Dec 2015

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.

At the 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 founding.

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 clicking here..

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 clicking here.

To donate to the No Kill Advocacy Center, click here.

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