I'm a huge fan of no kill animal shelters, and I believe they do great things for animals who deserve another chance. The stray situation is a serious one, and people have different philosophies on it. As an animal lover, however, I simply can't stand the idea of even knowing that an animal is put down because it's judged wanting – or unwanted. There are, thankfully, more no kill animal shelters popping up, making it impossible to list all of them. What I'm going to do, then, is try to list shelters from all over the country. If you live in another country or know of a no kill shelter near you that isn't mentioned here, please chime in!
1. Northeast Animal Shelter
The Northeast Animal Shelter inspired this post, because it's one of the first no kill animal shelters with which I became intimately acquainted. It's in Salem, MA, right up the road from where I live, and it's a marvelous shelter. It has an active social media network, so people know what animals are available and when new dogs arrive. That's another great thing – they have a fantastic network of volunteers all over the country, and have brought animals from West Virginia, Alabama, and even California. It has to be said, however, that Massachusetts has dozens of fabulous shelters, so no matter where you live in the state – or in nearby New England states – you should be able to find one.
2. Coastal Animal Rescue
South Carolina has a lot of worthy no kill shelters as well, but a friend of mine once worked closely with Coastal Animal Rescue. It's a relatively new shelter, but that's why I'm such a fan. Started in 2007, the people who made this shelter work did so on a shoestring and a prayer. They're all about the animals and all the money they bring in, they say, goes to taking care of the animals. They don't even cage the wonderful animals they keep safe at the shelter.
3. Dane County Humane Society
This shelter is located in Wisconsin, and it's open admission, so they don't turn away any of the animals. Rehabilitation is the number one priority for animals with health or behavioral problems, and the shelter promises to place all those animals in fantastic homes. DCHS also works with the Dane County Friends of Ferals program, which is a really amazing organization itself.
4. Metro Denver Shelter Alliance
The MDSA actually has members in more than twenty five shelters, all of which are dedicated to reducing the rate of euthanasia while improving life and increasing animal mortality. The members believe in total transparency when it comes to their statistics, and they don't judge the animals who come through their doors.
5. ALIVE Rescue
This Chicago based rescue is actually a sustainable one. It doesn't simply save the animals that come there, it protects their rights as well. If an animal cannot be placed right away, it's fully taken care of right at the shelter. They receive physical, medical, and behavioral support, and ALIVE is very involved in increasing awareness in the community.
6. City of San Jose Animal Care & Services
This is a California based shelter, clearly, and it's really phenomenal. This shelter does so many great things. It caught my attention because of its Feral Freedom program, which involves gathering feral cats, spaying or neutering them, and then releasing them again. The cats can live their wild lives without increasing the cat population. This idea actually began in Jacksonville, and it's wonderful to see it spreading.
7. Best Friends Animal Society
Although the flagship is in Utah, you can find Best Friends in Jacksonville, Albuquerque, Los Angeles, and San Antonio, as well as several other cities throughout the US. They have an incredible No More Homeless Pets program, a partnership network that does so much for the homeless pet population. They're very well-known for battling the stereotypes unfairly associated with pit bulls.
8. Austin Pets Alive!
My great-uncle is in his late 70s and still works closely with this shelter. It helped revolutionize the very idea of a no kill shelter, and began with director Dr. Ellen Jefferson saving animals who were on Austin Animal Center's list for imminent euthanasia. The shelter even has a special unit for sick animals. This woman is easily one of my animal-loving heroes.
9. Cause for Paws
Cause for Paws is located in Harpers Ferry, WV, and it's incredibly important to me. Many of my friends and family members from West Virginia either volunteer, contribute, foster, or rescue pets from this shelter. It's a wonderful place in an area where shelters are very necessary.
If you've ever rescued an animal and seen the fear draining from its eyes, you know how important these shelters are. There are a lot of shelters dedicated to breeds, such as dachshunds, pit bulls, and Labs, as well as shelters dedicated to specific species – not just cats and dogs, but horses too, among many others. Do you have a no kill shelter near you? Have you ever rescued an animal from a shelter?