Executing the no-kill 2025 strategy


When I planted a stake in the ground on behalf of Best Friends Animal Society at our 2016 national conference, declaring that we would lead the country to no-kill by 2025, I knew we had our work cut out for us. We had the framework for a national strategy mapped out and knew full well what we were undertaking. The only thing that changed on that day was the timetable. Tick, tock … we were now on the clock and needed to kick things into overdrive.

Fast-forward three years and we are definitely in overdrive. When we planted that stake in the ground in 2016, it was like sending up a flare that attracted the best and the brightest in animal welfare, people who want to be on the front lines of this historic social change.

Progress to no-kill across the United States

In the coming weeks, you will be reading posts from our regional directors. (We’ve divided the country into eight regions — Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Midwest, South Central, Great Plains, Pacific and Mountain West — each headed by a regional director.) They will be detailing the work that they are focused on in the parts of the country that they are coordinating in alignment with our 2025 goal. Each will have a different take, because when it comes to our 2025 goal, one size does not fit all, and the path to no-kill looks different depending on what part of the country you are in.

Saving cats in California

For example, in California, the state with the second highest number of shelter animals being killed, the raw numbers don’t provide more than a big red flag. However, when we drill down to details, a more nuanced and manageable picture emerges.

California is a huge state with the largest population in the country. If the number of animals killed in its shelters were distributed evenly across the state, our efforts and the efforts of our partners would have to be spread from Oregon to the Mexico border, but that’s not the picture that emerged from our data collection drive.

In fact, the majority of the problem is concentrated in 25 counties and within those counties, 75% or more of the animals being killed in shelters are cats. That very specific information allows us to target our efforts to help those shelters save cats with programs we’ve successfully rolled out in other areas.

Animal welfare today

These are exciting times. Together, we are actually creating social change and the most significant shift in animal welfare in more than 150 years.

Please check back for blog posts from our regional directors. I sure will.

Together, we will Save Them All.

Julie Castle with Sunny the dog
Julie Castle
Best Friends Animal Society