Our lifesaving numbers today
Based on the 2018 and 2019 national shelter data collected by Best Friends Animal Society, here’s where we are today:
The number of dogs and cats killed in shelters per year has been reduced from about 733,000 to 625,000.
National save rate for dogs and cats
2019: 79% | 2018: 77%
No-kill communities nationwide
2019: 5,600+ | 2018: 4,300+
Five states account for more than half of the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters.
Finding love online
Whether it’s scheduling Zoom calls with potential adopters so they can meet pets at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, setting up virtual meet-and-greets between adopters and pets in foster homes, or holding nationwide online adoption events, we are determined to help homeless pets find families despite the pandemic.
From May 27 through June 1, 2020, Best Friends teamed up with Adopets to hold our first-ever virtual super adoption, called Find Love Online. Here are the results:
- More than 250 Best Friends Network partners participated.
- More than 100,000 people around the country visited the event’s website.
- More than 1,700 animals found loving homes.
Also, despite the pandemic, adoptions at our lifesaving centers and the Sanctuary have been on the rise. This fiscal year:
- At the Sanctuary, 22% more dogs and cats found homes compared to last year.
- In Salt Lake City, 525 dogs found homes, an increase of 380% over last year.
“The event helped us make a meaningful difference in the world when the world needed it most. Our team was smiling from ear to ear all four days.” – Laura Van Antwerp, communications manager, SPCA of Northern Nevada
Pet food pantries to the rescue
In March, the Best Friends Lifesaving Center in Salt Lake City was transformed into a drive-through pet food pantry for people having financial difficulties. Folks stayed in their cars as the Best Friends team popped bags of pet food and other supplies into their vehicles. For individuals at high risk of contracting COVID-19, the center started a delivery service, bringing pet food directly to them.
In just the last few weeks of March, the pet food pantry handed out and delivered more than 21,000 pounds of donated dog and cat food.
Salt Lake City wasn’t the only place where Best Friends provided pet food assistance to people in need. As veterinary facilities closed and trap-neuter-return efforts for community cats were put on hold, the Best Friends vans, which normally bring dozens of cats to vets for spay/neuter surgeries, transitioned to pet food delivery vehicles. When Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter in Louisiana received a large donation of pet food, for example, the Best Friends team volunteered to deliver the excess to families affected by COVID-19. About 70 Jefferson Parish households received pet food over two days.
Relief for families and pets, thanks to The Rachael Ray Foundation™
For years, Best Friends has partnered with The Rachael Ray Foundation to help pets across the country. And during the pandemic, The Foundation once again led the way, offering critical support and resources for pets and their families. As part of the efforts of Rachael Ray philanthropies to provide whole-family COVID-19 relief, The Foundation made a $2 million donation to establish the Rachael Ray Save Them All Grants COVID-19 Relief Program at Best Friends. Through the program, Best Friends distributed relief funds to nearly 200 organizations on the front lines of lifesaving nationwide.
Bringing no-kill to dogs and cats through partnership
Record-breaking, collaborative, lifesaving — those are the best words to describe this past year. And that’s all because we worked together. For years, alongside our partners, we have been creating meaningful change for homeless pets, but this past year, we ramped up the collaborative work with our network partners to accelerate our efforts to reach no-kill nationwide by 2025. There are more than 3,100 (and counting) Best Friends Network partners.
Learning in a changing world
The pandemic changed not only the way companies and individuals operate, it changed the way we learn and spread information. Every year, Best Friends hosts a national conference that provides attendees with the information, resources and inspiration they need to save more lives. But this year, with the in-person conference canceled, we had to come up with a new and captivating way to connect and share ideas. Enter the Best Friends Lifesaving Library.
Starting in March, we went to work to put together a one-stop resource center where our partners (and anyone else who wanted access) could easily find tools — like podcasts, townhall meetings, insightful editorials and more — to continue saving lives during the pandemic. The library has had more than 54,000 views from around 88,000 visitors.
“I go to all the town halls because having connectivity is essential for me as a new director.” – Michelle Dosson, director, Norfolk Animal Care Center
A symposium to save lives
Working together through the Maddie’s® Shelter Embed Project
In Florida and Texas (two of the five states where half of the killing in shelters takes place), through a powerful partnership with Maddie’s Fund®, Best Friends has been operating three embed programs. At Palm Valley Animal Society, Humane Society of Harlingen and Santa Rosa County Animal Services, Best Friends staff work side by side with shelter teams for three to twelve months to increase the number of lives saved.
#ThanksToMaddie Here are the save rate increases since the start of the programs, with the help of the Maddie’s® Shelter Embed Project:
Palm Valley Animal Society
July 2018: 22% | July 2020: 90%
Humane Society of Harlingen
June 2019: 62% | July 2020: 94%
Santa Rosa County Animal Services
October 2019: 79% | July 2020: 94%
“The lifesaving results of Maddie’s® Shelter Embed Project are swift and comprehensive, and able to provide intense, community-based support resulting in major lifesaving impact in under-resourced shelters where the lifesaving needs are the greatest. Looking ahead, we will continue to work on expanding these programs to support other priority agencies.” – Michelle Logan, director of national shelter embed programming, Best Friends
Grassroots animal advocacy is helping the country to reach no-kill
How do we save the lives of every pet in every shelter across America? Together. That’s why Best Friends started the 2025 Action Team, a group of dedicated animal lovers who are pooling their collective kindness and energy to create compassionate communities nationwide.
Created in July 2019, the 2025 Action Team currently comprises 15,000-plus members. That’s more than 15,000 animal-loving people who are determined to make a difference for homeless pets in their own communities. As part of the team, members:
- Work together to save the lives of dogs and cats
- Share lifesaving ideas and solutions in the 2025 Action Team Facebook group
- Get advocacy training via online resources, like the Best Friends Grassroots Advocacy Toolkit
- Create real and positive change for the pets and people in their communities
“Getting help from groups and resources outside your community can be helpful, but ultimately the change must come from within. And that’s what the 2025 Action Team is all about. The team is key to building a more inclusive and diverse force of animal advocates who can work collaboratively with local animal shelters and other stakeholders in the community, and advocate for humane policies and legislation that save more pets’ lives.” – Kenny Lamberti, director of grassroots advocacy, Best Friends