Best Friends Blog

The will of the people

In case you haven’t noticed all the politicians and pundits cramming the airwaves, 2012 is an election year. The top-line issues are clear: jobs and the economy. It’s pretty hard to argue that moving the country out of the economic doldrums should not be the top priority for whomever gets elected in the fall. It is one of the few things that the majority of Americans agree upon. Once we get beyond that top rank of concerns, however, we find that we are a nation divided on social issues and the best way to allocate resources to build the brightest future for the country.

There is something else that the majority of Americans agree upon, and that is No More Homeless Pets. Best Friends has maintained for some time that the debate between the no-kill and the traditional sheltering worlds was over long ago with no-kill as the clear winner, and now it is clear that the broader public agrees as well.

A recent national poll revealed 71 percent of Americans believe “animal shelters should only be allowed to euthanize animals when they are too sick to be treated or too aggressive to be adopted.” That is a mandate by any measure, and we hope that the old-line shelters and national organizations that are dithering or are on the wrong side of the fence will listen to the public and step over to no-kill.

Since the late 1980s, we have seen the number of animals killed annually in shelters around the country decrease from a high of around 17 million to the current level of about 4 million. We are in the home stretch, and more communities are taking concrete steps to achieve no-kill status all the time. And not just small, prosperous towns and progressive communities. Salt Lake City is on the cusp of no-kill; Reno, Nevada, has achieved it, as has Austin, Texas. Likewise, New York City is well on its way to achieving its no-kill goal under the leadership of Maddie’s Fund and the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals. This year in Los Angeles, Best Friends is launching a citywide campaign to achieve no-kill that includes a coalition of local rescue organizations and L.A. Animal Services. I am also proud to say that Best Friends is supporting exciting no-kill efforts in San Antonio, Texas, and Jacksonville, Florida.

What is most exciting is that in places like Los Angeles and San Antonio, the city administrations are full partners in the effort rather than naysayers who are resisting or taking a wait-and-see attitude. It is no longer a small group of activists and rescuers tugging on coat tails or waving protest signs. As reflected in the AP-Petside poll, no-kill is what the public wants and expects, and savvy politicians recognize that and are getting out in front of the no-kill wave. It is the will of the people.

2012 will be a banner year for animals and the no-kill movement. From all of the animals and staff at Best Friends, I wish you, our members and friends, who make all that we do possible, all the very best for the New Year.

Gregory Castle
CEO, Best Friends Animal Society



[Editor’s Note: A few comments on our New Year’s blog, “The Will of The People,” take exception to the inclusion of New York City and efforts of the Mayor’s Alliance and Maddie’s Fund as helping us toward the goal of no kill.  

These comments single out New York City Animal Care & Control as an organization in need of major reform and a miserable place for any animal, and criticize Best Friends’ support of the Mayor’s Alliance.

We want to point out that our blog offered no defense of NY AC&C and, in fact, never mentioned it.  Again, our blog did not mention NYAC&C.  We do not dispute the deserved criticism of that operation.

The intention of the blog was to highlight the fact that the tide is changing to the point where the will of the public across the country (including the nation’s largest and most densely populated city) supports a no-kill agenda.

Best Friends has no special allegiance to the Mayor’s Alliance and we certainly have no allegiance to NY AC&C.

We do, however, have an allegiance to objectivity—and objectively speaking, it would be nonsensical to deny the fact that the results of Maddie’s Fund and the Mayor’s Alliance efforts in New York have dramatically reduced shelter killing—from 31,701 deaths in 2003 when the program began to 11,602 in 2010.  

Additionally, shelter intake has declined (largely the result of spay neuter efforts) from 52,415 to 44,293 over the same time frame, saving the lives of 136,587 animals along the way.

Whatever the “should have,” “could have” or “might have been” observations that we all can make, the fact remains that without the work of the Mayor’s Alliance, most of those lives would not have been saved; and those positive, life saving trends would not exist.

  • Wiscats

    What about all the animals being killed in shelters everywhere then?  What about Oreo in NYC, for just one example??

  • Michelle

    How, exactly, is NYC “well on its way” to achieving no-kill?  If you had said, “no-medicate”, “no-treat”, “no-adopt” I could understand that.  Please do explain yourself, you owe the animals that much.

  • Angela

    I live in San Antonio and this is GREAT news!!:)

  • Julie Van Ness

    This is more  “should, could, would”…

    I suggest that you should have mentioned NYCACC when referring to New York City’s no-kill work to save animals.   While I admire your own work saving animals over the years, it behooves you, of all people, not to turn your eyes from the truth about the City shelters in New York and who specifically is saving animals and who specifically is increasing their pain by neglect and killing them without end.  We suffer enough being forced to think about that here all the time without having to read Best Friends, in effect, denying the facts indirectly by the writing sin of omission.  

    We want other voices screaming as loud as possible the truth about the NYCACC because our mayor, Michael Bloomberg, does everything he can to cover it up!!!   The government of the nation’s largest and most densely populated city, does not support no-kill, occasional rhetoric to the contrary notwithstanding.  The nation’s largest and most populated city has a hugh group of animal rescuers who personally work every moment of every day saving animals FROM THE CLUTCHES of that city and they do support no-kill. 

    Your research for the article/blog appears to be stunningly shallow.
    For real information, you could make the trip to New York and visit the City shelters in Manhattan and Brooklyn unannounced, for a start, and try to adopt an animal or two.  And then meet with a few rescuers and those who foster their animals and listen to what they have to say in regard to the shelters’ animal care.  

    After that experience, you would no doubt be able to write a somewhat more objective article/blog about no-kill in New York City which would be greatly welcomed here and helpful to the animals.

    • Countrycats

      Amen…God Bless the tireless and devoted rescuers who go into these shelters everyday to rescue these poor souls….They are the true angels.  They are my heroes……

  • Sarah

    I appreciate both the criticism of the New York animal care and control and Gregory’s pointing out that positive work has been done.  It is very easy to fall into the trap of thinking in a black and white fashion about serious issues.  Just like individuals, organizations have both good and bad traits.  With people, you get much more positive change by acknowledging positive behavior than you do by punishing negative behavior.  In fact, learning to reward positive behavior will not only increase the amount of positive behavior from another, it will make you happier and give you more energy.  It’s sort of like clicker training for humans.  Clicker training is just positive reinforcement of desired behavior and ignoring negative behavior whenever possible.  I always have a lot of foster animals.  I’ve rehomed over 30 dogs in 22 years–not bragging because lots of people have done a lot more than I have.  All were adult dogs, no puppies, and almost all of the young adult dogs had serious behavioral issues.  I wasn’t getting far until I learned positive reinforcement.  What I didn’t expect is that my work place (a busy, understaffed, charity hospital) would improve.  Clicker training helped me notice positive behavior which I literally did not see before.  My thanking people and acknowledging their efforts made everyone nicer and more helpful to me!  

  • Kerry Clair

    While you don’t mention the NYC ACC in your original post, you say that NYC is on it’s way to no kill being overseen by Maddie’s Fund and the Mayor’s Alliance.  What are they overseeing?  THE ONLY SHELTER SYSTEM IN NYC to get your numbers from IS the NYC ACC.  So you don’t HAVE to mention them by name they are the ones that are getting the statistics that you are reporting.  if not, what are the numbers from that you quote?  The incorrect numbers, mind you. The numbers game in NYC is a sad joke. The numbers they report are NOT accurate and every single person that works in the trenches here KNOWS it. Stop fund raising in NYC.  Instead put your money to helping stop the SLAUGHTER of the animals in NYC every single day.  Those of us that are actually DOING something watch the SLAUGHTER lists every single night as anywhere from 40-100 animals are mass murdered in NYC.  This all under the watchful eye of the Mayor’s Alliance and Maddie’s Fund pumping in money.  How many more lives can be saved Best Friends if you actually HELPED?  Don’t spout blogs about a numbers game.  Tell us what YOU specifically are doing to end the slaughtering of animals.  That’s what I;d like to see and hear from you please.  As long as no rescue but those APPROVED by the Mayor’s Alliance can help the animals of NYC, the city will continue to be a slaughterhouse for our beloved animals.  Rescues should not and need not be APPROVED by the mayor’s alliance in order to save the lives of animals.  Instead why not have the Mayor’s Alliance or the ASPCA follow up on cruelty cases and situations?  So this way if a rescue is NOT a decent rescue they can be blocked from pulling animals rather than everyone being blocked until we can all PROVE we are worthy.  Think about this.  Put your money where it is needed.  The Mayors Alliance is OBSTRUCTING the ability to save lives in NYC.

  • Virginiaabreudepaula

    Congratulation for his achievement. May 2012 be the year for no kill municipal ponds too here in  Brazil.

  • Carisindall

    I’m sorry.. but as an overseas observer of the NYC ACC’s record on animal “care” and control, via many channels for the past 10 months, I see precious little evidence of a move towards no-kill. What I have witnessed – and continue to witness – are animals who are spuriously deemed untreatable, unmanageable or both (and therefore eligible for euthanasia within the boundaries of Maddie’s Fund no-kill financing criteria) with an impossibly short timescale for rescue, even by Mayor’s Alliance approved rescues. I further see cases of animals whose “treatment and care” while at the shelters has been incompetent to such a degree that these poor souls have had to be put to sleep after rescue. Can you honestly put hand on heart and defend the current position for NYC animal welfare? As a Londoner (and therefore a resident of a city with much the same population as NYC) I would be shocked if, say, Battersea Dogs and Cats, and the other national animal welfare charities with a presence within the capital, were condoned to operate along similar lines. 

    I do realise that there is a complex political structure overarching animal welfare in NYC; however, I would urge Best Friends to work to its own utmost ability in effecting REAL change within the city’s animal welfare operations, rather than taking the inevitably safe “fall back” position in quoting statistics. 
    Or should that read “fall guy”, maybe? Just look to your consciences. Please.

  • Countrycats

    I have been haunted by this mass killing issue my whole life. Over the past eight years I began rescue work on a small scale. I have 19 cats and holding…..I can,t afford any more, and I feel as though it isn’t a drop in the bucket. I am just a one gal show, with no help.  I pay full price at the vet, and buy only highest quality foods and supplements.  I give Sub ques, and meds…..all on a teacher’s salary.  I get approached constantly by people who want to “unload” their cats.  It disgusts me how very ignorant the American public is regarding spay, neuter, TNR, and rescue work.  Until people care enough to educate themselves, this horror will continue.  I’d like to be optimistic, but to me this is beyond sickening…….

    • COL

      Kudos to you….I am doing the same in my own town…and, like you, I don’t enjoy “rescue rates” anywhere.  We do this because SOMEONE needs to.  TNR works, even if the only population I ever deal with is my own neighborhood…..every life saved counts!

  • Marina Guvenc

    In response to the Editor’s note.  I would like to point out that its not the Mayor’s Alliance as an organization but the many grass roots rescue groups that work under the umbrella of the Mayor’s Alliance that are saving these animals.  In order for a rescue organization to save an animal out of the ACC they have to be “certified” as a Mayor’s Alliance or New Hope member.  The Mayor’s Alliance itself is nothing more then an organizer of groups that get access to the animals inside the ACC.  The credit if any should go to the rescue groups and to social media groups that beg the public to lend a hand and save a life every single night.  Their impact is enormous.

  • Jvecsey

    Thank you for clarification about NY AC&C and the main point of your blog. However, I would like to point out that the star if your newsletter, Screech, would have been put down by many “no kill” shelters after that amount of time. I would also like to note that the Putnam Humane Society used a $2 million grant from Maddies fund and hired a trainer to assess dogs for euthanasia. He felt all could be saved and recommended a program He was dismissed and they brought in another trainer to eliminate dogs. The trainer went on the record with this. Signed Joan and Peter Vecsey

  • Jmuhj

    Whether your stats or someone else’s are correct, or none of the above, the fact remains that those of us who work to SAVE these precious lives are indeed saving more of them; and I invite everyone who cares to join in, in any way they want to/are able.  One thing anyone, anywhere, with access to a computer, can do, is to crosspost/retweet, tag, and contact rescues for incarcerated and/or homeless animals needing loving, forever homes, on social media, including but not limited to facebook and twitter.  It’s easy, cheap, and SO rewarding.  Join us!

  • Your addendum now puts you in the rather odd position of claiming that a city can be “well on the way to achieving its no-kill goal” while having a shelter system that you do not dispute is “an organization in need of major reform and a miserable place for any animal”. Which is it? Can’t very well be both.

    The past successes of the Mayor’s Alliance were very impressive, the current stasis is not. Progress has been replaced by data manipulation which is the worst-kept secret in the New York City rescue community. We know it, they know it, the AC&C knows it, and Maddie’s Fund knows it… but the money just keeps on flowing.

  • Bett Sundermeyer

    Mr. Castle.
    You really need to talk to rescuers and No Kill advocates in San Antonio before posting claims such as this.  If you talked to these people, you will find that San Antonio is not on their way to No Kill.  Their city officials may be saying the words, but they are not actually implementing the programs that have stopped shelter killing across the country.  Their city officials set a goal of 2012 to reach No Kill.  Well, here we are in 2012 and they are still killing tens of thousands of pets with no end in sight, because no one is making a serious effort to find out how other open admission shelters have gotten to 90% or more save rates.  They just keep doing the same things that they’ve always done. This is a city that rents an old air force base, that few people know exist, and few can find, just for housing “harder to place” dogs. So, instead of working harder to adopt out the “harder to place dogs”, the dogs are sent to a place where they will have fewer or no chance to be seen by the adopting public. They are just shuffled there until their 3 day hold expires and they can be killed.

    Here are examples of San Antonio AC: and this and this help us expose the “shelters” that are killing tens of thousands of animals each year instead of posting false information that covers for their killing.  Covering for them does not help those in the trenches.

    • San Antonio Resident

      Hi Bett,

      Yes, San Antonio has had our fair share of problems with the City’s shelter. However, the city is recommitted to doing what it takes to reach no kill (by 2015). Even with a strained financial crisis affecting every major city, City Council has greatly increased Animal Care Services’ annual budget this year (almost an additional $1 million from last fiscal year). In addition, over the next couple of weeks, MAJOR initiatives will be announced that will GREATLY help in saving animals in San Antonio and decrease the euthanasia rate. Austin Pet’s Alive! which was instrumental in reaching Austin’s quest for no kill is signing a major contract with the city of San Antonio to create San Antonio Pets Alive which is committed to saving thousands of animals this year. Furthermore, in the coming weeks, large funding sources will be aiding San Antonio.

      Yes, San Antonio Animal Care Services’ has definitely had its problems…but I assure you, steps are being taken to turn SA’s efforts around. Consistently talking negatively and having a pessimistic and defeatist attitude is not conducive and frankly, counterproductive, to the efforts of so many in San Antonio.

      Thank you so much for your concerns, opinions and interest in San Antonio’s stray population and euthanasia rates. I ask that you keep an open mind. 🙂

    • Mska53

      Just like Lincoln Ne. Only the cats get 5 days, but I heard they don’t feed the ones they are going to kill.  We have tnr here but animal control and humane society don’t embrace it.  

  • Ann

    “I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man.”  All-free spay and neuter!!

    • Ann

      Quote by Mahatma Gandhi

    • Guest

      And who picks up the cost of the “free” s/n initatives? Just like Obamacare’s “free” health care for all-there are costs involved that SOMEONE will have to pay. Nice idea and a wonderful goal-but naive!

      • zachmatt3

        No one advertised health care reform as “free health care for all”. That aside, you are correct that nothing is free. However, I would be in favor of taxpayer support of spay/neuter, and the more this movement gains momentum, the more I suspect the general population will favor it.

      • Mska53

        vets give a discount and only charge the actual cost of s/n. At no kill shelters, donations and adoptions cover the rest by paying the vet. Get educated.  

        • Guest

          “Vets give a discount and only charge the actual cost of s/n”? Is this routinely done by a large number of vets in your area? Do you HAVE a large number of vets in your area? (If yes, good for you-you’re lucky!) I am a volunteer at a shelter in a huge, very rural county in AZ…we are working (with a very progressive shelter director) to implement “no kill”-we are flooded with animals, day in and day out-we adopt/foster/rescues pull, etc etc all animals we can-and still there is NO end in sight. You -oh, “educated” person-apparently live in an area, where donations/adoptions/magnanimous vets are plentiful-else you wouldn’t be making such short-sighted comments. NOTHING is life is free…care to go solicit for “donations” among the Native American, Hispanic, poor white and other lower income populations in my area? We’d welcome your help! It is comments such as yours-disparaging, holier-than-thou and assumptive-that create the terrible lack of cooperation and cohesiveness that currently exists is animal rescue/welfare. Groups/individuals spend so much time fighting/bickering among themselves and slandering each other-as opposed to actually trying to WORK together-that animals die while everyone fights.The shelter director/staffers-in my case-have been threatened and victimized by hate emails, had derogatory letters generated to the local newspapers, etc-by people from local RESCUE groups-simply because the shelter fails to save EVERY animal it admits. This is productive?
          When the animal welfare community better learns how to put volatile emotions aside and work cooperatively for the common cause, the better things will become-for all of us, as well as for the animals.

  • Marina Guvenc

    I am a NYC rescue and foster and I can tell you first hand that NYC is in not on its way to being No Kill.  I know this because my heart breaks every day when I hear about the cats that we tried to place the night before from death row, who could not find a foster in time, or who were killed to hastily in the morning before all messages could be checked.  Maddie’s fund and the Mayor’s Alliance are compliant cogs in the killing machine that is the ACC.  I don’t know how to say this any more simply.  You overlook thousands of wasted lives when you make such careless statements.

    • Kate

      Same goes on in Lincoln Ne. Kil Kil Kill….and it is cats by the thousands each year.

  • Jabachman

    I do not know who you are working with in San Antonio but the present administration on the Animal care Services  is doing nothing in the real spirit of No Kill.  With the new year it is official that the No Kill 2012 plan was a failure.  The last fiscal year saw a live release rate of about 30%.  The current interim director has no experience in any animal organization.  His new plan calling for no kill by 2016 is just just a show.  It states that 30% of the incoming animals are unadoptable and untreatable.  All puppies and kittens less that 8 weeks are so defined as well as those with minor illinesses.  Thus their definition of No Kill is 70% to be reached in 2015.  That also assumes a constant intake of 28,000 animals per year while their budget and bond issues call for the increase capacity for input of 3,000 this year and 7,000 more in the next few years.  Meanwhile he has put more and more into enforcement and not into the live release program setting goals for the number of citations issued, and conducting sweeps throughout the city..  He has changed the codes so he can alone declare dogs dangereous.  You had better reconsider your involvement with  this city, if you are involved with them Best Friends has a wonderful reputation and it will only be tarnished by being associated with San Antonio ACS.  There are a number of organizations in the city trying to change the situation.  Please support them  but please stop the praise of the half hearted efforts of the city.  I will furnish you more information.

  • Anonymous

    Also, I forgot to mention spaying and neutering these animals before they go out the door of the shelter is of the utmost importance in reducing the numbers of unwanted animals so yes, the shelter I volunteer at is doing this also now. 

  • Anonymous

    I volunteer at an animal shelter that is thankfully trying to go in the right direction.  This shelter actually has hope now for these animals and the start of a great volunteer program and thankfully, they do give pit bulls and their mixes every chance to get adopted like other dogs.  They treat all the dogs as individuals and try their best to give them every chance to be adopted.  This shelter is a glimpse into what all shelters hopefully will be like.  But obviously, education is of the utmost importance and passing and enforcing laws to make people be more responsible and committed animal owners and breeders and stiffer penalties will all help to make it better for animals in the future.

    • LynnO

      Actually, passing and enforcing laws that attempt to make people be responsible do NOT  make it better for animals! BSL, MANDATORY spay/neuter and other limiting laws merely give Animal Control the right to confiscate and kill animals. Death rates go UP in communities that pass and enforce these laws. You cannot legislate compassion. You can only work to make it easier for people to do the right thing. (Low cost spay/neuter, pet food banks, behavior consultation, etc.)
      When the fine goes up every time Animal Control catches your loose dog, eventually the irresponsible owner just won’t go claim their animal…so again, stiffer fines don’t help the ANIMALS, they just raise money for enforcement. (Rather like speed traps.)

      • Anonymous

        I appreciate your perspective.  Believe me I do NOT condone BSL.  I am against BSL.  But I do agree that people who knowingly let their dogs run loose should be fined. A large portion of the suffering of dogs is when people don’t care and just let their dogs run loose through a neighborhood without caring what happens to the dog or if their dog causes any problems.  I still think you can force some responsibility on people to a degree.  Stiffer penalties and fines for people who drink and drive have seemed to lower the death rate.  I think it is a balancing act between forcing people to be more responsible and making it easier for the people who actually are compassionate animal owners to take good care of their animal.  I think it is definitely a great idea, if they can afford it, for shelters to spay & neuter every animal before it leaves the shelter.  Thanks for your perspective.

  • J.Moire

    NYC is in no way shape or form “well on its way to achieving its no-kill goal”, most ESPECIALLY not under Maddie’s Fun or the Mayor’s Alliance, each of which has allowed the NY ACC to evade it’s rules by twisting them, lying, and scuttling about them while they fake their way into obtaining funding from each. What a load of bull**** this is- I’m disgusted that one of the most highly regarded animal welfare organizations in the country (yes you, BFAS) would put out such a blatant lie. And for what purpose? To keep relations with the Mayor’s Alliance and Maddie’s Fund. Check out John Sibley’s blog, ( take him up on his offer stated at the end, and then get back to us with how you REALLY feel about the NY ACC’s steps towards (or away from) no-kill.
    Being involved in rescue directly from NY ACC, I can tell you that the ****-ups of the staff there are mind-blowingly awful, and that the people running those shelters are permitting neglect and even abuse to continue at their facilities. Don’t let Best Friends lead you to believe otherwise. Without the truth, there will be no change in NYC’s broken ACC system.

  • Monikers

    Oh, and just for the record, before the bashers come after me, I am all FOR getting to a point where animals do not need to be euthanized unless they are too sick or too aggessive. That is my life’s mission as well- but I’m tired of standing by while all the “no-kill” people try to oversimplify the problem and act as though this can all just end overnight. It can’t. And some of your propoganda is only making it harder for all the established shelters to do what they CAN for the animals.

    • Check out what happened in Austin… once all the pieces were in place success was quite swift. Lining up the pieces – and the politics – did, however, take quite a while.

      • Michelle

        It took way too long in Austin and cost too many animals their lives, at the rate of over 30 animals killed every day in the shelter for a little over 2 years, I believe.  Don’t let BFAS give anyone the idea that they had anything to do with Austin becoming a no-kill city, because they didn’t. 

        • Frank


          Are you in Austin? I thought Best Friends helped Austin Pets Alive a great deal. I saw they just gave them a truck and a bunch of food.

    • Zachmatt3

      Regarding John Sibley’s comment on Austin, I was thinking the same thing essentially. This city of nearly 1 million hit a breaking point where the populace demanded change.  Citizens were extremely vocal, the media gave the issue prime time, and the city council finally realized “wow, Austinites are really serious about this”.  Of course, there were huge players in this success (e.g., Austin Pets Alive), and it also helped greatly when the city shelter’s management was “reassigned”.  Bottom line, when a citizenry gets upset enough, things can happen and happen more quickly than many people realize.

    • Hikersrun

      You are right, it can’t end overnight, but when people are in the positions they are to not let it happen, it is like hitting a brick wall. We do tnr in Lincoln Nebraska, and Animal Control and the humane society trap our tipped ear cats and take them in to be killed. Sometimes they call, because they are chipped but they have such a power trip going on they can’t see the end result. Plus it would hurt the budget if they had less animals to kill. They give out tickets to people and have ruined peoples lives with trying to protect cats. They are sick thinking people and getting them out of their office is not going to happen.

  • Monikers

    With all due respect Greg, I think you’ve maybe misrepresented the results of the poll. First off, they ONLY polled pet OWNERS, NOT the “Americans”, as you claimed. According to the 2011-2012 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 62% of U.S. households own a pet, so if 71% of that 62% felt  “animal shelters should only be allowed to euthanize animals when they are too sick to be treated or too aggressive to be adopted.” I know the math isn’t perfect there either, but I’m not sure you can call that a “mandate by any measure”.  I’m sure your readers will be happy enough to agree with you (unless they actually READ the poll as I did).   I have tried several ways to find a copy of your organization’s Asilomar report, or at least statistics on the Live Release Rate and number of euthanasias for all your various facilities. None seem to be available. Could you please tell us where to find this information? As the leader of the “no-kill movement”, why aren’t your detailed statistics readily available?

  • Kathi Tomlin

    One more thing. I think the “invisible dog” campaign is outstanding! I think we need to have something like it for cats as well. Educating people about community cats and TNR as well. So very important that people in the country and small towns get this as well. I’ve moved to a small rural area in GA, and am shocked at how many people don’t know about any of these animal issues

    Remember to explain that every adoption saves not only that one, but leaves a place for another!

  • Kathi Tomlin

    I dearly hope the focus this year will get back to the animals we all love and the bickering between different factions will cease. There are legitimate issues that need to be addressed as we all make sure the animals we love are not only saved, but that they remain in safe, humane situations. Please talk to everyone about spay/neuter and Adopt/don’t shop. Surely those are two mandates that EVERYONE can agree on?

    • Anonymous

      Kathi, I think the mandate everyone seems to agree on is that killing is not an option, as the poll in Gregory’s blog post suggests. 

      That must be the guiding principle for everyone – it’s something that exists at Best Friends. We constantly ask ourselves, “how many lives will this save?”

      My hope too, is that 2012 is the year to shelve the viciousness that exists within a small sect of the animal welfare community. Either way, we are forging on towards No More Homeless Pets!

      Jon Dunn
      Best Friends Animal Society

      • Wondering

        If “killing is not an option” and “that is the guiding principle for everyone”, then why doesn’t Best Friends support passing the Companion Animals Protection Act so that shelters would be required to work with rescue groups to save more lives?

  • Meow147147

    is NYC really on it’s way to No Kill?? Have any progressive changes been made to AC&C?

    • Anonymous


      The bottom line on NYC’s numbers are:

      2003 – 31,000 deaths 
      2010 – 11,000 deaths

      2003 – 46K animals intake
      2010 – 35.5K animals intake

      So in seven years, the killing has been drastically reduced! The programs to save lives in New York are more progressive today than they’ve ever been, I will paste some information on them below. This isn’t to say that New York is perfect, or that working with so many different players is easy (it never is….look at our early work in Utah and where that is today!), but Best Friends and the other organizations in New York remain committed to the animals in the Big Apple.

      Thank you,

      Jon Dunn
      Best Friends Animal Society

        Fewer animals were killed.For
      the first time in New York City’s history, euthanasia of cats and dogs
      at our city shelters fell below 12,000. Seventy percent fewer dogs
      (3,775) were euthanized at AC&C shelters last year compared to 2003,
      when well over 12,000 dogs were euthanized, and 60 percent fewer cats
      (7,847), as compared to 19,487 in 2003.

      too many animals are still being killed, we are steadily moving toward
      our goal. Since 2003, the total number of lives saved at AC&C is
      136,587 cats and dogs.

      Transfers continued to be the primary factor in saving lives.

      to 15,500 dogs and cats, representing more than 43 percent of the
      animals entering AC&C shelters in 2010, were transferred to partner
      shelters and rescue groups for adoption. More than 8,000 animals were
      transported from AC&C to other organizations on our Wheels of Hope transport vans.

      Adoptions remained robust.

      In 2010, adoptions by MPPs, including AC&C, totaled more than
      26,000, representing over 59 percent of the total intake by community
      partners, compared to less then 57 percent the previous year.

      More lives are being saved.Approximately
      23,800 dogs and cats from AC&C were adopted, transferred to other
      shelters and rescue groups, or returned to their owners in 2010. Close
      to three out of every four lives were saved, as compared with one out of
      three in 2003. Since our project began in 2005, 196,860 dogs’ and cats’
      lives have been saved through the combined efforts of AC&C and

      Saving more treatable dogs and cats.

      Continuing to reduce euthanasia at AC&C demands that we save more of
      the cats and dogs who arrive at AC&C shelters with injuries and
      other medical conditions that require treatment. In 2010, we reduced the
      number of treatable cats and dogs euthanized at AC&C by 20 percent
      since 2009 — down 38 percent since 2003. Through our Picasso Veterinary Fund and
      other medical assistance programs, close to 1,000 cats and dogs
      received medical care to prepare them for adoption. The Picasso
      Veterinary Fund, which is dedicated to providing treatment for sick and
      injured cats and dogs from AC&C, is supported entirely by private donations.

      Spay/neuter programs remain aggressive.

      the number of animal births in NYC continues to be a priority in our
      lifesaving mission, and key to our success in this area is ensuring the
      availability of free and low-cost spay/neuter services. In 2010, total
      spay/neuter surgeries performed by private veterinarians and non-profit
      organizations that participate in the Maddie’s Spay/Neuter Project in
      NYC totaled over 55,000, with the ASPCA alone providing close to 33,000
      spay/neuter surgeries.

      TNR for our community cats.

      The New York City Feral Cat Initiative continued
      in 2010 to provide training, assistance, and information to the growing
      community of feral cat caretakers in NYC who are performing
      Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) to humanely reduce the number of feral and
      stray cats in New York City and decrease the number of cats and kittens
      being brought to AC&C shelters. In 2010, 584 individuals
      participated in our TNR workshops, bringing the total number of trained
      TNR caretakers to 3,186 since April 2001.

      continuing success in saving lives in New York City is a result of the
      collaboration of our dedicated rescue groups and shelters; the faith and
      crucial funding support we receive from Maddie’s Fund and the ASPCA, and others; and the generosity and caring of the thousands of New Yorkers who adopt from a shelter or rescue group each year.

      • Kerry Clair

        Jon, do you realize that the kill numbers for the CACC only include HEALTHY animals killed? Animals with just kennel cough are slaughtered there and they are put in the category of “unhealthy/not adoptable” and they aren’t “counted”.  NYC is not on their way to no kill.  Sorry.  You guys need to come out of Utah and come to see the ACC for yourself.  It is a horror show that if the ASPCA had any balls at all they would press charges against them.

      • Marina Guvenc

        I can jump very high, but that does not mean I will ever be on my way to flying.

        If there has been any decrease in the numbers killed it is only because of the dedication and desperation of rescues and fosters.  Over the last few years, social media and the internet has allowed for these killings to be made public to regular people.  Some of these people, like me have decided to help.  That is why the killings may have decreased.  It is in spite of the ACC’s attempt to do their city contract of “ANIMAL CONTROL.”