A little about No Kill

No Kill knows shelters can save every healthy or treatable homeless pet.  Over the past few decades, shelters have improved and s mall but rapidly growing number of shelters now save more than 90% of all pets.  Some are saving over 95% and some save over 98% consistently.


No Kill separates the words “Kill” and “Euthanasia”.  Euthanasia has a dictionary definition:

“the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.”

So Euthanasia does not fit that when you kill a pet for the simple lack of a home because a shelter “Has too many” or that there is a subjective opinion that a homeless pet is “unadoptable”.  We don’t even understand how to define unadoptable.  It is not a word we use in the No Kill movement.

So, no animal is killed in a No Kill shelter, but a very small number may be euthanized if they fit the definition above.

Even this gray area gets smaller as sanctuary and hospice become more available.

We do understand the choice of euthanasia for an animal that is untreatable and irremediably suffering.  We define “Irremediable suffering” as an animal who has a poor or grave prognosis for being able to live without severe, unremitting physical pain even with prompt, necessary, and comprehensive veterinary care.

This even includes the rare pet that is irredeemably aggressive, where professional trainers or behaviorists have tried and could not find a way to change the pet’s behavior.  These are the very rare candidates for euthanasia. 

Why we talk about shelters and try to get them to change

For this reason, shelters are criticized for their lack of saving every healthy or treatable pet by some advocates, and we would have to agree.

We know shelters can get to 90% save rate virtually overnight.  But that is not what No Kill is.  It is saving EVERY healthy or treatable pet.  The number is kind of irrelevant.

In the vast majority of shelters where they are not saving over 90% on an annual basis, we know there is almost no possibility animals that were killed were all euthanized. 


Generally, it is the leadership that stops a shelter from becoming the best it can be.  Volunteers are the opposite, they are virtually never the issue.  Volunteers are the lifeblood of every animal welfare organization.

In 2015 Colorado adopted out of 100,000 homeless pets and it was a great milestone for No Kill.  But it is of little consequence to the near 20,000 that were killed. Some of these were probably euthanized according to our definition, but we are certain more than half were killed for the simple lack of a home.

You can't say its impossible if it exists

No Kill shelters can be open or limited admission, they exist in poor and affluent communities, north and south, red and blue states.  Any community and shelter can do this.  There is no excuse for a shelter to save every healthy or treatable pet.  Using the Open Admission argument is a diversionary tactic, there are many open admission No Kill shelters and communities.  You cannot say it is impossible if it already exists.

No Kill Equation

The No Kill Equation is proven to change communities when implemented comprehensively with the help of a good leader.  Shelters with many challenges and little resources have succeeded with it.

Reach Out

Please feel free to ask any questions of us and we will do our best to answer them.  We would like to recommend that you read some things to understand No Kill and what we are about.  There are some very misguided ideas about who we are.  No Kill is about love, and the more you learn about us, I think you will see that our goal is very simple: to save every healthy, treatable homeless pet.

And No Kill Colorado’s mission is to make Colorado the Safest Place for Homeless pets.


Please look at the following links:

No Kill Advocacy’s Toolkit

No Kill Learning

Nathan Winograd’s book called Redemption.

We welcome the opportunity to talk to lifesavers about our organization and mission.


These are not necessarily No Kill Shelters, but that doesn’t matter if you are a homeless pet. 

Don’t Shop, Please Adopt.