If you just don’t have enough room in your home to adopt one more stray cat or dog you see wandering your neighborhood streets, take it to Delaware. The small, oceanside state just became the first no-kill shelter state in the U.S., CNN reports.
The recognition was announced by Best Friends Animal Society, an animal welfare organization that works with shelters across the nation to help them care for animals without resorting to euthanization. In order to qualify for the no-kill designation, a state must achieve a 90 percent save rate for all shelter dogs and cats; in other words, Delaware hasn’t passed any legislation to ban killing shelter animals, but instead is actively working to keep their statewide save rate at 90 percent (or above).
Why not 100 percent? Best Friends acknowledges that sometimes, euthanasia is still the kindest option for some former strays who are beyond rehabilitation. “Animals may still be euthanized humanely if they are irredeemably sick or injured,” the website states. “But they are not killed in order to make space for more animals.”
Brandywine Valley SPCA, an organization with shelter locations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, shared the news across social media last week, and marketing director Linda Torelli explained to CNN why the organization considered it a personal victory.
“Within Delaware, we intake more than 60 percent of the animals entering shelters and more than four times the next largest shelter,” Torelli said. “So our policies have had a significant impact on the state becoming no-kill.” That’s more than 14,000 animals, she added, with a save rate of 95 percent. They accomplish it mostly through mega adoption events, neuter and spaying programs for cats to make them more easily adoptable, low-cost veterinary clinics, education programs, and behavioral training programs for dogs.
Delaware is the first state in what Best Friends Animal Society hopes will be a long, steady line of states that will rise to this new standard. According to its website, the organization hopes to achieve a 90 percent save rate nationwide by 2025. You can find out what your state’s numbers look like here.
If you think you might have a little extra room in your house (and your heart) for a new companion, let these 25 benefits of adopting a shelter dog be the friendly push that you need.