As Best Friends–Utah works to help the entire state become no-kill, one thing is evident: 2017 is already shaping up as one of the most exciting years yet for Utah’s animals.
Last year, Best Friends–Utah completed renovations on the Pet Adoption Center in Salt Lake City, making it an interactive space that is warm and welcoming for both pets and people. And this year, Best Friends-Utah will continue to be at the forefront of the no-kill movement thanks in part to its partnership with No Kill Utah (NKUT), programs and events that engage the community, and through its many live-saving initiatives.
Learn what Arlyn Bradshaw, executive director, Best Friends–Utah programs, is most excited for in 2017 and what his team is doing every each day to make a difference in the lives of our animals. We hope you’ll join us in Saving Them All.
What are the biggest challenges to achieving no-kill in your community?
Arlyn Bradshaw: Ultimately, our biggest challenge is saving our feline friends. Nearly every shelter in the state of Utah is no-kill for dogs, which has resulted in a 94 percent statewide dog save rate. Cats, unfortunately, are not in quite as good of a position.
Our effort in Utah is statewide. Dozens of communities across the state have already achieved no-kill. Now, we are focused on ensuring the entire state is no-kill by 2019.
Right now, we face a lack of options for community cats in some areas. Many shelters are unable to care for underage kittens and are too far away to get help from the Best Friends Kitten Nursery in Salt Lake City . In order to address this, we will continue to expand spay/neuter options for the community, and work with local communities to implement trap-neuter-return (TNR) programming.
Looking back on 2016, what were some of your most successful programs and biggest "wins?"
Arlyn Bradshaw: Last year we continued to see exciting progress for our statewide no-kill efforts. Our pet adoption center in Salt Lake City surpassed 5,000 adoptions only three years after it opened. Our kitten nursery has continued to ensure that three of the state’s largest shelters ― Salt Lake County, West Valley City, and Davis County ― maintained their no-kill status.
We were particularly excited to enter into a formal agreement with Weber County Animal Services, another of the state’s largest shelters, to work together on programming to help them take the final steps to becoming no-kill. This will focus largely on community cat work in the areas served by the shelter, as well as No-Kill Utah (NKUT) Coalition support for underage kittens brought to the shelter.
What are you most excited for in 2017?
Arlyn Bradshaw: We are excited that our Ogden spay/neuter clinic is now fully operational. After having limited operation in 2016, we are now open full-time to support the Weber and Davis County shelters, our NKUT Coalition members, community cat programs and low-income families. The clinic will play a crucial role in helping us reduce the number of pets entering shelters across northern Utah.
We are also looking forward this year to our expanding work with the two large shelters in Utah County. The South Utah Valley Animal Shelter, an official partner for two years now, and recently had a leadership change. We are looking forward to further assisting this shelter with cat adoptions, as well as providing support for their underage kittens. Additionally, we are excited to again be working with the North Utah Valley Animal Shelter.
Also, we have been asked to participate in a rescue group advisory committee that is helping the shelter make changes in standards of care, and to build stronger connections with our NKUT Coalition members.
What ways can people get involved to help Best Friends help save animals in 2017?
Arlyn Bradshaw: We always ask that people take our calls to action to heart: Adopt, volunteer, spay/neuter and donate. If every community’s residents do these things, they will achieve no-kill.
We know this formula works because we have seen it be successful in the state’s largest municipal shelters, rural shelters and private shelters. It is important for everyone here who cares about the animals to engage their local shelter or NKUT Coalition member.
Working toward no-kill in Utah
Things are looking bright for pets in Utah, as communities across the state commit to achieving no-kill. We’ve come so far, yet there’s still a long way to go to ensure that no more pets are killed in a shelter simply because they don’t have a safe place to call home. But together, we can Save Them All.