Best Friends Blog

Save Them All

Every day, approximately 9,000 dogs and cats die in shelters in the U.S., simply because they have no place to call home. That’s more than four million unnecessary deaths a year. A true, present-day tragedy.

For close to 30 years, Best Friends Animal Society has been working to reduce the number of deaths and put an end to this senseless killing once and for all. Many of you, as individuals and as part of animal welfare organizations large and small, have joined this effort. You may have adopted a shelter animal yourself, found homes for them, donated to rescue organizations or volunteered your time at a shelter.

Collectively, we have had a lot of success. In fact, 30 years ago, the daily number of deaths was more than 45,000. While bringing this number down is a tremendous achievement and a tribute to everyone who has been working to stop the killing, it remains a travesty. We still have many lives to save. In short, while the balance has shifted in the right direction, there is more to be done.

At Best Friends we have always believed that it can be done. Together, so far we have taken care of 80 percent of the problem. But there are still 9,000 animals dying each and every day, and I know that those of you who feel the same as we do will not rest until the only deaths in shelters are cases of true euthanasia — a genuine mercy for an animal with a disastrous quality of life with no realistic hope of remediation.

So, Best Friends is committing to lead the drive to end shelter killing, and our call to action for this is an expression of the imperative that we have always lived by: Save Them All. This is our rallying cry to all those who share our sense of urgency that so many dogs and cats are dying daily in the nation’s shelters, and who wish to help end it. We all need to come together in this endeavor. No one can do it alone.

Yes, we can take heart from the fact that the number has dropped from 45,000 per day to 9,000. In a sense, we are in the end game. What’s needed is one last determined push from all of us who are committed to bringing it about — embracing (as we always have) the principle of no-kill, spreading the word, supporting one another’s efforts and believing that we can do it.

Together we can — and we will — save them all.


Gregory Castle
Best Friends Animal Society

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  • lovekitty5

    Hey, is there anyway we can get a sign like that to put in our front yards to spay/nueter?

  • lovekitty5

    How can I get my local humane society on board with this? They don’t seem to want to be “no kill.”

  • Michelle

    Save Them All has got to include animals in small rural communities as well as big cities! Anyone working with an animal rescue group in a small town knows how difficult and frustrating it can be. When foundations that support trap-neuter-return and animal rescue tell me we’re “too small” even to be considered for grants or other assistance I want to weep. Our animals matter too!

    • Martina Rose Keil

      Michelle. Please contact me. I run an organizationina large rural area with small population. I may be able to point you in some directions for assistance……541-417-1975. ~Marrina

  • marcella henderson

    don’t block no kill legislation because it is not perfect. we are addressing old ideas .some places will embrace rapid change but others will need to do it slowly.Let’s support each other.I love the change to save them all.

  • Anne

    Great initiative and a SUPER video! Love it!

  • gary

    cats and dogs are a mans best friend. They keep you calm and comfy when you are feeling down!!!

  • kristi joy

    I have come to realize over the last few years that we have indeed been able to save them all, we just need funds allocated in the proper direction and measuyres taken to disuade casual breeding to put fast cash in one’s pocket. The paper here in PHX is loaded with pets each day all for sale ($200 or more) regardless of breeding. We need to stop this immediatly by requiring a license ($1000?)per year. that make this under the table supplementing of one’s income less desirable, sure there will need to be oversight but we can do that. There may even be volunteers I WILL ! to watch for this . The license fee would be rolled back into the shelter system to help with the care and feeding of animals that are in the program until they get a home not until their time runs out. I truly believe that if the money we spend in our current animal control system was reallocated with a very heavy emphasis on mandatory spay/neuter for FREE @ the town/city level and then the licensed breeder program we would not have the problems we see now. Profitabilty from indiscriminate breeding would be lost to the individual and only real serious breeders would be involved. I’m sure that other people out there have more ideas and as a team united we could quickly solve this debacle of animal control that we now have. People sell their assorted puppies etc. then they turn in any leftovers that are not so cute or too old and breed another batch all tax free and the general citizens pick up the tab by funding the shelter. Shelters were not supposed to be dumping grounds for breeders cast offs, they were originally meant to take care of pets that had met some kind of misfortune. The real KEY to this working is the FREE s/n because it removes the problem of money, a poor person really can benefit from a pet but they will put off S/N because of the cost and sometimes they wait too long. All you people wantin to get on your high horses and say if they can not afford to s/n then they can not afford to have a pet cool your jets, we supplement unlimted human children in families that really should not have any, so why not do this GOOD DEED for the animals. I could go on and on but I have RA and my fingers are tired. PLEASE THINK ABOUT THIS! We can make it work.

    • lovekitty5

      I agree with you!

  • Heidi

    Utah will be the first no-kill state, I just know it!! Thank you Best Friends. The world would not be the same without you.

  • Sarah

    Best Friends can do it! We are behind you all the way!! This will happen not only in our lifetime, but in a very short time.

  • BC

    This endorsement of saving all is long overdue. How will the feral cats who are the highest numbers of animals killed everyday in shelters fit into the program? And how will you institute that in LA where you have an agreement with the City that Best Friends can’t even discuss TNR?

    • MelissaLMiller

      Hi BC,

      Thanks for your comment. To answer your first question, we will continue our TNR programming throughout the U.S. and Los Angeles in an effort to address the number of feral cats killed at shelters. Currently, our programs in Albuquerque, Jacksonville, San Antonio and Baltimore are proving quite successful, with thousands of lives saved to date. The save rate for cats in Albuquerque is approaching 90 percent (

      Regarding Los Angeles, the NKLA coalition is quite active in promoting and practicing TNR. The largest provider of spay/neuter services for community cats, FixNation, is a member of the NKLA Steering Committee. The largest advocacy group in L.A. for feral cats, Stray Cat Alliance, is also a member of the committee. In addition, Best Friends runs a targeted TNR program in L.A. We are simply prohibited from promoting TNR activity out of the Best Friends Animal Society Pet Adoption and Spay/Neuter Center. You can read more about our work in L.A here:

      Thanks for all you’re doing to help homeless pets!

      Melissa Miller
      New Media Coordinator

      • jaspurranddude

        Thanks for the clarification of BF TNR efforts in L.A.

  • claudia

    Save them all using the NO KIll Equation. It’s the only way..

  • thehumanrace2012

    I love the “save them all” slogan and look forward to the day that homeless animals everywhere are safe when they find themselves in a shelter. Hopefully I’ll see that day in my lifetime! Today is birthday and that is definitely my birthday wish!

  • DogLover1958

    I think what you have help to accomplish is wonderful. I am coming up in two weeks to volunteer for another week and know that BF is the organization I will continue to support, both with my time and money. I hope that “saving them all” will occur in my lifetime. Don’t pay attention to any negative comments (some people can only focus on negatives). I wish change could come about sooner but there are so many people that do not feel the same way about animals as we do. It gets very discouraging at times to see the cruelty that people still inflict on animals by mistreatment, dog fighting and puppy mills. Your posts are always positive and uplifting and convince me that change is possible. Thank you for that and keep up the good work

    • K.G

      Just saw your email address…had to chuckle mine is dglover58…:)

  • rick shattil

    your new slogan..Save Them All ..brings tears to my eyes and compassion to my heart! I volunteer at the sanctuary, and will continue to help in whatever way possible to ..Save Them All. peace Allwayz.

  • jmuhj

    Thanking you for all you do for CATS and KITTENS, and agreeing with Debby, posting below, about rabbits.

  • plsdonteatanimals

    Gregory (and all of BFAS),

    Do you mean that an animal has to be in a shelter in order to be worth saving?

    I completely agree “that every animal life is worth saving” – but I don’t think that BFAS does. Until and unless you and your organization will adopt and encourage a vegan diet, then statements like that are just hypocrisy.

    • DogLover1958

      Not sure where you are getting your facts but when I spent a week at Best Friends last March every meal that was served there was a vegan meal. I felt they were encouraging that in a very positive way which is the way to change things. They did not do it it in a negative or pessimistic way which, apparently, is how you have chosen to motivate people. This only turns people off.

      • thehumanrace2012

        So very well said! It IS possible to save shelter animals and even be a vegan if one chooses without looking down your nose at everyone else. Saving thousands upon thousands of shelter animals is an amazing feat and one those of us who love animals should be proud of and use it to propell us forward to save even more. Those that feel the need to judge and hate and look down on others who dont share the same philosophies should remember that people are more likely to listen to your message when its delivered in nice, non confrontational way. I dont need to know who is a vegan and who you think is a murderer within the first 15 seconds of meeting you or reading all your social network profiles.

    • lovekitty5

      I think we have to concentate on companion animlas first and foremost. Then fight the other battles.

  • Danielle Maveal

    Save! Them! All! It will happen. Thank you for working so very hard for our animals. <3

  • Debby

    Please include rabbits and small animals in your mission of “saving them all”. Rabbits are not only sold by pet mills, they also die in labs and killed for their fur. The trickle down effort has not work, rabbits and those that help them need more involvement from Best Friends. Please include the rabbits in banners, advertising in this effort and maybe more can be saved.

    • MelissaLMiller

      Hi Debby,

      Thank you for you note. Much of the work we are doing in our Puppy Mill Initiative actually benefits rabbits. Los Angeles, the second largest city in the nation, recently outlawed the sale of puppies, kittens and rabbits by pet stores unless those animals are sourced from 501(c)(3) rescue groups and shelters (more here: And San Diego recently followed L.A.’s footsteps by passing an ordinance of their own (

      While we wish we could tackle every issue impacting all animals, including use of animals in laboratory work and anti-fur campaigns, our mission remains focused ending the killing of animals in shelters nationwide. There are many other wonderful groups doing impactful work to make a difference for other animals in need, and we applaud their work. Thanks for your support and all you do for the animals.

      Melissa Miller
      New Media Coordinator