Creating a No Kill Animal Shelter & Community!

25 April 2014

Increasing Shelter Pet Adoptions

Each year, 3-4 million still die in animal shelters. Yet, 17 million people will add a new pet to their family. People often feel defeated that it’s an “overpopulation” issue and sad that the beautiful, adoptable shelter pets must die. Far too long, we’ve accepted the myth that there is nothing that can be done. But as we’ve seen in the last decade, communities are discovering the no kill initiative and transforming their communities to saving 90% or more of the pets in their care. Instead of being killed, these beautiful pets are being adopted to live out their lives with love!

In the last five years, since I launched Pawsitively Texas, I’ve seen first hand people fall in love with and adopt dogs and cats from shelters – when it was not their first choice. Not because they think there’s something wrong with shelter pets, but because they did not know about them. That’s a marketing problem that is very solvable!

Does your local animal shelter have a high kill rate? Do you wish someone would change that? Have you ever wondered what you can do to make a difference?

Volunteering at your local animal shelter:

There are so many ways you can help! Local animal shelters often need help taking photos of the pets and posting to the shelter database system, online to popular social media sites, emailing to local rescue groups, even socializing and exercising the pets to help keep them happy and healthy! Animal shelters can also be understaffed and underfunded; if we can have volunteer fire departments, why not volunteer animal shelter adoption & rescue teams?

Animal rescue volunteers

Local rescues need fosters, volunteers, and fundraisers. They also need pet transporters that can pick up the pets from the shelter and get them to the vet, then on to their foster home. They need help photographing the pets, sharing them, organizing and helping with off-site pet adoption events and more. If you prefer to work in the background, they often need help with accounting, updating their website, and other clerical needs. No matter your talent or expertise level, there’s a life-saving spot for you!

Presenting no kill shelter reform request at city council meetings

Every community has public council meetings where citizens can present requests and ideas for change. In the following video, Austinite, Ryan Clinton prepared a 3-minute presentation. At the time, Austin, Texas was killing 15 thousand pets annually. They are now the nation’s largest no kill shelter and community. This 3-minute presentation was a catalyst for change. One person can make a difference! And you can get ideas for what to present from this inspiring video.

Three Minutes That Changed Austin, Texas

The Difference the Right Shelter Director Can Make

At one time, the Seagoville, Texas shelter was like so many in Texas and across the U.S. The City saw the Animal Shelter as “animal control”, and with no shelter marketing (which is located in a somewhat hard to find location), they had a very high kill rate. But when the shelter was placed under the police department, the Chief made the smartest decision ever. He assigned responsibility to “the animal lover” on the police force, Sgt. Bailey. Seriously! That’s how the shelter responsibility was assigned to Sgt. Bailey! In this short video, see how a compassionate police sergeant, with no shelter experience, transformed his shelter to no kill! Now the Seagoville is hailed as an exemplary shelter across the U.S. because a shelter director was determined not to kill the pets in his care and sought solutions to save them!

How a High Kill Texas Shelter Became No Kill

Two More Inspiring No Kill Articles

Building a No Kill Community – No Experience Required
No Kill – Achieving Success Despite the Obstacles

The Homeless Pet Project

Coming Soon! The Homeless Pet Project is a resource website that features videos with expert no kill leaders and strategies to implement in building a no kill shelter and community. Please check it out and share this link; if you register, you’ll receive an email (never spam) when the site launches:

If you have a story of animal rescue or adoption to share, please click here to message me via the story submission form

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How to Create a No Kill Animal Shelter photo



    • Thanks Carleen! It really does make a difference as the council and mayor are elected to lead the community and that includes the local city/town management and shelter. The video with Ryan shows how to succinctly get the message across in 3 minutes and provide handouts to council for additional info!

    • Hi Amy, foster pets sometimes need love and extra care depending on their background.
      If you have pets, this is a good article about the adjustment period when bringing home a new one:
      Be sure and interview the Rescue or Shelter as much as they interview you, to avoid any surprises and to assure you understand their time requirements (if any, such as attending off-site adoption events, doing in-home pet visits, etc.).
      It may be harder to say “goodbye” to some when they are adopted, but it really helps to remember YOU were the life-saving bridge that made that adoption story possible because without fosters, Rescues can save fewer pets!
      I’d love to hear your experiences when you start fostering!

  1. We have one No Kill Shelter here in Pittsburgh but they are always filled up. I here from lots of people that they never take any animals. I think it is a problem but what can be done? I think our other 3 shelters need to step up and become no kill too.

    • Hi Kyla, I’ve hosted two no kill workshops in NTX and have learned a lot from the folks who are ‘boots on the ground, true no kill shelters’ that’s why I made the videos from the 2013 available here on Pawsitively Texas. I want any one in any city/state to have access to the life-saving programs that are truly working to help wonderful pets leave the shelter and find loving homes. On the menu tab above, look right for the Homeless Pet Project and you’ll find all the videos links starting there. Most videos posts also include the speaker hand outs, so there is a lot of helpful resources (volunteer/foster recruitment, marketing programs, how to take great pet photos, etc.). I’m happy to help answer any specific question, or find someone who can answer. =)

  2. Hopefully someday they’ll all be no-kill. I want to start volunteering to walk dogs and take pictures and videos of dogs for social media. I’m going to go look for a contact now!

    • I believe we can achieve no kill, Ryan! The programs are really working to increase the live release rate in shelters across the US! I LOVE that you are going to volunteer locally to help the pets in your community. Dog walking socializes and releases stress keeping pets more healthy until adopted – and great photos helps them get adopted!

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