Delaware Becomes First U.S. State To Enact ‘No-Kill’ Status For Animal Shelters

Delaware just made history by becoming the first, and currently only, no-kill U.S. state for shelter pets.

The Best Friends Animal Society, which is the only national animal welfare organization dedicated to ending the euthanization of shelter animals, explained that a state is considered to be “no-kill” if it is able to save at least 90% of the animals that enter its shelters. The nonprofit group helped Delaware hit this milestone by teaming up with state shelters and government officials to implement numerous animal control tactics that have been proven to improve adoption rates and curb shelter intakes.

There are now 59 different “no-kill” communities in Delaware, and 11,900 animals were saved from being euthanized.

The Best Friends Animal Society’s goal is to make the U.S. a no-kill country by 2025, and they hope that more lawmakers will take notice of what they achieved in Delaware.

“The beautiful thing about this movement is that it is such a nonpartisan issue. It doesn’t matter where you may fall in your political views — everybody loves animals and most everyone understands how valuable the human-animal bond is,” said Holly Sizemore, chief mission officer for Best Friends Animal Society. “So I do believe this movement is not only about saving animals’ lives, but it’s kind of redeeming us as people, and showing what kindness does to elevate us all and to just make a better world.”

Right now, the U.S. has a save rate of 76%, with over 4,300 communities identified as “no-kill” regions. The states with the highest rates of shelter deaths are California and Texas.

Find out more about Delaware’s achievement in the video below.


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