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Delaware again only 'no-kill' state

Shannon McNaught * Delaware
shannon.marvel@doverpost.com
Dover Post
Dover Post

According to Best Friends Animal Society, Delaware is again the only state in the country to achieve a no-kill status.

Best Friends is a leading national animal welfare organization dedicated to ending the killing of dogs and cats in shelters. Each year, the organization compares the numbers of dogs and cats entering shelters with the numbers of dogs and cats that leave those shelters alive.

Best Friends’ 2020 report found Delaware has a “shelter pet save rate” of 93.9%. A state is considered “no-kill” when every brick-and-mortar shelter serving or within the state rates 90% or higher.

Of the 13,203 dogs and cats that entered Delaware shelters in 2019, 12,397 found placements and none were killed.

A large fraction of Delaware’s numbers come from the Brandywine Valley SPCA, the state’s contracted shelter. According to their website, Brandywine Valley cares for over 13,000 animals every year (some at their Pennsylvania shelters) and finds “homes or other placement” for at least 96% of them.

“The state achieving this important status is the culmination of ongoing work by many organizations and a community committed to saving lives,” said Brandywine Valley CEO Adam Lamb. “Having the progressive, state-wide Office of Animal Welfare provides a great foundation, and the hard-working managed-admission shelters bring their own no-kill live release rates.”

According to Lamb, Brandywine Valley handles almost 60% of Delaware’s shelter intake. They keep animals alive with “a mix of programs and the commitment of the community.”

For example, animals that might not otherwise have a chance can be rehabilitated through Brandywine Valley’s behavior program. The organization also has extensive intake intervention programs to help families keep their pets during times of need, such as free behavior counseling and drive-thru pet food pantries.

National rates

This year, for the first time, Best Friends also released  state-by-state rankings showing where the most dogs and cats need to be saved.

“We are seeing continued momentum and progress towards the goal of ending the killing of dogs and cats in U.S. shelters by the year 2025, with the overall number of pets being killed in the U.S. continuing to go down and the number of shelters that are no-kill going up,” said Best Friends Animal Society CEO Julie Castle.

California, Texas, North Carolina, Florida and Louisiana together make up more than 50% of the nation’s dog and cat killing. Delaware is joined by Vermont, Rhode Island, North Dakota and New Hampshire in the top five with the lowest number killed.

Data also shows that the number of dogs and cats killed in the U.S. has dropped from about 733,000 to 625,000. Across the U.S., about 5.4 million dogs and cats entered shelters in 2019. Of those, 4.2 million were saved, making the national rate about 79%, improving by about 3% from last year.