What does "No Kill" Shelter Mean?

When adopting a dog, some terminology can be confusing. I know before I adopted my precious pup, I did not completely understand what it meant to be a “no kill” organization, as opposed to a traditional shelter. 

For instance, I initially believed that “no kill” groups did not euthanize under any circumstances. However, an organization can be deemed “no kill” as long as it has a save rate of 90%. This means that 10% of animals can be euthanized at these facilities. It is important to note that the animals put down have either severe health or behavioral issues that drastically decrease their quality of life. 

Another important distinction is that, unlike traditional shelters, “no kill” organizations choose which animals can stay in their facilities. According to The Daytona Beach News-Journal, “no kill” groups “may turn away” an animal if they “are too old, too sick, too mean or ‘not adoptable.’” The publication noted that this could be an issue as the animal may become homeless and reproduce, which contributes to the overpopulation of traditional shelters. 

Now, traditional shelters usually welcome all animals brought to their facilities. However, due to limited funding, resources, and space, animals are euthanized at a higher rate. 

While many dog-lovers have strong opinions about “no kill” versus traditional shelters, it is ultimately your decision where you choose to adopt. Also, you can help reduce animal homelessness and euthanasia rates by getting your dog spayed or neutered. 


Leave a comment