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« There is not need to reinvent the wheel with mandatory spay/neuter | Main | Roverlution on Sautrday, 10/23 »

October 19, 2010



"Because of the huge increase in adoptions, the shelter has not killed a healthy, adoptable dog or cat since May 1st."

So I guess in PETA-speak this means they now officially qualify as hoarders who like to torture pets.


Congrats on the article!

This is yet another example of "taking the mountain to Mohammed". Community outreach is very important!


"healthy, adoptable"...what is their overall kill rate tho? Regardless the success is GREAT! But if you're counting dogs with long toenails "unhealthy" then you can still have a kill rate of 50%.


MichellD, that is my question too. Ft. Worth is a fairly large city, I'm finding it a little hard to believe that opening just one more adoption center could cause them to not kill any "healthy" animals unless that definition was narrowed quite a bit, as we know shelters are prone to do. It could happen, and I hope that it is, but color me skeptical.

Just wondering if anyone has raw statistics from this shelter to get a true idea of what is really happening?


I'll confess that the numbers I'm getting are from Petsmart Charities and not the actual shelter numbers. I do think it's fair to ask the questions about whether or not they are truly no kill.

Regardless of the actual no kill status, it is a tremendous success story in increasing adoptions (I do believe the adoption numbers to be completely true). I think it is very important that shelters, et al are truthful about their kill numbers, because if we don't know exactly what the problems are, we will never be able to fix them.


At the very least, they're LESS kill than before, which is a huge step in the right direction. What this did was prove this can WORK. If they're not no kill now, opening more "retail" places for adoption in the area may lead to even MORE adoptions and may make them no-kill fairly quickly.


I adopted a puppy and adult cat from Petsmart. I went in to buy cat litter and the shelter was having an adoption event. The first thing I saw walking in was the puppy. I'd been planning on adopting a dog, just hadn't gotten around to it yet. It was love at first site. Fate. Karma. While taking him for obedience classes, I fell in love with another cat that the shelter had in the cat room that they permanently maintain at the store. It's a great idea and one that works.

Roberta Beach

This is wonderful particularly in light of Prop B here in MO. Whether or not Prop B passes, to my mind, those in support need to be ready to roll up their sleeves and open up as foster homes and volunteers to the shelters who will be inundated w/dogs needing to learn what it is like to be a dog.
I have been searching for a means to better showcase my adult and senior hounds - and here may be a good means to do it. I am a no-kill already but, to me, that limits those I cannot save. It can be done!! I read all 3 articles and am looking forward to the magazine coming out. Thanks again!

Thomas Cole

Thanks for helping get such good exposure for creative ideas like this and for no-kill sheltering, in general. Great work!

May I be so bold (and a bit self-serving!) as to steer you to my own quiet little blog to show you and your readers an even better way to "retail" shelter animals?

This new model builds on the No Kill Equation, utilizes the shelter building, but simply refocuses the attitude. To reflect that change the "shelter" now becomes an adoption center. It's marketing driven, not housing driven.

Read the blog and it will make perfect sense. I know you will love it. Thanks so much for your work, Brent!

Here's the link =


Just out of curiosity, what was the fact-checking process on this story? Were statistics ever requested? If so, did you request them yourself as "open record" requests, or request them directly from the shelter? The figures that I have from June of 2010 to current, do not bear out the same success that Fort Worth "claims" , although I can say there is some improvement in the save numbers, but they are still dismal, around 36% according to my calculations. Impounded - 4,335 Killed - 2716 Any progress is fabulous and to be congratulated and heartily supported, but I'm still skeptical about the "no healthy or adoptable animal" being killed at FWAS. If you have reliable statistics for that time frame, I would be interested in the source. And for the record, the most successful shelters utilize off-site adoptions...and it is a very important piece of the solution to killing in our shelters. So I'm thrilled that FWAS has partnered with PetsMart to facilitate finding homes for their impounded animals. I'm just a bit wary of the incredible success from such a dismally performing shelter just months ago. I would like an independent confirmation of their numbers. Either that, or provide a copy of the guidelines for defining "healthy and adoptable". Notice, they provided NO statistics, just the what does FWAS define as "healthy and adoptable"?


Never mind, Brent...I just saw your previous reply to this question. Those are the PetsMart numbers. That was VERY misleading on the Oprah show...and it's VERY misleading in the article written on the show. So yes, the shelter is still DISMAL...36% save rate. And I guess what PetsMart is saying that every animal that goes to an adoption event is being placed. That's great...but that has NOTHING to do with the shelter's numbers...other than it proves off-site adoptions WORK!



As noted earlier in the comments, I fully admit that that statement didn't come from the shelter itself, but in an email from someone within Petsmart Charities. And yes, I will be doing some followup on this to get the actual numbers.

I really wasn't as concerned about that statement as I was about the amazing adoption success from the retail location. I think this is a great model that other shelters can follow to increase adoptions. And while there are a large number of shelters that do a lot of offsite adoptions, there are also still way too many that sit in their warehouse buildings in a bad part of town with 10-5 M-F hours and then complain that they have to kill all of the animals there because no one will adopt them.

They don't have to. There are better ways.

But I do plan to follow-up with the numbers later on.

Suzette Watkins

I am here to tell you that Fort Worth Animal Shelter is not a 'No Kill' shelter! Whoever started that rumor was sorely mis-informed and should be exposed. If it was a city employee, they should be publically questioned. About a week ago, I sat in the office of the Fort Worth Shelter Director, Manager or whatever his title is and he looked me in the eye and said, "No Kill doesn't work, even HSUS and others are against it because....." However, it isn't all his fault, that's what 'city leaders' are suppose to do....lead! Where is Ft. Worth City Council on this? It is their job to look after all city departments. Where have they been? They ALL should be exposed on the animal issues! Fort Worth's Animal Control budget is above $3M. I'd like to see Fort Worth go in direction of Austin, not Dallas!

Jack Carone

It's just silly to say that No-Kill doesn't work, since it is already working where leadership and community has the will to do the work of implementing proven programs. It can work in Ft. Worth as well, but with a shelter director who is committed to the idea that it can't, the animals don't have a chance. This person needs to change or go. There is plenty of information available that spells out just how other cities have accomplished this. Ft Worth leadership needs to get on the boat or jump off and let another captain sail the ship, for the sake of the animals and the humans who care about them.


This is FANTASTIC. I have been thinkng for a year that if i had the Money I would open a 10,000 or more sq ft building an set up a complete pet sotre adopting out shelter dogs!!!
Put petland out of business!
Praise God you all making headway. I am going to read more when i get time to see how I can help. Thank you!


I agree with Brent - off site adoptions work, and any effort at all is better than doing nothing.

Around here, "No Kill" has turned into yet another fund-raising buzzword. Shelters have become "No Kill" by not taking in animals, or at least not taking in anything that might be difficult to adopt. (They should try that with health care - keep those annoying sick people out of the hospitals!).

If you have a dog you need to put in a shelter, good luck! There is even one taxpayer supported city shelter that is putting people on a waiting list! HUH? Sorry, you have to take those animals, no matter what - even if you have to put them in crates in the Mayor's office. The shelter is NOT full but they're telling people they're full, hoping they'll do something else with the pet and keep their euth numbers looking good.

Roberta - If Prop B passes in Missouri all those "unsocialized, unhealthy, puppy mill dogs that don't get any food, water, or vet care, have been pooping and peeing on top of each other, and haven't seen the light of day or human contact since the Bush administration" will suddenly become "cute little socialized, healthy, fuzzy, EXPENSIVE dogs when they end up at the Missouri Humane Societies and in shelters that aren't accepting owner turn-ins because they are "no kill".

Then Jackie can sell them in her 10,000 square foot pet store - which is perfectly okay. It's just not okay for Petland to sell them. :-) Clearly we should just skip the middle man - require commercial breeders to just send their puppies directly to humane societies, shelters, and rescues. It would sure save a lot of time and trouble.

Robert Garnett

While I believe that the "No Kill Equation" will work when continuously and consistently applied,I do think that some shelters claiming "No Kill" are using a bit of smoke and mirrors to get out from under the microscope and to maintain funding.By definition a shelter must save over 90% of all animals that enter their shelter no categorizing to fudge numbers.Statics s/b compared for each year for the total number of animals entering the shelter and reasons given for any changes. Comparisons from one year to the next on the number of TNR surgeries No/Low cost S/N surgeries and how this affects surrenders.Comparisons on numbers of off site events,number of foster homes, number of dogs receiving behavioural rehab from one year to the next. What program that are set up to help people to keep their animals and not use this as a front for "Limited admission".In order to satisfy the skeptics, the no kill movement must detail these stats for some of their most successful location to provide a blue print for shelters leaning toward becoming "No Kill".The movement should make every effort to supply these numbers to address once and for ever this mist that is detouring the movements progress.


Again, there is misconception about the term "No-Kill". No-Kill (Capital letters) is NOT selective admission. That is no-kill (lower case letters) is is predicated on a zero-kill reality. No-Kill is based on no HEALTHY/ADOPTABLE animal being killed in an OPEN-ADMISSION shelter environment. Private shelters can do what they wish, and I know a lot of zero-kill private shelters that are overwhelmed with animals, even being selective. That is NOT No-Kill...that is zero-kill warehousing. The reason that No-Kill recognizes a 90% placement rate as a "target", is because not all animals coming into open-admission shelters (those having to ACCEPT ALL animals which are surrendered to it...) are "adoptable". Some will be too sick, or too injured. is important to note that roughly 14% of the animals euthanized at my local open-admission shelter, we euthanized at the OWNER'S REQUEST. Not only are open-admission shelters charged with the care of loose, roaming, surrendered animals, they also provide voluntary euthanasia for those citizens that cannot afford it privately. Many citizens DO take their elderly, or their very sick, or very injured animals to the shelter for euthanasia at a modest cost.'s unrealistic to ever have zero killing at a shelter...there are legitimate reasons for euthanasia...not the least of which is a service for the local residents. What No-Kill proposes, is that the far majority of animals are adoptable. 90% or more is their stated goal.

Limited, selective admission IS NOT NO-KILL. It is limited, selective admission. NO-Kill in the NCAC definition, must occur in OPEN-admission shelters. Those that keep equating it with zero-kill initiatives in private shelters, are in error, and must stop defining it in those terms. Yes, those shelters "do" exist...but they are not NO-Kill...they are ZERO-Kill. And as correctly pointed out...ZERO kill does NOT work.


As for Prop B, consider that the maximum number of intact dogs to be allowed is 50. There are roughly 1500 breeding facilities which are USDA licensed within the state. 98% have passed their last inspections. Some have as many as 500 animals. So where will all the animals over the "limit" go? Realistically? There is NO plan in place for those animals over the limit. And even though these animals may not be in the conditions that you yourself might keep a spoiled and cherished pet, if they have passed inspection, the animals at the least, have sufficient water, food, shelter, and medical care. The sad reality is that those dogs determined to be "over the limit" have few options. If taken to local shelters, the vast majority will be euthanized. Local rescues will not be able to handle the Tsunami of needy dogs...and will only be able to assist a precious few. There is NO contingency plan in place for the FLOOD of animals that will be left homeless in the wake of this legislation. Meaning, most will meet a needle. And while I do believe that there are breeding operations in which animals do suffer, and are neglected, and the owners guilty of cruelty, I don't believe that applies to each and every one. And without any consideration as to what will happen to the thousands of dogs that will be left homeless because of this legislation, is beyond logic. This legislation, will in fact, be a state-wide seizure of every licensed breeding operation. 1500 kennels will have hundreds of dogs over the limit, which will be affected by, but not PROTECTED by, this legislation. And which will have little, if any, effect, on non-licensed operations. This very important consideration was, in fact, never considered. There will be a bloodbath of animals being killed if this legislation passes. I guess THOSE lives are not valuable. The cure is worse than the disease, in this case.


Missouri has 1462 licensed kennels. I've heard either one-third or one-half of the kennels have more than 50 dogs. I forget which number is correct. I'll find out.

Nobody around here in Missouri euthanizes Toys and small dogs, especially purebreds, unless they're 100 years old and/or terminally ill. They're worth WAY too much money. The local public shelters have silent auctions or lottery drawings when small dogs turn up in their shelters. I saw three different families nearly get into a fistfight over a Boston Terrier one time at a public shelter! And, it's amazing - quite often, when a small or Toy dog becomes available for adoption after the five day holding period, a rescue person goes to the shelter only to find out the dog mysteriously "died" of parvo (translation - a shelter worker adopted it out to a friend or relative).

Perhaps the average local shelter can't handle a large influx of small and Toy breeds, but the Missouri Humane Society and Wayside Waifs sure can. The Missouri Humane Society has donated over 100K to the Vote Yes! on Prop B campaign committee. They have FOUR facilities in the St. Louis area - one in the Chesterfield Valley, one in Maryland Heights at Westport, the original shelter on Macklind Road, and the farm in Union, MO for farm animals. Think they won't be stacking those little yappers in crates out at the farm? Sure they will!

I contend the confiscated or turned-in cute Toy breeds will get sold for big money to private shelters in other parts of the country that have to import small dogs into their shelters to meet demand (usually New England, the northesast in general, the Pacific Northwest, and parts of California).

Those shelters will then, in turn, sell them to the public for even more money.

Verjean, I'm not disagreeing totally with what you've written, except I don't expect a bloodbath. I look for some "puppy mill dogs" to suddenly transform into Cash Cows. Now, it's possible that less than desirable dogs may be euthanized to make way for the more lucrative "puppy mill" dogs. That has certainly happened before!

One local shelter was keeping some confiscated hounds and had raised over 50K to care for the hounds. But, when a "puppy mill" was busted the hounds were deemed "unadoptable" and were killed to make way for the cute, fuzzy, adoptable dogs.


"zero kill" is not "no kill"
my head is spinning


And "limited admission" and even "NO admission" do not add up to "no kill".

As I wrote previously, a local public shelter started putting people on "waiting lists" to turn in animals. One of the ACO's bragged about how this had "decreased the euthanasia numbers" and one of the city councilmembers told me, and I am NOT making this up, "If it cuts down on the killing, it's a blessing".

and you think YOUR head is spinning????

Suzette Watkins

Totally agree with you Jack Carone. Great points on the No Kill vs zero kill, Verjean!


I'll note that I'm not the biggest fan of the concept of 'no kill shelters'. They're great for what they are, but not the end goal. I firmly believe we need to be thinking about it in terms of "no kill communities" -- because if you're just pushing the killing onto someone else because you're limiting admission and forcing them to take in way more animals than they can handle, that doesn't change the end result for the animal.


Limited-admission no kill shelters do not push the killing onto someone else any more than do rescue groups or adoptive homes. If a limited-admission no-kill shelter takes in and adopts out 500 animals a year, because that is what they can do while upholding the standards they've set for themselves with the resources they have, then, great, that is 500 animals that didn't go to the kill 'shelter' where their lives would have been at risk and where they would have been competing for available space also needed by other animals. That limited-admission, no-kill shelter is helping. That said, they alone will not solve the problem that needs to be solved, but they aren't forcing anyone to kill. If this hypothetical limited-admission no kill shelter did not exist, where would those 500 animals a year go?

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