Nicknamed “The First State,” Delaware has racked up even more kudos: it has recently been named the first and only no-kill animal shelter state in the country.

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According to the Best Friends Animal Society website, a nonprofit animal welfare group, a no-kill community “is one that acts on the belief that every healthy, adoptable dog and healthy cat should be saved, and that its focus should be on saving as many lives as possible through pet adoption, spay/neuter, trap-neuter-return and other community support programs rather than achieving a specific numerical outcome.”

Related: 7 ways to be a sustainable and eco-friendly pet owner

In order to be considered no-kill, a state must report at least a 90 percent save rate for all cats and dogs entering shelters, the website explains.

The nonprofit organization’s website also says the group is committed to aiding homeless pets from coast to coast. “That means leading local no-kill initiatives, working to end breed discrimination, eliminating puppy mills and keeping community cats (stray and feral felines) safe and out of shelters through TNR (trap-neuter-return) programs,” the site reads.

Adding to the excitement, Brandywine Valley SPCA said it was also recognized by Best Friends for its leadership and dedication with the no-kill shelter plan.

“The Brandywine Valley SPCA has a live release rate of 95 percent for the more than 14,000 animals a year we intake,” Linda Torelli, marketing director of Brandywine Valley SPCA, told CNN. “Within Delaware, we intake more than 60 percent of the animals entering shelters and more than four times the next largest shelter, so our policies have had a significant impact on the state becoming no-kill.”

In 2018, about 733,000 dogs and cats were killed in animal shelters across the country, because the animals didn’t find homes. But Best Friends believes this can change in the U.S. by 2025 if everyone commits.

Some of Delaware’s programs that earned the state its place as the first no-kill state include adoption events, trap/neuter/spay programs for cats that might not be adoptable, low-cost veterinary clinics, education programs and behavioral training for dogs that need additional attention.

If you’re interested in working on a no-kill resolution for your community or state, you can obtain important information and guidelines from the Best Friends website.

+ Best Friends Animal Society


Image via Thomas Park