From No-Kill Centers to No-Kill Cities

A "no-kill" shelter is an animal shelter that does not kill healthy or treatable, animals even when that facility is full. These are centers that only resort to euthanasia when the animals are medically diagnosed as terminally ill, or are considered dangerous to the public’s general safety. A typical rule of thumb is to determine their Save Rate, where a shelter saves more than 90% of its animals.

When the majority of shelters in one city convert to NO KILL, that community becomes a No Kill City.

Defining No Kill Cities

There are two primary measurements to determine a No Kill City. Similar to a shelter’s Save Rate, the community should be saving at least 90% of animals coming into shelters to be considered No Kill.

Another way to measure NO KILL is the ratio of animals killed to the human population in a community, found by taking the number of pets killed during one year and dividing it by the number of 1,000 people in the community.

From No-Kill Centers to No-Kill Cities

San Francisco v Austin - first No Kill City?

If you were to Google “No Kill Cities,” the majority of SERPs [Search Engine Results Pages] will indicate that Austin was the model for the First Kill City in the U.S. However, the date for that occurrence by most accounts was 2011.

However when you dig deeper for stats on San Francisco, you’ll find that SF preceded Austin by a good number of years. In 1994, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals [SFSPCA] and the San Francis Animal Care and Control [SFACC] signed a pact for SF that instituted the “adoptable guarantee.” This pledge committed that their NO KILL city would place as many cats and dogs in a new home, no matter how long it took.  

Philly, the latest to go NO KILL

In January, 2018, Mayor Kenney vowed his support for the city’s leading animal welfare organizations to form a “Philadelphia No-Kill Coalition” to help stop euthanizing thousands of animals each year that could be adopted.

“We’re going to use our collective voice through the year,” Melissa Levy, the executive director of the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society, a nonprofit that operates no-kill shelters and is part of the coalition, said Tuesday. It has been working for years with city officials to curtail the number of unwanted animals euthanized in the city’s facilities.

Going forward, advocates for NO KILL cities believe there are no reasons why every city in the U.S. cannot do what other NO KILL cities have done. The deciding factors involved are not how wealthy or progressive the community might be, but whether the local humane advocates in that locale are willing to step up to the proverbial plate and make NO KILL happen.

Hopefully, by the year 2025, that will be a reality in the U.S.

PRIMARY SOURCE: No Kill Cities & Towns