Delaware has become the first US state to be recognised as a ‘no kill’ area for shelter animals due to its outstanding record for rehoming unwanted and stray cats and dogs.
According to Best Friends Animal Society, Delaware saved 11,900 animals out of the 12,800 that entered shelters, with others being unavoidably euthanized due to ill health.
To achieve a no kill status, 90% of shelter animals need to be saved. Delaware achieved a 92.9% save rate, as announced at Best Friends Animal Society’s annual conference in Dallas last month.
Brandywine Valley SPCA, an organization which runs shelter locations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, was largely responsible in helping Delaware reach the status.
The agency cares for 14,000 animals each year and implemented several programs to save stray or stranded pets in Delaware.
For cats, it implemented the TNR program (trap/neuter/return) — humanely catching the animals, neutering or spaying them, and then letting them free again.
It also organized mega adoption events that were low-cost and hassle-free.
Speaking of the event, marketing director Linda Torelli, told TODAY: “They are weekend-long events, where we adopt out over a thousand animals in two days. It’s an amazing experience. It’s really something to see.”
In a bid to keep animals out of shelters, the organization offers free vaccine clinics, an emergency vet fund and a pet pantry for owners facing financial difficulties.
The non-profit also visits schools to teach children all about pet care through a “Critter Camp” for kids.
To help move animals more quickly through the shelters, the animal welfare group has set up ‘open adoptions’ that don’t require time-consuming applications or intensive home inspections.
The Best Friends Animal Society aims to achieve the no-kill status for dogs and cats across states by 2025 and works closely with shelters, animal welfare organizations and government agencies across the country.
The target seems achievable with the number of euthanized shelter animals falling steadily over the years. The number of animals dying in shelters has reduced to 733,000 from 17 million in the 1980s.
However, some states are lagging behind in terms of saving pets. Texas, California, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida account for half of all the animals being killed in the U.S. But Holly Sizemore — Best Friends Animal Society’s chief mission officer — is confident about reaching the goal.
She said: “We absolutely have been able to track the catalyst of change and the speeding up of life-saving that’s happening in shelters all across the U.S. I believe the public wants to be a positive part of the solution.”
She hopes animal lovers will proactively support their local shelters by encouraging, adopting, donating, participating, volunteering to ensure shelters get the help they need.
What can be done to save more stray animals? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
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