Every day, more than 4,100 dogs and cats are killed in our nation’s shelters, simply because they don’t have safe places to call home.
Community organizations across the country offer resources to support pet owners with financial, housing or other issues that would cause them to relinquish their pet to a shelter as opposed to keeping their pet at home. For example, a pet owner may not be able to afford the cost of licensing their pet. Another example might be that they are forced to move from their current home and cannot find pet-friendly housing. For both examples, there may be resources in their community that could help. The issue is not “what resources to provide” but “how to get the resources to the people who need them most.”
The top three reasons families give up their animals to the shelter are behavioral issues, medical issues, and lack of pet-friendly housing. When people are unable to provide or afford the proper resources to take care of their animals, shelter and rescue intakes increase, therefore becoming a burden on the animal welfare system.
Even worse, resource deserts exist all over the country. “Resource Deserts” is a term commonly used with human services like healthcare, but also extends to other sectors like animal welfare. In our sector, these areas occur where the pet owners with the highest need for animal resources also have the lowest awareness of, ability to afford or even get transportation to access the resources available. And, once the person decides to bring their pet to a shelter, it is extremely difficult to get them to change their mind, regardless of the resources offered at that time.
When shelters reach overcapacity, shelter killing has been seen as an inevitable and acceptable “necessary evil.” However, all across the country, grass-roots organizations, shelters, animal welfare groups, and local governments are abandoning this necessary evil and seeking permanent, systemic solutions.
Who Can Compete?
The problem of efficient and effective resource distribution is not unique to the animal welfare sector. If you have an idea for how we can solve this problem, you are eligible to compete! We welcome industry experts, non-industry experts, entrepreneurs, students, scientists - anyone, from any country (as allowed by US Law) to compete.
Additionally, if you work in animal welfare and are familiar with the problem we face, we also welcome you to contribute! Have you seen a successful intake reduction program that drastically improved outcomes in your region? Do you have an idea that you wish could be experimented and implemented at your local or regional shelter?
Participation by Best Friends employees is voluntary and must be done outside of work hours. Any winnings received by a Best Friends employee from this challenge is considered taxable income by the IRS.
What is ‘Save Them All’?
Save Them All is Best Friends’ call to action. We believe that together with you, we can end the killing of homeless pets in America’s shelters by 2025.
When Best Friends was founded in 1984, some 17 million dogs and cats died every year in our nation’s shelters. Today, that number is down to about 1.5 million. We believe that by working together, we can reduce that number to zero.
For more than 30 years, Best Friends has been working to end the killing by running innovative grassroots programs, supporting spay/neuter and trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs, promoting shelter adoptions, fighting puppy mills and breed-discriminatory laws, educating the public about animal issues, holding major adoption events, and conducting both large- and small-scale animal rescues.
Additionally, the Best Friends Network brings together more than 2,100 animal welfare organizations across the country to help save as many lives as possible. Together, we won’t stop until we Save Them All.