DALLAS — Dallas-based The Meadows Foundation has awarded national animal welfare organization Best Friends Animal Society $100,000 to deepen its work across Texas with local animal shelters to sustain and expand no-kill practices.
“Momentum for increased lifesaving and no-kill is building across Texas, but there is still so much to do—and Best Friends has proven solutions to fix this problem. With help from The Meadows Foundation, Best Friends and our 250-plus partnering organizations across this state can keep fighting for the lives of companion animals and make Texas a no-kill state by 2025,” said Lee Ann Shenefiel, director, South Central Region, Best Friends Animal Society.
No-kill is defined as saving every dog and cat in a shelter who can be saved. A 90% save rate for the animals entering a shelter is the common-sense benchmark for measuring lifesaving progress and considering a shelter no kill. Typically, the number of pets who are suffering from irreparable medical or behavioral issues that compromise their quality of life and prevent them from being rehomed is not more than 10% of all pets entering shelters.
The grant will be used by Best Friends to provide training, coaching, and mentoring to partnering Texas animal shelters. The ambitious goals of the grant include adding shelter partners, improving lifesaving outcomes and increasing the number of shelters across Texas with no-kill status.
“The Meadows Foundation has made incredible investments in Texas’ pets, and we at Best Friends are especially grateful for the foundation’s work through The Companion Animal Funders Coalition. What a difference The Meadows Foundation has made for the city of Dallas through the Big Fix for Big D. Dallas is a stellar example of the power of collaboration between city, public, and funding organizations and this generous grant will help Best Friends work with other Texas communities to replicate that success,” Shenefiel said.
In 2019 Best Friends launched the pet lifesaving dashboard, an award-winning data visualization tool that recently garnered Best Friends a spot in Fast Company’s list of most innovative companies in the world for data science. Best Friends’ pet livesaving dashboard provides comprehensive “noses in and noses out” information to the public right down to the shelter level and shows how many animals are entering and leaving U.S. shelter systems regardless of category (healthy, treatable, owner requested euthanasia, etc.). Just simply, how many animals entered a shelter and how many left a shelter alive.
“Through this work, we know that Texas is second only to California for the number of pets killed in shelters, with approximately 96,700 dogs and cats killed in the state in 2019. In 2016, we estimated that more than 220,000 cats and dogs were killed in Texas; meaning the killing has been reduced by 56% in just three years, demonstrating increased lifesaving across the state and more accurate data. Now, Dallas and El Paso are within just a few percentage points of a 90% save rate,” Shenefiel said.
“Because of our data collection efforts, we knew that the lifesaving gaps in Texas were not limited to large metropolitan areas. In 2018, Palm Valley Animal Center (now Palm Valley Animal Society) in the Rio Grande Valley had a save rate of 50% and killed more than 15,000 dogs and cats. This was already a big increase in lifesaving from the year before thanks, in part, to the investment The Meadows Foundation made in the organization to support their new facility,” Shenefiel said. “We began working with them to support leadership, operational, and programmatic shifts to save even more lives and create sustainable systemwide change. We provided coaching and in-depth mentoring, even embedding Best Friends staff into the shelter with help from Maddie’s Fund®. Since we began working with them three years ago, and since investing the time of more than 50 experts to help turn the ship, PVAS has achieved the no-kill benchmark of a 91.6% save rate for several months in 2020.”
Shenefiel concluded “Combining direct animal service training, coaching, and mentoring with community engagement and legislative action — has had astonishing success in several Texas cities such as Dallas, El Paso, Houston, Palm Valley, and Harlingen. We know no-kill in every shelter and every community is possible with the resources needed to sustain and scale our work through these challenging times. Through a partnership with the Meadows Foundation, Best Friends will be able to engage with and provide lifesaving resources to more shelters and communities across Texas.”
About Best Friends Animal Society®
Best Friends Animal Society is a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters by 2025. Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer in the no-kill movement and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from an estimated 17 million per year to around 625,000. Best Friends runs lifesaving programs all across the country, as well as the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary. Working collaboratively with a network of more than 3,200 animal welfare and shelter partners, and community members nationwide, Best Friends is working to Save Them All®. For more information, visit bestfriends.org.
Submitted press release, edited for publication in Blue Ribbon News.
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