The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) estimated in July 2008 that approximately three to four million pets are killed yearly in shelters across the United States.The No Kill Advocacy Center and Alley Cat Allies claim this number is closer to five million. No-kill shelters are trying to end this killing by increasing the demand for shelter dogs and cats and reducing the supply by reducing the number of animals born and thus the number of animals which end up in shelters, and through increased spay/neuter, including low-cost/free help for low-income people.
The objective of no-kill is to prevent filling animal pounds to capacity. How this is accomplished encompasses everything that the no-kill movement is about.
“We can stop looking for that easy one-step solution to overpopulation. We’ve already had a quick-fix for the last 150 years. It has been killing. Today our society is ready for a more sophisticated and humane response.
No-Kill shelters received a financial boost with the establishment of the $250 million Maddie’s Fund. A number of communities in the United States have received financial grants from this fund which they credit with increasing their live-release rate. According to Maddie’s Fund, in America only about 20% of pets are adopted while the rest are from breeders and other sources. By increasing that number by just a few percentage points, they believe that the problem of euthanasia of healthy cats and dogs can be solved.
Italy has outlawed the euthanasia of healthy companion animals since 1991 and controls stray populations through trap, neuter and return programs. A compilation of 10 years’ worth of data on feral cat colonies in Rome has shown that although trap-neuter-return decreased the cat population, pet abandonment was a significant problem.