Delaware has become the first state in the country to be designated a no-kill state for shelter animals.
The Best Friends Animal Society, which tracks no-kill rates by state, and is aiming to to make America a no-kill country by 2025, announced the news at their annual conference in Dallas, Texas.
The state’s new no-kill status, which is reportedly achieved once a state reaches a save rate of 90 percent or above in its shelters.
In Delaware, 11,900 animals were saved out of 12,800 that entered shelters, according to the Best Friends Animal Society. The state has a total of 59 no-kill shelters.
Linda Torelli, director of marketing for the Brandywine Valley SPCA, which has three locations in Delaware and cares for more than 14,000 animals each year, credited a multipronged approach with helping the First State achieve no-kill status — and its citizens.
“They are weekendlong events where we adopt out over a thousand animals in two days,” Torelli told the outlet. “It’s an amazing experience. It’s really something to see.”
No-kill efforts also involve keeping animals out of shelters in the first place. So Brandywine offers free vaccine clinics, a pet pantry and an emergency veterinary fund for families facing financial difficulties. A mobile wellness clinic reaches far-flung folks who might not be able to come to the shelter or a veterinary clinic.
According to the Best Friends Animal Society, around 733,000 cats and dogs were killed in animal shelters in the U.S. last year.