From the Chair of the Board
Best Friends Animal Society has never rested on its laurels. Perhaps that’s because the success of our mission — to bring about a time when there are no more homeless pets — is measured in lives saved, giving us a sense of purpose and urgency.
While the seriousness of our calling cannot overshadow the joy and energy of our work, the dogs and cats who remain at risk are always front and center. These lives are not just numbers; each one of them has a name, a face, a story and the desire to live.
Everyone at Best Friends regards this mission with the utmost sincerity and resolve — from animal caregivers to Sanctuary tour guides, from administrative staff to every member of our board of directors. Every one of us is accountable to the animals, to each other, to the public and to you, our members and supporters. We believe it is only through transparency and accountability that we can stay on mission and on schedule to achieve it.
This past year, Best Friends’ leadership team laid out an ambitious plan to lead the country to end the killing of healthy dogs and cats in our nation’s shelters by 2025. This is a plan and goal for which we gladly assume responsibility, and toward which we are pointing all of our organizational resources.
At the same time, we understand that this commitment will require the work of far more than just one organization. It requires the kind of leadership that drives our work in the state of Utah, as well as in the complex environment of Los Angeles, where we and our NKLA Coalition partners are on track to achieve no-kill in 2017. It requires the kind of collaboration that underscores our No More Homeless Pets Network, and the kind of dedication that has helped to create nearly 300 no-kill communities throughout the country to date.
Every day, nearly 5,500 of those names, faces, stories and lives are lost to killing that can be prevented, and it is our mission to see that this becomes a thing of the past.
Thank you for being a part of this lifesaving work. Together, we will Save Them All.
Francis Battista, co-founder and board chair, Best Friends Animal Society
Best Friends in the National Conversation
- Best Friends’ social media audience grows to more than 2.2 million.
- Actor Christopher Walken joins the “I Saved My Best Friend” campaign and appears on the Today show to discuss his role in the movie Nine Lives and his support of Best Friends.
- The Champions, an award-winning documentary now available on Netflix, shapes the national conversation on breed discrimination with 145 screenings across 41 states.
- Best Friends is named Animal Welfare Nonprofit Brand of the Year for the third time based on the 2016 Harris Poll EquiTrend® Study.*
*Best Friends Animal Society received the highest numerical Equity Score and the highest numerical score relating to Trust among Animal Welfare Nonprofits included in the 2016 Harris Poll EquiTrend® Study. Please go to bestfriends.org/about/faqs for further details.
A Message from the CEO
Friends, it’s happening. What was once a simple idea — that every animal’s life has intrinsic value — has transformed into a nationwide movement.
Over the last fiscal year, you’ve helped create remarkable change for animals in every corner of the country. From lifesaving legislative wins for cats and dogs in places like Ohio and Florida, to symbolic statements such as the adoptable dog becoming the official state dog in Georgia, our work together is setting the national tone. One that celebrates our relationship to animals and the collective power and spirit behind our efforts to Save Them All.
Thanks to you, we have made the idea of “together” meaningful. Best Friends’ No More Homeless Pets Network, which is made up of nearly 1,700 (and counting) animal welfare and sheltering organizations across all 50 states, is the foundation of this lifesaving work.
Through grants and funding, national adoption promotions, major lifesaving events like Strut Your Mutt, and expert mentoring and resources, Best Friends is equipping those best positioned to save lives with the tools they need to do it. These critical partners are one of the keys to achieving our mission.
We’ve seen individuals and organizations join together on behalf of the animals in unprecedented ways. This was most recently exemplified in the joining together of Best Friends and Atlanta Pet Rescue and Adoption to create Best Friends–Atlanta, anchored by our first pet adoption center in the southern United States. These purposeful and collaborative endeavors have transformed our work from the inspiring day-to-day lifesaving that takes place at the Sanctuary into a national, lifesaving cultural shift.
The no-kill movement has surpassed its tipping point. And thanks to our work together, it’s full steam ahead. Which is why Best Friends has officially planted a stake in the ground and is now leading a nationwide initiative to make America no-kill for dogs and cats by 2025.
It’s an ambitious goal, and one that your partnership and dedication have put firmly within reach.
Gregory Castle, CEO, Best Friends Animal Society
In Fiscal Year 2016, Best Friends …
- Helped the state of Utah enter its third year as a no-kill state for dogs and reach an 85 percent overall save rate for dogs and cats
- Partnered with Atlanta Pet Rescue and Adoption to create Best Friends–Atlanta
- Celebrated a 27 percent decrease in shelter deaths (more than double last year’s reduction) in the city of Los Angeles, thanks to the tireless work of NKLA Coalition partners
- Entered the final phase of construction on the new Best Friends Pet Adoption Center in the heart of New York City
HEARTWARMING STORIES FROM AROUND THE SANCTUARY
In May, a tiny foal named Prince arrived at the Sanctuary from McKinley County Humane Society, a Best Friends partner located in Gallup, New Mexico. At just 10 days old, Prince was the youngest horse ever to come to the Sanctuary, and quite possibly the cutest. In fact, the first photo we were sent showed little Prince dressed in a baby blue cardigan.
Prince’s mother had the good fortune of being rescued by the humane society, and she gave birth to Prince shortly after arriving in their care. However, Prince was ultimately too weak to feed on his own and mom wasn’t too excited about letting people near her to help.
The humane society quickly set to work finding temporary alternatives for Prince’s neonatal care, and then called Best Friends. Caring for an orphaned foal is a tremendous undertaking and the Sanctuary is one of the few places with the resources to do it. Prince received round-the-clock feedings and support from caregivers. Today, he is strong and healthy and is making friends with other Horse Haven residents.
Last February, a blue-eyed pit bull terrier named Trinity was taken to Calaveras County Animal Services in Northern California. Trinity appeared to be the victim of a suspected dogfighting operation and had escaped during a fire. She was suffering from multiple injuries, but her sweet nature and zest for life stole the hearts of everyone she met. Despite the severity of her injuries and the cost of the care she would need, the community there came together to raise funds for her treatment.
Thanks to the evidence gathered in Trinity’s case and a subsequent property search, several other dogs in need of medical attention were found and rescued. Best Friends collaborated with the shelter and the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis, to care for Trinity and five other dogs until they could travel to the Sanctuary. After spending some time in foster homes with university students, Trinity, Liberty, Flower, Sting, Hoyt and Justice arrived at the Sanctuary, where they received specialized care and time to heal.
As of today, all but Justice (who arrived at the Sanctuary last) have found loving new homes. And Trinity is sharing hers with her canine buddy, Chance, also a former resident of Dogtown. Three cheers for Trinity, and her team of adoring fans!
You supported lifesaving events across the country.
STRUT YOUR MUTT
Every fall, Best Friends hosts Strut Your Mutt, a dog walk and lifesaving fundraiser, in multiple cities throughout the country. What started as just a local dog walk in Salt Lake City in 1996 has grown into a nationwide fundraising extravaganza. Thousands of people and pets participate each year, with the majority of the funds raised going directly to support the lifesaving work of participating shelters and animal welfare organizations.
Each spring and fall, Best Friends Super Adoptions are held in Los Angeles, Salt Lake City and New York City. These large-scale public adoption events bring together hundreds of adoptable animals from Best Friends and local animal welfare organizations in one location for a weekend.
2,652 pets found homes through six Best Friends Super Adoption events
Super matchmaking in New York City
In the spring, a big dog struggling to find a home in New York, a city in which smaller pets sometimes have the edge, landed her perfect family at the Best Friends Super Adoption. Minnie, now named Mrs. Mary Todd Lincoln, is a testament to the power of large-scale adoption events that bring hundreds of pets and potential adopters together.
“You know, sometimes you go looking for one thing and you wind up with something completely different and unexpected. That’s what happened when we met her. She was perfectly imperfect. And we knew she was ours.”
– Nathan, one of Minnie’s adopters, who originally came to the event looking for a small dog
You kept animals out of shelters through spay/neuter and community cat programs.
During the last fiscal year, more than 97,000 animals were spayed or neutered through Best Friends spay/neuter clinics and programs, including grants and other funding provided to Best Friends’ network partners.
- 21,900 Animals spayed or neutered through Best Friends spay/neuter clinics
- 39,953 Community cats spayed or neutered through Best Friends programs
Best Friends community cats partnerships
- Baltimore, Md.*
- Columbus, Ga.*
- Las Vegas, Nev.
- Los Angeles, Calif. (FixNation)
- Philadelphia, Pa.*
- Pima County, Ariz.*
- Atlanta, Ga.
- State of Utah
*Community Cats Projects run in partnership with PetSmart Charities
You saved dogs and supported sustainability.
Saving 90 percent or more of the animals who enter shelters is the benchmark for no-kill. And thanks to you, New York City reached that benchmark for dogs this past year, and Los Angeles nearly did the same. Meanwhile, the state of Utah continues to sustain its no-kill status for dogs.
Save rates for dogs in Best Friends’ regional program areas
LOS ANGELES - 2016: 88.9% | 2015: 86.8%
UTAH - 2016: 93.6% | 2015: 93%
NEW YORK CITY - 2016: 90.5% | 2015: 88.6%
You’re giving the animals their “moon shot.”
This past July, at the Best Friends National Conference in Salt Lake City, Best Friends symbolically planted a stake in the ground. With a nod to President Kennedy and his 1961 “moon shot” speech, we announced that together, with our dedicated network of partners and supporters, we will end the killing in our nation’s shelters and Save Them All by 2025.
“I planted my own stake as soon as I got back from the conference. I met with the director of one of the animal control facilities I’ve been working with and simply asked how I could help. Every last person at the conference contributed to the metaphorical wildfire that is within me, driving me to make a difference.”
– Amy Loggins, 2016 Best Friends National Conference attendee
Lifesaving at the Jersey shore
Best Friends National Conference
July 13–15, 2017 · Atlantic City, New Jersey
A Special Thank-You to Our Corporate and Foundation Partners
Kaelen and Simon Haworth
Skechers USA, Inc.
The Blue Buffalo Company
The Petco Foundation
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Hallmark Cards, Inc.
California Community Foundation
Engelstad Family Foundation
San Antonio Area Foundation
Too Faced Cosmetics
Utah Office of Tourism
Select Equity Group Foundation, Inc.
Cross Charitable Foundation Inc.
Thrivent Financial For Lutherans Foundation
Chavez For Charity
Edith J. Goode Residuary Trust
Bear Bottom Candles
George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation
Paul and Karen Arndt
S.L. Gimbel Foundation
Wendy P. McCaw Foundation
More Than A Cone
The Eugene & Marlaina Johnston Charitable Foundation, Inc.
The Mountain Corporation
Michael A. O’Bannon Foundation
Scoob Trust Foundation
Dr. Judith A. Mills
Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies
BISSELL Pet Foundation
Diane Warren Foundation
Giant Steps Foundation
H. J. Heinz Company
Rachael Ray™ Nutrish®
The George F. & Helen M. Hirschmann Foundation
The Mrs. Cheever Porter Foundation
The Weiler Foundation Inc.