Delaware Becomes First And Only No-Kill State for Shelter Animal - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Becomes First And Only No-Kill State for Shelter Animals in the US

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REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. - Delaware has become the first and only no-kill state for shelter animals in the United States.

That new status was awarded by the Best Friends Animal Society during their conference in Dallas, TX. The recognition comes as the organization is working with shelters all across the country to create a no-kill nation by the year 2025. 

"A lot of the organizations in Delaware have been no kill for awhile but as Best Friends has put this initiative forward, I think it's finally come to the realization that not only our organization, not only some of the organizations that we partner with, but all of the organizations in Delaware are no-kill, which makes us a no-kill state," Meg Searcey of the Delaware Humane Association said. 

A no-kill shelter essentially means that less than 10% of animals are euthanized. Searcey says it happens only when the animal is deemed a danger to society or is too sick to have a good quality of life. The Brandywine Valley SPCA says their organization has been operating as a no-kill shelter for years, with a 95% live release rate in 2018.

According to Linda Torelli with the BVSPCA, policies and procedures they have done to help Delaware become a no-kill state include things like open adoption practices, a behavior program for dogs, and trap/neuter/return for cats.

Shelters in Delaware are leading the way for pet adoption in the U.S., but they're also helping other centers who are trying to become no-kill. Searcey says their association, as well as others in Delaware, get dogs and cats from all over the country to help take in the animals those shelters can't handle.

"We’re helping nationally in several ways," Torelli said. "One is intaking highly adoptable animals at risk of euthanasia in other parts of the country, such as puppies and small dogs. We don’t stop there, though. We share our knowledge by mentoring other shelters and sharing resources to help make long-term systemic change in those communities."

According to the Best Friends Animal Society, around 733,000 cats and dogs were killed in animal shelters in the U.S. last year. For more information on their initiative, visit: https://bestfriends.org/2025-goal?fbclid=IwAR0GW8zPfQ3oN2SvKyrHDPvOYY1WzAeM85BQlLn8nMeen8zdKz5pFxWC-2o

 
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