The animal shelter system across Michigan has achieved a “no kill” status - meaning 90% of dogs and cats who go to shelters come out alive.
Michigan is the second state to receive the status. Delaware announced it achieved no kill status in August.
Deborah Schutt is chair of the Michigan Pet Fund Alliance. She pointed out that while Delaware has 3 shelters Michigan has 174.
“Shelters have tremendously caught on with the life affirming direction,” Schutt said. “Unfortunately it is a relatively new way of thinking.”
Instead of being euthanized, cats and dogs are sent back to owners, other shelters, or are put up for adoption.
No kill status does not mean that shelters won’t euthanize. Schutt says the reason for the 90% benchmark is so that shelters have the option of usuing euthanasia in cases where it is the most humane thing to do.
“So if an animal is not healthy or treatable,” Schutt said. “If an animal cannot be rehabilitated than euthinasia is a solution.”
Schutt said when the organization began tracking kill rates in 2009 Michigan was in the 50-60% range. That means roughly 125,000 animals were being killed in shelters every year.