Dog News

Achieving Zero Kill Status Is Closer Than You Think

by Katherine

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Did you know the smallest state in the nation, New Hampshire, has reduced their euthanasia rate to zero? Your state could be next!

Since 1994 a group of animal lovers and activists, including attorney and activists Peter Marsh have lead the state of New Hampshire to this victory. They came up with a plan, which consisted of implementing low-income, low-cost spay/neuter programs, a well-designed and well-funded program, public education and outreach programs, and a marketing plan to inform the public of the different ways the state government is willing to help and get the pet overpopulation problem under control.

Photo Credit: James Barker/
Photo Credit: James Barker/

Marsh, director of Shelter Overpopulation Solutions (STOP), wrote the book “Getting To Zero: A Roadmap To Ending Animal Shelter Overpopulation In The United States” (free download). This book takes a look at the commonly-held beliefs of why pet overpopulation exists; lessons to apply in order to come up with more effective shelter overpopulation programs; what can be done to end overpopulation throughout the country; and the new humane ethic that has emerged and the work that will remain after shelters no longer put animals to death just to make room for more homeless animals.

STOP knew that if New Hampshire wanted to become a no-kill state it needed to reduce the number of pets who entered shelters and increase the number of animals who left alive. The state set up a toll free information line and distributed brochures and posters to promote its pet overpopulation solution program. The entire state worked as one unit to achieve the zero kill rate and in 1999 the goal was reached.

There are some animals that are put down due to illnesses or aggression, but since the year 2000, not one single animal has been euthanized simply to make more room for new homeless pets.

What can we do to make the entire nation a no-kill nation? All states should follow New Hampshire’s example. Let’s start by participating in STOP’s nationwide public awareness campaign and take advantage of the training and assistance programs set in place for animal advocacy groups. These secure enough funding to subsidize spay and neuter programs.

Learn more about what your state can do to become a no kill state by visiting STOP, reading Marsh’s book, or other case studies on successful methods to end pet overpopulation issues.