Four Paws Down

Rescuing Best Friends in Need

Amy Steinbrech | Photos courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society Mar 12, 2018

Puppy dreams come true at a place called Angel Canyon, home to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary. Located just north of Kanab in the beautiful red rock country of Southern Utah, the sanctuary is headquarters for Best Friends Animal Society, a national animal welfare organization focused on ending the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters.

Our Best Friends

For more than 30 years, Best Friends has built life-saving programs, reduced the number of animals entering shelters and helped thousands of adoptable animals find forever homes.

“We have about 1,600 animals at the sanctuary at any given time including dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, goats and pigs,” says Temma Martin, public relations specialist for Best Friends Animal Society. “They are all adoptable, but if they aren’t adopted, they can live out the rest of their lives at our sanctuary.” 

The Initiative

Best Friends launched an ambitious joint initiative with rescue groups and shelters across the country to end the killing of dogs and cats in shelters by 2025. The key to achieving this goal is organizing animal welfare advocates around effective practices proven to achieve no-kill at the community level, Martin notes. These include reducing animal intake through free or low-cost spay/neuter programs, increasing adoptions through creative promotions, and offering incentives to rescue groups that pull animals from shelters. In Utah, the organization’s goal is to make the state no-kill by 2019.

“Best Friends is determined to lead the nation to no-kill by 2025,” says Gregory Castle, co-founder and CEO of Best Friends Animal Society. “But to save the nearly 5,500 dogs and cats that are killed in shelters every day, we need the help and participation of organizations and individuals in every city, county and state across the country.” 

A Group Effort

Best Friends has regional adoption centers throughout the United States but relies heavily on its more than 2,000 network partners across the country.

“Best Friends has implemented many successful programs that have given us the road map to end the killing of animals in shelters,” Castle says. “Our statewide No-Kill Utah effort, and our broad coalitions of organizations, are working collaboratively and demonstrating how many lives can be saved when we work together to ‘Save Them All,’ (the initiative’s tagline).”

Making a Difference

There are six things you can do to help Best Friends reach its goal. 

1. Adopt a pet from a shelter or rescue group. Rather than buying from a breeder, a pet store or an online retailer, consider adopting your next pet.

2. Have pets spayed or neutered. Puppies and kittens can have litters when they are as young as four months, so get your animal spayed or neutered as soon as possible.

3. Volunteer. There are volunteer opportunities available at the sanctuary and at its storefront location in Sugar House, Utah, or offer to lend a hand at your local shelter or rescue group.

4. Spread the word. Share social media posts and spread the word about local events.

5. Come to events. Best Friends hosts three annual events in the Salt Lake area including two super adoptions and Strut Your Mutt, a dog walk and fundraising event.

6. Donate. Make a monetary donation to help defray costs for things like food and veterinarian expenses.

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