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Delaware animal shelters gain national recognition

Mark Fowser
Delaware Public Media

A leading animal welfare organization rates Delaware as a no-kill state for a fourth year in row.

The Best Friends Animal Society’s pet lifesaving data report offers a national overview of the number of dogs and cats that enter and exit shelters in a given year.

Hannah Stember is with Best Friends Animal Society. She says their sixth annual report found that Delaware saved every dog and cat that entered a shelter in 2021.

"14,153 dogs and cats entered Delaware shelters last year, and all of them were saved. So, in order to sustain that every single year for the past 4 years they have to start at zero again, right. Every year they have to save those animals once again. That means finding homes, finding foster care, working on transport," said Stember.

Stember explains Delaware’s status.

"Of all of the shelters in the state, all of them reached a 90% save rate which is the national recognized benchmark to be considered no kill factoring that approximately 10% of pets who enter shelters have medical or behavioral circumstances that warrant euthanasia rather than killing for lack of space,” said Stember. “So, Delaware saves 100% of all healthy and treatable pets that entered their animal shelters."

Only New Hampshire joins Delaware as states that maintained a no-kill status.

According to Best Friends data, last year was the first time in five years that shelter systems saw a setback in lifesaving as the number of dogs and cats killed in U.S shelters increased from 347,000 to 355,000.

Some of the reasons include staffing shortages that limited hours, decreased in-person volunteers, reduced adoption events and pet care support.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.