For those who may be new to the No Kill movement, below is an explanation of the No Kill Equation (NKE). The NKE is the only program proven to lead to No Kill success. It involves 11 simple steps, which, when implemented by a shelter, lead to increased live outcome rates and drastic drops in killing.
The NKE has been successfully applied in Reno, Nevada; Tompkins County, New York; Shelby County, Kentucky; Charlottesville, Virginia, and many other communities across the US.
The No Kill Equation works, period. But, it does take hard work, dedication, and a compassionate, innovative leader at the helm. A halfhearted attempt at the programs will NOT be effective. They must all be aggressively implemented in order to reap the lifesaving rewards.
I. Feral Cat TNR Program
Trap Neuter Release (TNR) programs are the only proven effective methods of reducing a feral cat population, and No Kill communities across the country have embraced these tactics as a method of drastically reducing shelter intake and saving lives.
II. High Volume, Low-Cost Spay/Neuter
Low or no-cost, high volume spay/neuter programs are a key component to reducing shelter intake, and become especially effective over time. Reducing intake allows for additional resources to be allocated to other shelter necessities.
III. Rescue Groups
Rescue groups are an invaluable element of the NKE. Any transfer of an animal to a rescue group reduces taxpayer cost for vet care and boarding (or euthanasia), in addition to freeing up a kennel for another animal. A transfer to a legitimate rescue should never be refused by a shelter.
IV. Foster Care
Foster care is an irreplaceable way to drastically expand shelter capacity. Volunteer foster parents provide boarding, food and care for animals, and serve as key advocates for the shelter’s mission. These programs also save the lives of neonatal kittens and other animals who cannot survive in a shelter environment.
V. Comprehensive Pet Adoptions
You CAN adopt your way out of killing, but it takes hard work and innovation. There are 17 million families looking for pets each year, and three to four million killed in shelters. There are more than enough homes for our nation’s homeless pets, but shelters must compete with outside sources of animals – they must offer promotions, adoption specials and implement effective marketing programs to get pets out the door.
VI. Pet Retention
Many of the reasons people surrender their animals are preventable, but shelters must work with the public to help them retain their animals. Through offering advice and assistance to those in need, shelters can reduce intake and keep families together.
VII. Medical and Behavior Rehabilitation
A key part of any shelter’s responsibility is to insure the health & well being of its inhabitants. Animals must be treated for medical conditions and rehabilitated for behavioral issues. This step includes the implementation of proper cleaning, vaccination, evaluation and other protocols.
VIII. Public Relations/Community Involvement
Community support is key to No Kill success. By increasing public exposure for the shelter, the community will get involved, which means more donations, more volunteers, more adoptions and more lifesaving success.
No Kill efforts cannot succeed without volunteers. They expand the shelter’s operational efforts without necessitating additional expense. They are invaluable, and the backbone of any successful shelter.
X. Proactive Redemptions
In Washoe County, Nevada, almost 65% of intake are returned to their owners, demonstrating the high percentage of animals that need only be redeemed. Actively working towards RTO efforts can drastically reduce shelter intake and kill rates.
XI. A Compassionate Director
The number one most important factor in reaching a No Kill community is effective leadership. Unless a shelter’s leader is progressive, compassionate and hard-working, other efforts are likely to fail. The leader dictates the policies & procedures of the organization, and if a leader makes a decision to stop the killing – it will stop.