West Valley City, Utah, announces intention to go no-kill

West Valley City, Utah — yes, the name is quite nondescript, but the city boasts a population of nearly 130,000 and is nestled smack in the middle of the Salt Lake Valley. Haven’t heard of it? Maybe this will jog your memory. Last year, the shelter received the dubious distinction of gassing Andrea the cat. Twice. Remarkably, she lived. The media picked up on the story and ran with it. The idea of a sweet cat like Andrea being gassed was horrifying to all of us — Andrea’s story was already sensational without one bit of exaggeration.

The plight of Andrea is no different from any of the other millions of pets killed in America’s shelter system each year. She was a stray in a municipal shelter and her time was up. Our heart goes out to all of the animals, but feeling sorry for a situation isn’t going to change it.

Enough is enough!

Enter the young, forward-thinking Corey Rushton …

Recognizing the need for a serious difference in his community, Councilmember Rushton is determined to change things for West Valley’s animals.

Last night, key members of the Best Friends team, along with numerous volunteers and representatives of the rescue community, were out in full force to support West Valley City’s no-kill proclamation led by Councilmember Rushton.

Positive change

Making positive changes in Utah is something Best Friends Animal Society has been committed to and working on since we established our Sanctuary in Southern Utah in 1984. In 2000, Best Friends launched No More Homeless Pets in Utah, a statewide initiative to end the killing of healthy, adoptable pets in Utah’s 56 municipal shelters. Over the past 11 years, we’ve saved over 130,000 homeless pets and fixed over 110,000 more.

By inspiring collaboration and sharing lifesaving programs and resources with other animal welfare organizations, No More Homeless Pets in Utah is dedicated to saving more animals each year. The goal? A statewide 90 percent save rate of homeless pets in the Beehive state annually.

Councilman Rushton shares our vision for the West Valley City Animal Shelter. He acknowledges the gas chamber is an outdated method for killing homeless pets, but he sees the bigger-picture problem and wants to do something serious about it. He wants to attain a no-kill shelter classification for the shelter. We’re right there with him.

A new era

The West Valley no-kill proclamation represents a new era in animal welfare. More and more municipalities across the country are proactively seeking out the most cutting-edge programs and ideas, and not only are they implementing them, in some cases they are paying for them. From Los Angeles, California; to Jacksonville, Florida; to San Antonio, Texas; to West Valley City, Utah, our government officials are figuring out how our taxpayer dollars can best be put toward saving lives rather than killing lives.

Best Friends is looking forward to helping West Valley City implement positive changes right away — from community cat programs to foster and adoption programs — to help the shelter achieve no-kill status. Animals will have the time they need to find new families, and affordable, accessible spay/neuter programs will reduce shelter impounds. Working together, we can stop the killing of adoptable animals in West Valley.

To our animal welfare peers, elected officials, and animal-loving colleagues of West Valley: “Welcome friends! Now let’s get to work!”

No-Kill 2025

Julie Castle


Best Friends Animal Society