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No Kill States

By Susan Tasaki, December 2019, Updated August 2021
rescue dog

Best Friends Animal Society, with its inspiring “Save Them All” agenda, recently declared Delaware to be the nation’s first no-kill state. According to Best Friends, at least 90 percent of the dogs and cats who enter a shelter must leave it alive for the shelter to be considered “no-kill.”

In Delaware, the statewide average is 92.9 percent, and some of the state’s shelters—such as Brandywine Valley SPCA—achieve even higher rates. Brandywine rehomed, adopted out or otherwise provided safe haven for 95 percent of the 14,000 dogs and cats it took in last year. Best Friends’ bold goal is for the U.S. to become “No Kill Nation” by 2025. To find out where your state stands, visit


Photo by RK Jajoria from Pexels

Susan Tasaki, a freelance editor and writer, lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her Husky, who wishes they both got out more.