Delaware Recognized as First and Only No-Kill Shelter State

The pet-loving state of Delaware was officially recognized as the first – and only – no-kill shelter state in the nation. In order to receive the no-kill designation, a community must have a save rate of at least 90% of all dogs and cats entering its shelters.

As part of their initiative to make the entire country no-kill by the year 2025, Best Friends Animal Society recognized the state of Delaware for achieving no-kill status statewide.

“Last year, about 733,000 dogs and cats were killed in our nation’s animal shelters, simply because they didn’t have safe places to call home,” Best Friends explained. “Together, we can change that and achieve no-kill for dogs and cats nationwide by 2025.”

Brandywine Valley SPCA announced the exciting news on Facebook:

“The Brandywine Valley SPCA has a live release rate of 95% 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% 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.”

The No-Kill by 2025 initiative, while challenging, isn’t impossible to achieve. Nationwide, the save rate is 76.6% – an increase of nearly 3% from 2017 – with about 4,300 no-kill communities throughout. Still, with 2,000 dogs and cats killed in shelters across the country every day, there is serious room for improvement.

And, Best Friends Animal Society says it’s not that far-fetched an initiative. Just 35 years ago, 17 million dogs and cats were killed annually. Today, 733,000 die in shelters.

Visit to see where your state ranks and what you can do to help reach the goal of no-kill by 2025.

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