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The No Kill Equation. Saving more than 90% of all homeless pets entering shelters. Davyd Smith An outdated strategy.

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the no kill equation

The No Kill Equation

Saving more than 90% of all homeless pets entering shelters

Davyd Smith

an outdated strategy
An outdated strategy


More than 3 million animals are killed in shelters every year in the United States

No Kill communities have surpassed 50 as of August 2012 (with over 200 cities and towns inside of them)*

The only successful live release rates have been in No Kill communities

pet overpopulation
Pet Overpopulation

*No Kill 101 - No Kill Advocacy Center

Every year there are six times more people looking to acquire an animal than there are animals being killed in shelters.*

a new life affirming approach
A new life affirming approach
  • The No Kill Equation*
    • TNR Program
    • High-Volume, Low-Cost Spay/Neuter
    • Rescue Groups
    • Foster Care
    • Comprehensive Adoption Programs
    • Pet Retention
    • Medical and Behavior Prevention & Rehabilitation
    • Public Relations/Community Involvement
    • Volunteers
    • Proactive Redemptions
    • A Compassionate Director


trap neuter release
Trap, neuter, release

  • TNR Program
    • No- and low-cost, high-volume spay/neuter reduces the number of animals entering the shelter system, allowing more resources to be allocated toward saving lives.
high volume low cost spay neuter
High-Volume, Low-CostSpay/Neuter

No- and low-cost, high-volume spay/neuter reduces the number of animals entering the shelter system

Allows more resources to be allocated toward saving lives.

rescue groups
Rescue Groups
  • An adoption or transfer to a rescue group
    • Frees up scarce cage and kennel space
    • Reduces expenses for feeding, cleaning, and killing
    • Improves a community’s rate of lifesaving.
    • Millions of dogs and cats are killed in shelters annually
    • Rare is the circumstance in which a rescue group should be denied an animal.
foster care
Foster Care

Volunteer foster care is a low-cost, and often no-cost way of increasing a shelter’s capacity, caring for sick and injured or behaviorally challenged animals, and thus saving more lives.

comprehensive adoption programs
Comprehensive Adoption Programs

  • Adoptions are vital to an agency’s lifesaving mission. The quantity and quality of shelter adoptions is in shelter management’s hands, making lifesaving a direct function of shelter policies and practice. If shelters better promoted their animals and had adoption programs responsive to community needs, including
    • public access hours for working people,
    • offsite adoptions
    • adoption incentives
    • effective marketing
  • Shelters can increase the number of homes available and replace killing with adoptions. Contrary to conventional wisdom, shelters can adopt their way out of killing.
pet retention
Pet Retention

While some surrenders of animals to shelters are unavoidable, others can be prevented

Only if shelters work with people to help them solve their problems.

Saving animals requires shelters to develop innovative strategies for keeping people and their companion animals together.

The more a community sees its shelters as a place to turn for advice and assistance, the easier this job will be.

medical behavior programs
Medical & Behavior Programs

A commitment to a lifesaving guarantee for all savable animals

Shelters need to keep animals happy and healthy and keep animals moving efficiently through the system.

Shelters must put in place comprehensive vaccination, handling, cleaning, socialization, and care policies before animals get sick

And put in place rehabilitative efforts for those who come in sick, injured, unweaned, or traumatized.

public relations community development
Public Relations/CommunityDevelopment

Increasing adoptions, maximizing donations, recruiting volunteers and partnering with community agencies comes down to increasing the shelter’s public exposure.

Consistent marketing and public relations. Public relations and marketing are the foundation of a shelter’s activities and success.


Volunteers are a dedicated “army of compassion” and the backbone of a successful No Kill effort.

There is never enough staff, never enough dollars to hire more staff, and always more needs than paid human resources.

Volunteers make the difference between success and failure and, for the animals, life and death.

proactive redemptions
Proactive Redemptions

One of the most overlooked areas for reducing killing in animal control shelters are lost animal reclaims.

Shifting from a passive to a more proactive approach has allowed shelters to return a large percentage of lost animals to their families.

a compassionate director
A Compassionate Director

The final element of the No Kill Equation is the most important of all

A hard working, compassionate animal control or shelter director not content to continue killing

We cannot continue regurgitating tired clichés about “public irresponsibility” or hiding behind the myth of “too many animals, not enough homes.”

you can t pick and choose
You can’t Pick and Choose

No Kill is simply not achievable without rigorous implementation of ALL these programs.

They provide the only model that ever created No Kill communities.

It is up to us in the humane movement to demand them of our local shelters

No longer to settle for the excuses that shelters often put up in order to avoid implementing them.