnakes during the summer months. If so, back up slowly and leave the area. If you are at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, please notify staff of the snake's location. Bees and wasps are common in the summer. Please notify staff if you see a nest in a public area.​