On August 9, 2023

Vt animal shelters named ‘no kill’  

 

By Katy Savage

Vermont’s animal shelters have achieved a “no-kill” status for the first time.

The status comes from Best Friends Animal Society, a Utah-based  national nonprofit animal welfare organization. To achieve that status, all shelters in the state have to have at least a 90% save rate for animals. 

“That’s a tremendous achievement,” said Audrey Lodato, a regional director for Best Friends.

Rutland County Humane Society was the final shelter in the state to join the list in 2022.

Rutland County Executive Director Beth Saradarian and her team started working to achieve the “no-kill” status in 2020 with the help of Best Friends. 

The organization awarded Rutland County a $5,000 grant to hire a dog trainer and assist dogs with behavioral issues. 

“We’ve gotten over the 90% hump,” Saradarian said. “We did a lot of work around adoptions and speeding up that process and a lot of work around medical care.” 

Rutland County had been very close to achieving the 90% no kill rate. Last year, they were at about 87% for cats and 95% for dogs. 

“We’re definitely in the right place and have changed some of the processes,” Saradarian said.  

Rutland County currently has about 20 dogs available for adoption and 70 cats. Saradarian expects they’ll be able to maintain the status if the rate of adoption remains. 

“We’re really happy to be there,” Saradarian said. “It’s nice to tweak a couple things here and there.”

The Best Friends annual report from 2022 lists Vermont among three states to achieve the status, along with Delaware and New Hampshire. 

Vermont currently has a 92% save rate. Lodato credited the state’s strong spay and neuter program with some of the success along with Rutland County’s efforts the past couple years.  

“They worked so hard it’s really a very celebratory thing for them,” Lodato said.  

Lodato said Rhode Island is also close to joining the list of no-kill states. She acknowledged that, “no matter how hard we try and how hard we do, there are going to be animals that are too sick to be saved or too behaviorally unsound.”

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