Demonstrating once again that animal welfare knows no political boundaries, a commitment to no-kill has become an electoral plus for an increasing number of city councils.
Not to be left out of the picture, West Valley City, a Salt Lake suburb with a population of 129,000, passed a council resolution in February to go no-kill. Best Friends offered our support to the effort, and we have been meeting with city officials to hammer out a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) as to how Best Friends can most effectively engage with the community to help them realize their no-kill aspirations and identify which programs are going to have the greatest positive impact on shelter numbers. The MOU comes up for a vote today and is expected to pass.
At the same time, the mayor of Taylorsville has also reached out to Best Friends for help in taking the city no-kill. (Taylorsville contracts with West Valley City for animal control services.)
Beginning in 2000, Best Friends launched a statewide campaign to lead Utah to no-kill. It meant stitching together a crazy quilt of rescues and animal control agencies that ranged from the high-population centers in the greater Salt Lake City area to no-stoplight rural communities, where animal control had always been the unwelcome responsibility of a two- or three-person police department. Since that time, over 217,000 dogs and cats have been fixed, and more than 100,000 adopted through what was then No More Homeless Pets in Utah and is now simply Best Friends Animal Society – Utah. In that time, over a dozen communities and jurisdictions have gone no-kill, such as South Salt Lake City, Moab and Ivins, while others like Salt Lake County animal control are knocking on the no-kill door.
In West Valley City, Best Friends expects to move forward with an aggressive campaign to increase adoptions, implement progressive and proven measures to save community cats, and initiate highly targeted spay/neuter programs for low-income residents with financial participation by the city.
While homeless pets don’t vote, standing up for no-kill is a vote-getter for local politicians in the red state of Utah.