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Governor Cox declares the State of Utah will become No-Kill in 2024

On Tuesday, Governor Spencer Cox declared 2024 as No- Kill Shelter Year in Utah in an event at the state capitol attended by more than 70 supporters, several enthusiastic dogs and even a kitten. The unique declaration demonstrates that the state of Utah is working diligently to make Utah not only the first no-kill state in the west, but also the largest no-kill state in the country.


Photo by Jaimi Haig.

“I am supportive of Utah working to become a no-kill state,” said Gov. Cox. “We know that when residents of our great state come together for a cause they believe in, they can achieve so much. I fully support Utahns stepping up by adopting and fostering animals in their local communities.”

Event speakers included Brittany Mc- Cabe, Shelter Manager for the Cedar City Animal Adoption Center and Talia Butler, Director, Salt Lake County Animal Services, both managing municipal shelters that have achieved no-kill as well as representatives of Best Friends Animal Society. Butler shared the news that Salt Lake County is celebrating more than 10 years as a no-kill shelter and offered other mentorship and support to other Utah communities.


“Utah is on the cusp of achieving no-kill and Governor Cox’s declaration gives the movement an extra push to achieve this momentous accomplishment in 2024,” said Julie Castle, CEO, Best Friends Animal Society. “Forty years ago, Best Friends made Utah its home state with the Best Friends Animal Society Sanctuary in Kanab. Now, in 2024, it just makes sense for no-kill to be on the horizon for the Beehive State.”



According to Best Friends, no-kill is defined as saving every dog or cat in a shelter who can be saved. Community safety and good quality of life for pets are guiding principles of the no-kill philosophy and are attainable when animal welfare professionals engage in best practices and protocols. Recent data from Best Friends shows that 46 out of 58, or 79 percent, of shelters in Utah have reached no-kill status and only 12 shelters have yet to reach no-kill. Chief Sanctuary Officer Judah Battista noted that locally, Kanab City Police (who operate animal control) and Best Friends have collaborated to keep Kane County no-kill since around 2008. And since that original partnership was formed, Best Friends local community partnerships have extended to include Fredonia, Hilldale and Colorado City, in addition to their work across the state and the nation.


Several of the speakers emphasized that individuals can help save lives across our state by choosing to adopt from a shelter or rescue group instead of purchasing from a breeder or store, foster kittens or an adult dog, or volunteer, to support proven lifesaving programming for pets.

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