In our ongoing effort to bring rigor, accountability and transparency to
American shelters, we are proud to release "Defining
No Kill," a guide to prevent existing misuse and abuse of the term, and to
ensure that even those shelters which have achieved success continue to innovate
and modernize sheltering operations until all animals entering those shelters
receive the loving care that is their birthright.
No Kill Advocacy Center, we come by the definition and guiding principles
within this guide through several means: evidence, analysis, an awareness of how
far the sheltering industry has progressed over the last decade, and an
unequivocal commitment to the highest ideals of the animal protection movement.
Nonetheless, we recognize that some of what we advocate involves discussions
that many do not want to have. They will argue that the definition and guiding
principles are premature and would be more politically convenient to embrace at
a later date, when more or most communities are saving better than 95%. In other
words, they will claim that we are setting the bar too high.
We disagree. Much of what our organization has advocated over the past decade
was also greeted with admonition and decried as impossible but has since been
adopted by hundreds of shelters and organizations nationwide, including some of
the largest in the nation. There is no reason to assume that further innovation
will not likewise receive the same eventual acceptance.
Second, and more
importantly, it is our duty to do so. With animal shelters throughout the nation
claiming to be "No Kill" while simultaneously killing animals who are not
irremediably suffering, ignoring the plight of these animals by allowing such
shelters to claim success short of the actual goal line means animals not only
needlessly lose their lives, but that we risk embodying the very things the No
Kill movement was founded to combat: the stagnation and complacency with killing
that characterized generations of shelter leaders following the industry’s
The animals still being killed matter just as much as those who no longer face
death, and for many of them, such as behaviorally challenged dogs, our duty is
compounded by the fact that we--as humans--are often responsible for their
condition through our neglect, abuse, and undersocialization. Relieving us of
that burden by killing such animals does not result in redress for them.
Download the free guide by
Defining No Kill is just one of 16 guides to shelter reform that make up our
No Kill Advocate's Toolkit. Download all of them by
To donate to the No Kill Advocacy Center,