2017 Fiscal Year: Uniting Around Our Common Goal

City by city, county by county, state by state, compassionate organizations and individuals like you are uniting to create a brighter, safer future for the animals with whom we share our lives.

Here are just a few of the things that we accomplished together from October 1, 2016, through September 30, 2017.

Animals directly helped through Best Friends programs:


Spay/neuter surgeries performed through Best Friends spay/neuter clinics and programs:


Animals adopted through Best Friends adoption centers, events and promotions:


Kittens and nursing mothers helped through Best Friends kitten nurseries:


Best Friends volunteers:


Subscribers to the Best Friends Legislative Action Center:


Animals transferred to Best Friends regional programs from city and county shelters:


Best Friends Network partners:

More than 2,000 across all 50 states

Funding provided to Best Friends Network partners:

$4.7 million

From the Chair of the Board

"Best Friends’ board is charged with the long-term health, stability and mission-focused integrity of the organization. In this regard, something profound transpired in 2017 that simply doesn’t lend itself to traditional assessment."

In Fiscal Year 2017, Best Friends ...

  • Officially opened new Best Friends pet adoption centers in Manhattan and Atlanta
  • Celebrated the city of Los Angeles officially becoming a no-kill city for dogs, thanks to the collaborative efforts of Best Friends, Los Angeles Animal Services, our NKLA Coalition partners and community members
  • Sent 564 pets home in just two days at a record-breaking spring NKLA super adoption, where actress and Best Friends supporter Selma Blair hobnobbed with some of L.A.’s most adorable adoptables
  • Created the 2025 National Steering Committee, comprised of proven no-kill movement leaders from both the local and national levels, tasked with catalyzing the movement and creating the road map to achieving no-kill nationwide by 2025
  • Hosted the Best Friends spring animal welfare summits, presented by Maddie’s Fund® in eight major cities around the country, which brought local leaders in the sheltering and rescue world together to discuss ways to increase regional collaboration and coalition-building on behalf of homeless pets
  • Launched a new shelter outreach program, designed for shelters critical to achieving the no-kill goal, which provides expert hands-on training and support customized for individual municipal shelters and the specific communities they serve
  • Helped more than 2,800 animals affected by Hurricane Harvey between August 25 and the end of 2017
  • Launched the Best Friends Digital Community, a digital hub where Best Friends Network partners can share best practices, connect with one another and develop no-kill expertise
A special thank-you to Maddie’s Fund for funding transformational programs in 2017. This partnership helped support new community cat programs, network partner mentorships, the new Best Friends Digital Community, regional animal welfare summits and more. #ThanksToMaddie

A Message from the CEO

"As we barrel toward our goal of nationwide no-kill by 2025, our work is becoming more strategic and having even more impact."

Creative Adoption Events, Promotions and Partnerships

During the last fiscal year, 80,488 animals were adopted through Best Friends adoption centers, special events and adoption promotions.

  • 10,927 pets found homes through Best Friends pet adoption centers
  • 3,135 pets found homes through six Best Friends Super Adoption events, presented by BOBS® from Skechers®
  • 57,842 pets found homes through network partners participating in Best Friends adoption promotions

Summer to Save Them All adoption promotions

June, July and August 2017 | 25,762 pets found loving new homes

“During peak kitten season, this promo helped 42 adult cats, 56 kittens and 69 dogs find new homes. That’s our entire center population.” - Haven Humane Society, California

Give Love adoption promotion

February 2017 | Sponsored by BOBS® from Skechers®

8,400 pets found loving new homes

“Give Love was a huge success. Thirty-eight adult cats were adopted, two of which were FIV-positive. And we saw our long-time cat resident, Veronica, go home. She’s 11 years old and had been here for more than 200 days.” - Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA, Virginia

Expert Care for Kittens

Best Friends operates four regional kitten nurseries and provides support to network partners around the country to help cats and kittens in their communities.

Best Friends kitten nurseries

4,796 kittens and nursing mothers cared for | 3,588 kittens placed in foster homes

Big win for bottle babies

Arizona Humane Society | Phoenix, Arizona

  • Received $3,000 and $20,000 grants from Best Friends to create and expand their “bottle baby ICU” for newborn kittens
  • Number of kittens cared for: 1,235 (and counting)
“In September alone, we took in 161 new kitten patients.” - Leanne Cardwell, grant specialist, Arizona Humane Society

Sustainable Success for Dogs

The city of Los Angeles reached the no-kill benchmark* for dogs this past year, while the state of Utah and New York City continued to sustain their no-kill status for dogs.

Save rates for dogs

Best Friends regional programs

Los Angeles: 91.4% | New York City: 90.9% | Utah: 95.3%

*Saving 90 percent or more of the animals who enter shelters is the benchmark for no-kill.

Roomba, a dog at the NKLA Pet Adoption Center who was being overlooked by adopters, was featured on television in a heart-covered sweater that a creative volunteer put on her. Shortly after, she was adopted by someone who had seen her on TV. #SweatersSaveLives

Smart, Strategic Spay/Neuter and Trap-Neuter-Return

  • 98,275 animals spayed or neutered through Best Friends spay/neuter clinics and trap-neuter-return programs
  • 26,662 animals spayed or neutered through Best Friends spay/neuter clinics
  • 59,016 community cats spayed or neutered through Best Friends programs

Powerful Programs for Community Cats

A new community cats mentorship program, funded by Maddie’s Fund, was launched this past year to help smaller Best Friends Network partners make a bigger impact in their communities.

Collaborating to save Indiana’s community cats

Allen County SPCA, Fort Wayne Animal Care and HOPE for Animals

  • $62,000 community cat mentorship grant for staffing and supplies
  • 574 community cats spayed or neutered within the first four months of the program

Best Friends community cat partnerships in 2017

Las Vegas, Nev. | Los Angeles, Calif. (FixNation) | Riverside, Calif.* | Philadelphia, Pa.** | Pima County, Ariz.** | Columbus, Ga.** | Atlanta, Ga. | State of Utah

*Community cat program run in partnership with Maddie’s Fund

**Community Cats Projects run in partnership with PetSmart Charities

Humane Legislation for Companion Animals

Best Friends collaborated with fellow animal welfare organizations and advocates to enact a wide range of lifesaving legislation on behalf of companion animals.

  • 95 legislative wins on behalf of cats, dogs and other pets across 19 states and 66 cities or counties
  • 95,606 emails sent to lawmakers by subscribers to the Best Friends Legislative Action Center

California sets the bar

  • California became the first state in the country to ban the retail sale of dogs, cats and rabbits from breeding mills in pet stores through Assembly Bill 485.
  • Key collaborators: San Francisco SPCA, San Diego Humane Society, Humane Society of the United States, ASPCA

St. Clair says yes to no-kill

  • St. Clair County in Illinois passed a no-kill resolution and adopted a shelter-neuter-return ordinance for community cats.
  • Key collaborators: Gateway Pet Guardians, St. Clair County Animal Advocates, Belleville Area Humane Society

Delaware loves its dogs

  • Delaware became the 21st state to pass legislation prohibiting breed-discriminatory laws.
  • Key collaborators: Brandywine Valley SPCA, Office of Animal Welfare, Faithful Friends Animal Society, Delaware Humane Association

Pet-Friendly Programs for Communities

The Rachael Ray Save Them All Grants, made possible through the generous support of the Rachael Ray Foundation, funded new lifesaving programs for 49 Best Friends Network partners across 23 states this past year.

Greenville County Animal Care

Greenville, South Carolina

  • Received $20,000 Rachael Ray Save Them All Grant to provide free spay/neuter for large-breed dogs
“Large dogs are the biggest incoming group for our shelter. In just the first four months, we spayed or neutered 140 large dogs and puppies for free, and the program is only becoming more popular.” - Shelly Simmons, Greenville County Animal Care

Lifesaving Events Across the Country

2017 Strut Your Mutt, presented by BOBS® from Skechers®

More than $2.6 million was raised, with nearly $2 million going directly to the 300 shelter and animal welfare partners that participated.

  • Nearly 13,500 human participants
  • 9,000+ canine participants (and one pig!)
  • 14 cities and one virtual event

2017 Best Friends National Conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey, presented by Maddie’s Fund, July 13-15

  • 1,550 attendees | 105 speakers | 7 general tracks
  • 46 states, 4 countries and 3 Canadian provinces represented
  • 65 breakout sessions tackling everything from innovative kitten care to regional coalition-building
"I loved how relevant it was to municipal shelters, and how supportive it was of municipal shelters who aren't 'there' yet, but are working hard to get there." - 2017 conference attendee

Love and Care for the Animals at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

New arrivals: 1,433 | Animals adopted: 1,145 | Sanctuary visitors: More than 31,000 | Sanctuary volunteers: 12,096 | Sanctuary tours: 3,548

37% of the animals adopted had special needs

Feathered and fabulous

Last June, the new Parrot Garden Headquarters officially opened. Anchored by a central aviary with living plants and a water feature, the new building was designed to increase functional space and better accommodate birds, staff and volunteers year-round.

Many Parrot Garden residents arrive with special needs and can be very particular about their people. With the huge boost from the newly designed headquarters, Parrot Garden will have a better space in which staff can give care and facilitate adoptions for our colorful feathered friends.

Parrot Garden in 2017

78 new arrivals | 49 adoptions

Spoons of love

When an adorable kitten named Gavin came to the Sanctuary, he tested “discordant” for feline leukemia (FeLV). That means he can’t live with either cats who test positive for FeLV (because they might make him sick) or cats who test negative (and might get sick from him). So, he went into a special room in Cat World reserved for discordant cats.

Gavin wasn’t in his new room long before a family with no other cats at home visited the Sanctuary, looking to adopt a special-needs cat, and fell for him. Before saying goodbye, Gavin’s caregivers packed up a special little bag of his favorite type of toy: plastic spoons.

A special thank-you to Instinct® by Nature’s Variety, Best Friends’ official pet food and treats provider. Nature’s Variety provides food and treats for animals at the Sanctuary and our regional pet adoption centers.

TOGETHER, WE WILL SAVE THEM ALL. Thank you to all of the compassionate individuals, companies and foundations who gave to the animals this past year. Thank you for caring. Thank you for believing. Thank you for being a part of this amazing work. The animals are forever grateful. We are forever grateful.

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