The No Kill Movement is a commitment to rejecting the killing of healthy and treatable pets for convenience, and implementing a proven 11-step model for saving lives.
It’s a global movement that’s achieving sustainable results in a growing number of communities worldwide, and we’re working tirelessly to encourage Australia’s pounds and shelters to become a part of that life-saving success story.
Why does Australia need to act?
Australians love pets, but sadly, nationwide surveys show that 25% of dogs and 56% of cats who enter Australia’s pounds every year are killed. That makes our pounds the biggest killers of healthy, treatable cats and dogs.
What are the principles of No Kill?
There are 11 principles of No Kill which, when combined, form a highly effective life-saving plan. You can also view and download a larger version of the infographic.
A closer look at these key principles
1. An open-minded director
Buy-in: The most vital component of all
A life-saving plan can only succeed if there’s an open-minded director and Board of Directors who are willing to try new approaches to pound and shelter policies and procedures. Without this, all efforts to implement the other 10 life-saving principles will fail.
2. Rescue Group Partnerships
Partnerships are a lifeline
Pounds and shelters can’t do this alone. They need the support of rescue partners in their community to assist with the rehabilitation and rehoming of pets, not just to reduce the strain on capacity and resources, but to make the rescue and rehoming process as stress-free as possible for all pets. And there are lots of different community partners that will help, such as breed-specific rescue groups and even senior pet rescue groups.
3. Comprehensive Adoption Programs
Make adoption the first option
There’s a shockingly large proportion of healthy and treatable homeless pets who are killed without being offered for adoption to the Australian public. To save lives, pounds and shelters need to actively promote their animals with comprehensive adoption programs that respond to the needs of their local community. This can be as simple as extending public opening hours on weekends and selected week nights to let families and working people view the pets for adoption. It can also include adoption events, incentives and marketing, as well as listing pets on the PetRescue website for free. Apply for PetRescue Membership now.
4. Volunteer Foster Carers
Share the load with foster care
Some pets entering pounds and shelters need treatment or rehabilitation before they can be put up for adoption. But even the most normal, balanced and healthy family pets can get anxious and sick when they enter the pound or shelter system. A foster care program is a low-cost (often no-cost) and humane way of preparing these pets for adoption.
5. High-Volume, Low-Cost Desexing
Desex, desex, desex
Offer it cheap, or offer it free! When desexing services are delivered at high volume and low-cost or even no-cost in communities, stats show a significant decline in the number of pets entering pounds and shelters over time. It’s a win-win for communities, pounds, shelters and (aside from a couple of days of discomfort) pets.
6. Community Cat Desexing Programs
Humane cat management
The reason so many cat management programs fail is simple. They are based on the belief that all cats have owners. The fact is that free roaming cats have been part of our community ecosystems for as long as we’ve lived in cities. Desexing, instead of killing free-roaming cats, is an effective and humane way of controlling cat populations, reducing the number of cats being brought in to shelters and improving the welfare of cats already living in our communities. Read more about humane cat management.
7. Pet Retention
Keep pets where they’re most at home
Often pets are surrendered due to a change in life circumstances and increasingly, pet owners are having difficulty finding and securing pet-friendly rental properties. In these cases, surrenders at pounds and shelters can be avoided by offering advice and assistance that will enable owners to keep their pets. Check out the advice we offer to those looking to rehome their pets.
8. Medical & Behaviour Programs
Keep pets happy, healthy and moving through the system
Some pets entering the pound system are simply underweight, have ringworm or need basic training, while healthy pets entering the pound can easily get infected and sick before they’ve even had a chance to find a home. This is where comprehensive medical and behaviour programs can save lives simply by maintaining good hygiene standards, vaccinating on intake, medicating treatable health problems, and providing basic training and enrichment for behaviour problems.
9. Public Relations / Community Involvement
Engage the advocates
One of the biggest mistakes a pounds or shelter can make is to alienate and shut out their greatest allies – the pet lovers in their communities who can help. Never underestimate the power of positive public relations and an engaged, involved community in saving lives. PR advice and useful resources are available to members of PetRescue.
Vollies are invaluable
Not only do they ease the pressure on limited pound and shelter resources, but more importantly, they make the whole rehabilitation and rehoming process less stressful for pets. Their time and attention keep animals sane and improve behaviour – ultimately making pets more adoptable. PetRescue actively encourages all its subscribers to volunteer at their local pounds, shelters and rescues.
11. Proactive redemptions
Lead the way home
When lost pets are found, every reasonable effort should be made to return pets to their owners and help owners find their pets, without impounding. All pets should be listed online, all registration details should be checked, and all microchips should be scanned to give pets the best chance of finding their way home.
What No Kill is NOT
It’s not about hoarding and keeping animals in cages for life
No Kill is focused on proactive solutions that keep animals moving through the system and on to a better future. It’s all about what you can do to return lost pets home, reduce numbers entering the pound and shelter system, treat and rehabilitate pets through rescue partners and adopt pets into new homes.
It’s not keeping inappropriate animals
No Kill allows for ‘euthanasia’ in the true meaning of the word. It allows for the compassionate ending of an animal’s life, for humane reasons - when animals are too sick, or too damaged to continue to live safely in the community.
The aim of No Kill is to stop the killing of healthy, treatable pets simply for convenience.
It’s not expensive to implement
Many No Kill programs are focused on opening the shelter to community volunteers and rescue groups, and keeping pets out of the pound/shelter system - all of which ultimately SAVES time, and reduces pet holding and care costs.
It’s what pet-loving communities want
Public awareness and expectations have changed a lot in the last decade. Communities want pets to be respected, protected, treated, rehabilitated and given a second chance. No Kill is the aspiration of every pet-loving community.
For more information about how PetRescue can help your pound, shelter, or community take the first steps towards achieving No Kill status, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
How PetRescue is supporting No Kill
We’ve made it our mission to drive the kill rate of healthy, treatable pets to zero by supporting No Kill in our own practice (see our 10-year anniversary No Kill infographic) and by empowering pounds and shelters to implement the proven principles of No Kill in their own life-saving plan.
Support a No Kill Future
PetRescue is a national not-for-profit organisation offering adoption and foster care programs for free, and campaigning tirelessly to drive the killing to zero in Australia. We rely entirely on the financial support of pet-loving donors and corporate partners to operate our services.
Or contact email@example.com to enquire about partnership opportunities.