Taking an entire state to no-kill

Utah is called the Beehive State. You may wonder why, since the state isn’t exactly known for its honey. (Utah is ranked 24th in the nation for honey production.)

The state’s nickname goes back to the earliest days of the Mormon settlers, who were known for their industriousness, hard work and spirit of working together toward a common goal of turning a vast desert landscape into a home. The state’s motto remains simply “Industry,” a reminder of the work it took to make the state what it is today.

The spirit of teamwork that is so woven throughout Utah’s history is evident in Best Friends’ effort to take the entire state to no-kill status. It has taken the dedication of hundreds of committed rescuers, shelter directors, volunteers and, of course, thousands of Utah residents who heard our rallying cry, stood beside us, donated and adopted animals. As in a beehive, people are busy doing their part to achieve this massive goal.

Let’s look at the current statewide combined numbers in Utah. These numbers include the largest shelters in the northern part of the state, as well as some of the smallest rural shelters across Utah.


  • The save rate for 2015 was 84.2 percent. That’s up exactly six percentage points from 2014.
  • Shelter intake statewide was down 3,440 animals in 2015. That’s a 5.7 percent drop since 2014.
  • Statewide shelter adoptions increased by 1,444 in 2015. That’s an increase of 6.8 percent over 2014.
  • Shelter deaths dropped dramatically by 31.7 percent in 2015. That means 4,178 fewer animals died in Utah shelters than in 2014.
  • The Best Friends Spay/Neuter Clinic in Orem exceeded its goal by a whopping 2,004 surgeries.

Obviously, these numbers are a testament to the work of the No-Kill Utah (NKUT) Coalition, and we’re proud to say that with 56 partners across the state, it is stronger than ever. The organizations vary in size and mission, but they are all focused on the common goal of ending the killing of cats and dogs in shelters.

To top off all of this incredible progress, the Humane Society of Utah (HSU), the largest private shelter in Utah, recently announced that it had achieved no-kill status for 2015. HSU is one of our larger coalition members, so the success of the NKUT goal rests in a big way on HSU’s effort. Statistics show that HSU saved nearly 11,000 animals in 2015, a truly monumental moment in the Utah’s march toward statewide no-kill status.

Together, we can Save Them All.


Julie Castle


Best Friends Animal Society