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Top 10 Reasons Los Angeles Animal Services Should Become No-Kill

1. Boosts adoptions.

2. Attracts and retains more volunteers.

3. Improves staff morale.

4. Generates greater community support.

5. Creates better alignment with charitable mission.

6. Enhances image.

7. Increases management skills.

8. Generates more funding.

9. Expands organizational options.

10. Establishes eligibility for MADDIE’S FUND grant.

1. No-kill boosts adoptions. Staff in no-kill shelters hear it every day. “I came to your facility to adopt because you don’t kill animals here.” Just as a growing number of people buy only organic produce or dolphin safe tuna, there is a growing segment of society that wants to express deeply held values and beliefs by focusing the search for a companion animal on no-kill shelters only. Other people go only to no-kill shelters because traditional shelters make them feel guilty and depressed. “It really troubles me to see all of those sad eyes and know that if I don’t adopt, the animal will probably die” is commonly voiced.

2. No-kill attracts and retains more volunteers. In an impersonal world where people feel more and more isolated, there is a greater longing for connection. The love given to volunteers by shelter cats and dogs can provide that connection. But it’s a devastating blow to fall in love with an animal only to find out he didn’t make it to a loving home. Severing attachments is never easy and to voluntarily go through it over and over is not something most people are willing to do. No-kill shelters are able to attract and retain a high volume of volunteers because people know that the animals they fall in love with will be adopted and cherished for life.

3. No-kill improves staff morale. Imagine a working environment in which 50% of those around you die every day. In wartime, that may be inevitable. But an animal shelter isn’t a war zone and animals aren’t dying for a noble or just cause. Killing adoptable and treatable animals is debilitating and demoralizing for the people who have to do it. The real irony is that people chose to work at shelters because they love animals and want to help them. To then have to kill them is devastating. Killing creates stressed out employees and high turnover among the rest of the staff as well.

4. No-kill generates greater community support. Just as our society is no longer willing to abide by racial discrimination and gender inequality, we’re also becoming far less tolerant of the mass killing of our best friends and family members. In many communities, there is a very real bias in support of life-saving programs and policies. This translates into greater political, corporate, philanthropic, business and volunteer support of no-kill programs.

5. No-kill creates better alignment with charitable mission. In general, animal welfare organizations want to improve the health and well-being of companion animals. Articles are written on pet safety (keep the cat indoors), pet health (vaccinations and spay/neuter) and pet identification. Pet legislation is advocated, animal cruelty prosecuted. Efforts are made to save lives. But when humane societies and spca’s kill adoptable and treatable animals, there’s a troubling disconnect between what the organizations want to do and what they actually do in practice. By saving all of the adoptable and treatable cats and dogs, no-kill shelters are able to fulfill their lifesaving mission. Oftentimes they are even able to reach out beyond their own facilities to help other community shelters save lives as well.

6. No-kill enhances image. Remember the commercial that said, “image is everything”? In the not-for-profit sector, there is a lot of truth to the statement. A positive image helps attract donations, volunteers and community support. A good image is not just built on the accomplishment of good works but on how well the accomplishment lines up with the charitable mission. Once again, by saving all of their adoptable and treatable cats and dogs, no-kill shelters are able to demonstrate to their communities that they are achieving their lifesaving mission and goals which then enhances the organization’s reputation of worthiness and success.

7. No-kill sharpens and increases management skills. When killing is an option, it’s tempting to use it as a mechanism for population management. When killing is not an option, creative solutions simply must be found to find a home for a 14-year-old canine or a shy kitty that hides when adopters come to see her. Solving these problems builds staff communication, camaraderie and cohesiveness since everyone from the executive director to shelter operations manager, the kennel attendant to the dog trainers must work together to find a way to get the animal a loving home.

8. No-kill generates more funding. People who love animals want to donate their money to agencies that save animals, not to facilities that kill them. Those who can clearly articulate their no-kill mission, demonstrate they’re saving lives, and effectively tell their story to the entire community will find a reservoir of caring individuals willing to commit financial resources to help. And no matter how small the no-kill shelter is, the fact that the animals are saved sends the message that the organization is a winner—and people want to financially reward success.

9. More income=more organizational options. As donations increase, shelters have more options. They can add groomers and behaviorists to boost adoptions. They can add spay/neuter, adoption or public awareness outreach. The list goes on and on. And as more programs and services are added and more lives are saved, a track record of success is proven and revenue increases even more.

10. Establishes eligibility for a Maddie’s Fund grant. Maddie’s Fund financially supports no-kill shelters only, those agencies who find homes for and provide comprehensive medial and behavioral care to all adoptable and treatable animals in their care. Maddie’s Fund grants are designed to help no-kill organizations create a delivery system of programs and services that will eliminate the deaths of adoptable cats and dogs community wide, within 5 years. According to Charlotte Laws, Maddie’s Fund has verbally committed $20 million, provided a matching nonprofit also raises $20 million (over the 10 year time period for completion of the Maddie’s Fund plan). Many areas are currently using Maddie’s Fund money to become “no-kill,” such as the state of Utah, New York City, and counties in Florida and Arizona.

MuttShack Foundation for Foster and Animal Rescue, promotes the rescuing of animals from “kill” shelters, on their last days of life. MuttShackers, rescue, rehabilitate and then find new homes for what is usually healthy, young and gorgeous animals. To view our “Last Day” list go to