Delaware Becomes First "No-Kill" State in U.S.

The certification recognizes a 90% rescue rate for dogs and cats in Delaware shelters.

Delaware has been certified as the first "no-kill state" in the United States for animals that enter shelters.

The Best Friends Animals Society announced that Delaware had reached certification, as at least 90 percent of dogs and cats entering shelters in 2018 were rescued.

In Delaware, 11,900 animals were saved out of 12,800 that entered shelters. But nationwide, the numbers are more troubling. According to Best Friends Animals Society, more than 733,000 dogs and cats were killed in shelters last year, which is more than 2,000 every day. Just 76.6 percent of animals in U.S. shelters are rescued.

States including California, Texas, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina lag behind in helping Best Friends reach its stated goal of having every state certified as "no-kill" by 2025. This is typically due to a lack of resources and/or overcrowding in shelters.

You can click here for an interactive version of the map, to identify no-kill shelters and rescue rates in your community.

The Best Friends Animal Society sets the benchmark for no-kill shelters at 90 percent, recognizing that euthanasia is sometimes the most compassionate choice for an animal. These circumstances include ending the life of an animal to end irremediable suffering, or when the animal is too dangerous to rehabilitate and safely place in the community.

Best Friends says the top two things you can do to help your community are adopting, rather than shopping for your pets, and by having your pets spayed and neutered to prevent overpopulation.

For more information on Best Friends' no-kill mission, you can click here .

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