Building a No Kill Kansas City, Part I

Building a No Kill Kansas City, Part I

A couple weeks ago, Animal Haven, the largest No-kill shelter in the Kansas City metro, met with the public to talk about their vision for moving Kansas City toward being a No-Kill community.

“What it means is there will be a home for every animal,” explained Dr. Sheila Dodson. “We want to eliminate all the euthanasia of animals in shelters just because there is no space. So we want to be able to provide homes for all the animals that are homeless”.

Animal Haven has done just that.  They handle all sheltering responsibilities for 11 Johnson County (KS) communities. In spite of a lot of elements working against them including an old (tiny) shelter and many laws that make their jobs a lot harder. And yet, in spite of that, they have become virtually no-kill for the communities they serve.

In 2008, Animal Haven took in 3,695 animals.  Of those:

2,117 were adopted (a 31% increase over 2007)

1074 were reclaimed

222 were transferred to other shelters or rescue groups (217% increase)

282 were euthanized for behavioral or health  reasons (a 44%% decrease)

Not only are they adopting out more animals - -they are also completely open admission to everyone in the communities they serve - -they also now have the resources to treat animals with most health problems. They are now treating all animals with the exceptions of several forms of untreatable cancers.

They’ve done it in part to great leadership, and a strong volunteer group. In total, AH has 583 volunteers that served 8,377 hours of service time last year. 

Animal Haven is a part of a growing coalition in the Kansas city area that has a goal of making the entire Kansas City metro a no-kill community by 2012.

“How do you take 30 cities in 2 stats and make them all No-Kill?” asked AH executive director Brendan Wiley. 

On Animal Haven’s part, they are working on adopting out more animals. They have plans to move from their current 4,800 square foot facility into a new facility that would be 70,000 square feet. You read those numbers right. The goal is to not only make the facility larger and able to hold more animals (so space isn’t so limited), but to also create more areas where the space will be more inviting for potential adoptors.

While Animal Haven (and a host of other rescue organizations) works on adoptions, other organizations likeSpay/Neuter Kansas City and No More Homeless Pets KC are working on low cost/no cost spay/neuter and Trap, Neuter, Release policies. Meanwhile, my group at Kansas City Dog Advocates, is working on the legislative issues that will make achieving no-kill possible.

Read Building a No Kill Kansas City, Part II

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