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No Kill Animal Shelters – Know The Facts, Disregard The Myths

Myth: No Kill is too expensive. Our community cannot afford it.

Fact: No Kill is cost-effective, fiscally responsible, and a great economic boon to local communities. Municipalities who want to enact good policy and improve the local economy should invest in lifesaving at their local shelter. Given the cost savings and additional revenues of doing so (reduced costs associated with killing, enhanced community support, an increase in adoption revenues and other user fees, and additional tax revenues), as well as the community economic impact of adoptions, a community cannot afford not to embrace No Kill.


Myth: Open admission shelters can’t be No Kill.

Fact: A No Kill shelter can be either “limited admission” or “open admission.” No Kill only means that no savable animals are put to death, roughly 95% of all intakes. And there are plenty of No Kill animal control shelters and thus No Kill communities to prove it.


Myth: You can’t adopt your way out of killing.

Fact: Using the most successful adoption communities as a benchmark and adjusting for population, U.S. shelters combined should be adopting almost nine million animals a year. That is almost three times the number being killed for lack of a home. In fact, it is more than total impounds. But the news gets even better.

There are over 23 million people who are going to get an animal next year. Some are already committed to adopting from a shelter. Some are already committed to getting one from a breeder or other commercial source. But 17 million have not decided where that animal will come from and research shows they can be influenced to adopt from a shelter. That’s 17 million people vying for roughly 3 million animals. So even if 80% of those people got their animal from somewhere other than a shelter, we could still zero out the killing. And many communities are proving it.


Myth: No one wants to kill.

Fact: In NYS, 71% of rescue groups have been turned away from shelters which then killed the very animals those rescue groups offered to save. In FL, it was 63%. In one CA county, the number of animals transferred to rescue groups, rather than killed, went from zero to 4,000 a year after a law was passed forcing them to work with rescue groups. We need such a law in all 50 states because shelters often kill animals even when those animals have an immediate place to go.