What is No Kill

No Kill defines a movement and a life-affirming philosophy. It is a practice where the true definition of euthanasia – an act of mercy – is reserved only for cats and dogs that are too sick/injured to be treated or too aggressive to be suitably rehomed. It is a term which describes a 21st century approach to animal sheltering, employing best practices, business models, collaboration and partnerships.  It is a sheltering approached which is supported by 71% of Americans.

No Kill is NOT more expensive.  It is cost-effective and fiscally responsible. See the Dollars & Sense explanation.

No Kill 101 provides a full description of what no kill is along with the eleven No Kill Equation programs.

The No-Kill Equation

How to save at least 90 percent:

 1.    High-Volume, Low-Cost Spay/Neuter

This will quickly lead to fewer animals entering the shelter system, allowing more resources to be allocated toward saving lives.

2.   Shelter/Rescue Group Collaboration

An adoption or transfer to a rescue group frees up limited cage space, reduces expenses for feeding, cleaning, medical treatment, and killing, and improves a community’s rate of lifesaving.

3.    Foster Care

Using volunteers for foster care is a low- or no-cost way of increasing a shelter’s capacity, improving public relations, rehabilitating sick, injured, or behaviorally challenged animals, and saving lives.

4.    Comprehensive Adoption Programs

Adoption programs responsive to community needs, such as accessible hours, off-site adoptions, adoption incentives, and effective marketing, can replace killing with adoptions. 

5.    Pet Retention

Saving animals requires shelters to develop innovative strategies, such as counseling and resource referrals, for keeping people and their companion animals together.  Preventing owner surrenders reduces the number of animals that a shelter must re-home. 

6.    Feral Cat TNR

Trap, Neuter, Return programs are an effective and humane method of reducing the number of free-roaming cats,  allowing shelters to focus resources on dogs and cats who can be re-homed, thereby reducing death rates.

7.    Medical and Behavior Programs

A shelter must implement comprehensive vaccination, handling, cleaning, socialization, and care policies for healthy animals, as well as rehabilitative efforts for those who come in sick, injured, unweaned, or traumatized.

8.    Public Relations/Community Involvement

Increasing adoptions, maximizing donations, recruiting volunteers, and partnering with community organizations are all dependent on a shelter’s consistent public relations and marketing, which are the foundation of a shelter’s activities and success.

9.     Volunteers

In most shelters, there are never enough staff or enough funds to hire more staff.  That is where volunteers come in, making the difference between success and failure and, for the animals, life and death. 

10.  Proactive Redemptions

Also known as Return to Owner, this is one of the most overlooked ways to reduce killing in animal shelters. Proactive programs to reunite lost pets with their owners reduce the number of animals that must be cared for or placed in adoptive homes.

11.  Effective, Compassionate Leadership

A hard-working, compassionate leader who is committed to implementing the other 10 programs is key to the success of No Kill.