DOVER, Del. - Delaware is being recognized as the first and only state where each animal shelter is a "no-kill" shelter, according to Best Friends Animal Society.
The nonprofit animal welfare organization announced the designation at a Monday news conference. For a state to be considered "no-kill," it must achieve at least a 90 percent save rate for all cats and dogs entering its shelters, CNN reported.
The organization added, "We recognize that, for some animals, euthanasia is the most compassionate choice."
About 733,000 dogs and cats were killed in U.S. animal shelters last year, according to the Best Friends Animal Society website. The organization aims for every state to be "no-kill" by 2025.
Delaware has a 92.9 percent save rate. The country as a whole, on average, is far behind Delaware, with a save rate of 76.6 percent.
"Delaware put a policy emphasis on animal issues," Holly Sizemore, the chief mission officer of Best Friends Animal Society, told CBS News. "There are some terrific organizations working collaboratively there and the residents care deeply about the issue and have stepped up to help."
Delaware's "no-kill" designation comes, in large part, thanks to the efforts of the Brandywine Valley SPCA, its director of marketing Linda Torelli told USA Today. The shelter takes in and finds home for 60 percent of the state's homeless animals. It also hosts large adoption events, trap/neuter/spay programs for cats that wouldn't otherwise be adoptable, low-cost veterinary clinics, education programs and behavioral programs for dogs.
An interactive map with state-by-state information on shelters can be found on the Best Friends' website.
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