No-kill California is now closer than ever before

By Julie Castle

Kudos to California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, and the folks at the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program. Thanks to their vision, the country is closer today than it was yesterday to the goal of achieving no-kill nationwide by 2025.

When Governor Newsom ran for office, part of his campaign included “to ensure all California communities have the resources they need to meet the state’s goal that no healthy or treatable dog or cat is euthanized in an animal shelter.”

Making California no-kill for dogs and cats

And on January 10, the governor took the first steps to fulfill that promise by including $50 million in his proposed budget to make California no-kill. Specifically, the budget proposal states:

“Grants for Animal Shelters—An increase of $50 million one-time General Fund for the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program to develop a grant program for animal shelters. As referenced in the chapter on Statewide Issues and Various Departments, this program will provide expertise, support, and local assistance over a five-year period to help local communities achieve the state's policy goal that no adoptable or treatable dog or cat should be euthanized.”

With passage of the Hayden Act in 1998, California first stated a policy to save all adoptable cats and dogs, and much progress has been made toward that goal. In 2018, California shelters and their partners saved the lives of more than 500,000 animals in shelters, an incredible achievement.  Sadly, more than 100,000 cats and dogs were still killed in California shelters that same year. California ranks as the second highest state in terms of cats and dogs being killed, following the state of Texas.

This proposal by the governor has the potential to provide an influx of resources necessary to take the state to no-kill and to help turbo-charge the kind of collaboration that’s been driving no-kill efforts to date. The UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program is uniquely qualified to lead this program, and we are thrilled that they have offered their expertise and leadership in this tremendous effort. We look forward to supporting their work in any way we can.

If you are a California resident, please thank the governor and join the Best Friends 2025 Action Team to keep up to date on how you can help make sure California’s state legislature passes this portion of the budget.

Working together to Save Them All

Some people ask, “How will you Save Them All?” My answer is always the same: “Together, we will Save Them All.” This is what “together” looks like. Thank you, Governor Newsom and the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program.


Photo by Robert Stoetzel

Julie Castle


Best Friends Animal Society