Best Friends Blog

NKLA: The game changer for Los Angeles animals

As I sit here in Los Angeles to write this blog post, there is a buzz of activity at the legendary House of Blues on the Sunset Strip. Preparations are underway for a celebration centered on saving lives in the City of Angels. Tonight, more than 600 animal lovers, including many celebrities, will come together to celebrate the launch of no-kill Los Angeles (NKLA), the game-changing campaign and coalition that will lead the city of Los Angeles to no-kill.

You can feel the excitement in the air as event time approaches. This truly represents a new day for homeless pets in Los Angeles, one everyone involved will look back on with pride. The creation of NKLA is the result of the hard work and collaboration of so many committed people, and achieving the goal of a no-kill Los Angeles will require committed effort from even more. But it is achievable. I know it in my heart, and so does everyone involved in this effort.

All of us at Best Friends are galvanized around this project, and recognize that the launch of NKLA marks a moment in time for our organization that will distinguish the past from the present, a line of demarcation for what has gone before and what our future holds — ending the killing of shelter animals in Los Angeles and the killing of 4 million animals each year in America’s shelter system.

To achieve this goal, Best Friends is working in conjunction with a coalition of more than 40 area shelters and animal welfare organizations. Through the collective work of the coalition, the goal is to boost shelter adoptions and targeted spay/neuter surgeries and implement robust foster and volunteer programs to achieve the threshold no-kill save rate of 90 percent of the animals who come into L.A. city shelters.

Tonight’s launch party at the House of Blues, which will be hosted by Hilary Swank, will feature the unveiling of the ad campaign designed by Let There Be Dragons, which has donated time and resources to create the campaign. Let There Be Dragons is a new content group from Omnicom Inc., which draws upon talent from TBWA\Chiat\Day and their legendary creative genius and dog lover, Lee Clow, who is credited with developing the Apple, Energizer, Nissan, Nike and Gatorade brands. All the ad work, much more than we could ever afford (and much more than most major corporations could afford), was provided at no cost.

The beauty of this campaign is that it has brought out the best in people and the best Los Angeles has to offer. All involved from Lee Clow and Let There Be Dragons; to the mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa; to the general manager of Los Angeles shelter system, Brenda Barnette; to the rescue groups and shelters that have been meeting together for the past year and a half to devise the community-wide strategy have made tremendous sacrifices and set aside differences for the greater good — to end the killing of homeless animals in L.A.’s shelter system.

It’s going to be a great evening, and I’ll get back to you right after the event with a complete rundown as well as all the details of how we’re going to achieve our goals in L.A.

Wherever you are tonight, I hope you’ll join me in a virtual toast to the success of NKLA, as well as a day when homeless pets are safe in all of our communities.

Read the NKLA manifesto below.

Gregory Castle
CEO, Best Friends Animal Society

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  • Muffy_sunde

    I have been trying to reach a real person here for a few days for help with an animal abuse/neglect issue next door to me.  Suffice to say calling animal control is not an option here in South LA, the shelter with a frightening kill record.  Dogs tied up, sheep die from lack of water, please rsvpl.

    • Best Friends LA

      Hi, Muffy. 
      Best Friends has resources that might be able to help. You can email AnimalHelpLA@bestfriends:disqus .org. This department gets many requests and inquiries, so please be patient with the response time. But, if they can help, they certainly will!

  • Ccclements

    The graphics created for the NKLA campaign are so powerful and captivating that I literally drove around the block a few days ago to revisit the ‘german shepherd’ billboard in W. Hollywood. Within a couple miles I saw several other sites-bus stops, vans with these gripping images. I am a contributor to Best Friends. The dynamics of the campaign is so compelling I suspect it will reach the additional thousands who may otherwise turn a blind eye to the suffering of our canine and feline companions in this huge metropolis. Thank you Lee Clow and all involved. 

  • Dovetail1

    Fantastic advertising work. I’ve seen the bus stop posters. Beautiful photography and intriguing from a distance. This is what the rescue movement has needed. Bravo!

  • Linda Rulifson – Austin, TX

    It can be done!  Wonderful news that so many people and groups are behind this!  Good luck and keep us posted.

  • I have been constantly amazed at the good you folks have done for animal…you are everywhere (including “Vicks dogs”, Katrina, etc.  And now in LA.  God bless! Barbara McNulty

  • LA 4 Animals Foundation

    LA 4 Animals Foundation is thrilled that Best Friends and the No Kill movement are going to be focused on Los Angeles!  We too, are gathering – and finally, all of us together!  Big ups to all you, I took your How To Start An Animal Sanctuary seminar -I’m ready!  xo

  • Jean

    A wonderful movement that I hope more cities will engage in – thank you Best Friends!

  • Ms-97

    Is there any way to get a spay/neuter cruiser in my area. I live in rural PA. There are so many cats/dogs that people dont spay/neuter due to the cost. It is very upsetting. I have 6 cats that are all spayed/neutered and taken care of. I just wish more people were responsible pet owners!

  • guest

    PSA need to be in at least three different languages! But its such a great plan

  • Anonymous

    Good news.  Congratulations.  It can’t happen soon enough that a kill shelter will be a rarity and that it will be because it is not needed anymore.  It’s nice to think that it could be a possibility.  No animal deserves to end up in a shelter to die.  They deserve so much better from all of us.


    As a tour guide in LA we talk about how doggie friendly our city is, but I live in South Central and see how unbelievable cruel people are to their pitbulls.  We took in a “redstar” dog who had twenty minutes to live.  She is our “lucky star now!

    Thanks Best friends LA, now we will talk about the event AND NO KILL LA every time we go by the house of blues!  

  • C J Willis

    This is such wonderful news!  Thanks to all those who truly care for animals, it will be an example to other cities to get their shelters No-Kill also.

  • Gato Gordo’s Mom

    Simply Over the Moon fantastic!  I love you folks!  Best wishes from Alabama…….Gato Gordo’s Mom

  • Rita Ghidetti

    Congratulations. I dream with something like this in Brasil.

  • Yvonne

    Best Friends Org, you keep outdoing yourself …! 

  • Cindy Toms

    So HANDSOME……………packed full of love and character

  • Jlsilk


  • Sam

    How did this start? And how do we do it in our own cities!?

  • deb

    This is great. Can we bring this movement to Connecticut. You are an amazing compassionate group of people. 

  • à votre santé is now quite literal! Cheers to NKLA!

  • Lovefelines2003

    Hooray for the animals of Los Angeles!  Let’s hope we can achieve this quickly – what a wonderful thing it would be to accomplish this in our huge city!  Love the amazing artwork and black and white imagery – stunning and eye catching.

  • Anonymous

    Congratulations to everyone involved in this historic endeavor.  Ironically I am right now reading the Steve Jobs biography which illustrates the genius of Steve Clow and Chiat/Day so I am thrilled to know you have such talent involved in the all-important marketing of this message.  I also hope that you will include my rescue group, ThumpingTails Animal Rescue, in future efforts as we have always supported Best Friends and are very happy about your increased presence in L.A. where we sorely need you.

    • Jon Dunn

      Hi Jill!

      For information about how your rescue can become part of the coalition, please send an email to info [at] NKLA [dot] org

      Thank you for everything you do for the animals! 

      Jon Dunn
      Best Friends Animal Society