For The First Time, Los Angeles Becomes A 'No-Kill' Animals Shelter City In The U.S.

For The First Time, Los Angeles Becomes A 'No-Kill' Animals Shelter City In The U.S.

"The 2020 save rate in the city of Los Angeles was 90.49%. L.A. is now NKLA!" read the statement released by the Best Friends Animal Society.

Representative Image Source: Getty/Sergio Mendoza Hochmann

When people are looking to get a new pet in their family, they are encouraged to "adopt, not shop" and why not? You'll be surprised to learn just how many pets are abandoned every day or are born in a shelter, looking for a good home that will give them the love they rightly deserve. While animal shelters have been playing an important role in rescuing these adorable animals and housing them until they find their forever home, they can only so much to care for them. When the shelters can no longer accommodate the excessive number of animals, the unwanted creatures are often put down. Per the ASPCA, around 6.5 million animals are taken into shelters every year and about 1,5 million of them are euthanized. But the latter will not be the case anymore for the city of Los Angeles. 


Over the years, the kill rate has seen a steady decline due to many factors from activists calling for more shelters to become "no-kill" to more individuals adopting animals instead of purchasing them. These changes have been established on a state level as well, as Michigan and Delaware having zero kill shelters in recent years. Now, a major city in the country has followed suit. For the first time, Los Angeles has officially become a no-kill city for animal shelters, per the announcement made by the Best Friends Animal Society on March 10.


"I can’t even begin to describe how huge this is," wrote chief executive officer for Best Friends Animal Society, Julie Castle. "Los Angeles is the second-most populous city in the entire country, and now has become the most populous, geographically largest, and most racially and economically diverse city to become no-kill." This was a long-awaited victory for the group's NKLA (No-Kill Los Angeles) initiative which began in 2012 when only "57% of dogs and cats were making it out of shelters alive." The team had to undergo many "challenging, inspiring, grueling, heartwarming, tear-jerking, life-changing years of working," to arrive where they are today- "The 2020 save rate in the city of Los Angeles was 90.49%. L.A. is now NKLA!"


After decades of outreach programs in the city which began in 1991, the organization "launched NKLA in April 2012 after 18 months of organization and analysis. In 2011, the year prior to the NKLA launch, Los Angeles Animal Services (LAAS) took in more than 56,000 dogs and cats. About 18,000 were killed and, significantly, more than one-third were neonatal kittens. That fact gave rise to the largest neonatal kitten program anywhere, ever. Since 2012, more than 70,000 dogs and cats have come through NKLA programs alone." 

They "began with a steering committee that included eight other organizations: Angel City Pit Bulls, Downtown Dog Rescue, FixNation, Kitten Rescue, Los Angeles Animal Services, Michelson Found Animals Foundation, Stray Cat Alliance and Karma Rescue," which has now grown into a coalition of "more than 140 members committed to transforming L.A. into NKLA." General manager of LA Animal Services, Brenda Barnette said, "Collaboration is key to saving lives and this coalition has certainly proved that to be true."


"We’re so grateful to Best Friends, our many rescue partners, staff, volunteers, and the community who responded to foster and adopt the animals in our Centers during the pandemic, which helped us achieve our 90.49 percent lifesaving rate by year-end 2020," continued Barnette according to Fox 11. Thanks to the heroic rescue efforts of everyone, the kill rate steadily declined and by 2020 the saving rate crossed the 90% threshold. "The achievement of NKLA, a Best Friends initiative, represents 10 years of passion, commitment, blood, sweat, and tears by LAAS, coalition partners, the people of Los Angeles, and beyond. So, to each and every organization and shelter worker, every adopter and foster caregiver, and every advocate, I say congratulations and thank you," continued the statement.

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