Los Angeles has become no-kill for the first time thanks to the efforts of the city, L.A. Animal Services, a coalition of animal welfare organizations, compassionate leaders and a dedicated community.
When Best Friends Animal Society first launched the NKLA (No-Kill Los Angeles) initiative in 2012, only 56 percent of dogs and cats were making it out of Los Angeles city shelters alive. In 2020, the city sustained a save rate of 90.49 percent.
“It’s difficult to overstate the enormity of this moment and its place in the history of the no-kill movement. NKLA has demonstrated what’s possible when an entire community works together,” said Julie Castle, chief executive officer for Best Friends Animal Society. “By expanding this collaborative model nationwide, Best Friends’ goal to make every community in the U.S. no-kill by 2025 becomes even more of a reality.”
A 90 percent save rate is the nationally recognized benchmark to be considered no-kill, factoring that approximately 10% of pets who enter shelters have medical or behavioral circumstances that warrant humane euthanasia rather than killing for lack of space.
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COVID-19 brought a wave of community involvement to keep pets in homes. LA Animal Services, Best Friends, and more than 150 NKLA coalition partners worked together to ensure individuals and families were able to foster and adopt pets despite restrictions due to the pandemic and temporary closure of two city animal shelters.
The NKLA coalition steering committee members include Angel City Pit Bulls, FixNation, Heaven on Earth Society for Animals, Kitten Rescue, Kitty Bungalow Charm School for Wayward Cats, Michelson Found Animals Foundation, Paws for Life K9 Rescue, The Spay Neuter Project of Los Angeles (SNPLA), and Stray Cat Alliance.
“Collaboration is key to saving lives and this coalition has certainly proved that to be true,” said Brenda Barnette, general manager of LA Animal Services.
Best Friends and L.A. Animal Services have been a part of NBC4's Clear the Shelters adoption campaign since 2015 which partners with animal shelters throughout Southern California to raise awareness about pet adoptions and has helped shelters find forever homes for tens of thousands of animals.