Join Us

Become a Network Partner

By working together, we can save more lives in our communities. Join the Best Friends Network today and be part of a coalition that’s dedicated to information-sharing and proven lifesaving strategies. 

Click below to learn more about:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Best Friends Network?

  • The Best Friends Network is comprised of thousands of public and private shelters, rescue groups, spay/neuter organizations and other animal welfare organizations in all 50 states. We are a coalition committed to saving the lives of dogs and cats through collaboration, information-sharing and implementation of proven lifesaving strategies. Our partners support each other and inspire their own communities to increase lifesaving across the country. 

Why join the network?

  • We believe that every shelter, rescue group, transport group, and intake prevention organization is unique, just like each animal in their care. And because of that, each group deserves support and resources designed to address its specific lifesaving needs. Network partners have access to the following resources and tools:
    • Support from a dedicated regional team for organizations in each state and region to have the opportunity to participate in coalition-building, to learn from groups in surrounding counties and states, and to serve as lifesaving models for others
    • Access to specialized digital tools, research, tech solutions, and resources developed by Best Friends staff members and other experts from across the country
    • Opportunities for lifesaving and no-kill sustainability grants that support effective and innovative lifesaving programs, such as adoption, spay/neuter, and intake prevention
    • Exclusive access to national fundraising events like Strut Your Mutt and national adoption promotions
    • Discounted registration rates for the annual Best Friends National Conference and the opportunity to attend partner-only networking and appreciation events held during the conference
    • Listing on the network website that links visitors to your organization’s website

How do I join the Network?

  • It is free to participate in the Best Friends Network. To apply and be eligible for participation, your organization/group must:
    • Be willing and able to establish a positive working relationship with Best Friends and submit with required data reporting.
    • Be a group or shelter operating in the United States (excluding U.S. Territories) serving dogs and/or cats and their owners.
    • Be in compliance with all local laws and regulations governing animal sheltering and provide appropriate daily care to all animals under the care of the organization, including animals in foster homes or at other offsite locations. This includes, but is not limited to: sanitary living conditions, food, water, enrichment and shelter.
    • Be actively working toward the Best Friends mission of No More Homeless Pets by operating or supporting an active dog and/or cat adoption, transport, and/or spay/neuter or intake prevention program.
    • Be an approved 501(c)(3) public charity or municipal shelter. To learn more about 501(c)(3), please visit the Internal Revenue Service website.
    • Be in good standing with GuideStar Charity Check.

Can municipal shelters participate?

  • We strongly encourage municipal shelters to become network partners.

What if my organization is not currently a 501(c)(3) but has started in the application process to become one?

  • We do require that organizations have their 501(c)(3) nonprofit status before applying to become a partner.

How long will it take to process my application?

  • Applications are typically reviewed within five business days. After your application has been reviewed and you are approved to become a network partner, you will receive an email with website links and other important information.

What is required once my organization becomes a network partner?

  • Network partners are required to report annual statistics to Best Friends through our online submission form. Network partners are encouraged to report intake and outcome data on a monthly basis using Shelter Animals Count. In order to be eligible for participation in our adoption and fundraising promotions and events, and to be considered for financial aid or grants, this monthly data must be reported consistently each month. Reporting your intake, outcome and spay/neuter statistics, which is essential to assessing our strength as a coalition working to save lives, is an ongoing requirement for network partnership. Click here to learn more about reporting your stats.

Do you have a list of network partners?

  • Yes, you can find a complete list of partners by clicking here.

How can I learn more?

Click below to learn more about:

Back to top

Organization Types and Data Requirements

Data reporting requirements and method vary based on your organization type. To determine how your organization should get started with reporting data to become a Network partner, review the organization types below.

If you have already submitted your application, please take a few minutes to review and complete the remaining steps, if you have not already done so.  

If your organization type is listed below, you should report your stats in Shelter Animals Count (SAC). See instructions below.

  • Government Animal Services - a brick-and-mortar facility that is operated by a municipal government to provide animal sheltering services to the citizens of a single county/community or an inter-governmental contract to serve multiple counties/communities.  
  • Animal Shelter with a Government Contract- a brick-and-mortar facility that is operated by a non-profit organization and is contracted by one or more municipal government(s) to provide animal sheltering services to citizens.  
  • Animal Rescue with a Government Contract- Nonprofit foster-based organization that takes in and places animals that has a contract for animal care and/or control with a government agency.  
  • Shelter without a Government Contract - Nonprofit organization with a physical facility that has open hours to the public and takes in and places animals, but does not have a contract for animal care and/or control with a government agency.  
  • Rescue without a Government Contract- Nonprofit foster-based organization that takes in and places animals, but does not have a contract for animal care and/or control with a government agency. May have a physical facility but does not have open hours to the public. 
  • Private Friends of a Municipal Shelter- Groups that exist only to support a specific municipal shelter and do not take in or adopt out animals within your own organization. The shelter that a friends of group is supporting needs to register for and report their data in Shelter Animals Count.

To get started with Shelter Animals Count:

  1. Registration with Shelter Animals Count is required for organizations that take in animals. Click here to register your organization.  
    • Please note, your authorized user must confirm your account via email and opt in to sharing your data publicly in this step. If you do not opt in to share, we will not be able to access or confirm your data. 
    • Please ensure you have opted in to sharing your data publicly.
    • You can request to join our coalition in SAC or we can send you an invite to join. 
  2. Enter a minimum of one year of historical data into Shelter Animals Count to be approved as a Network partner. 
    •  If you are a Private Friends of a Municipal Shelter, the shelter that you support is required to sign up with Shelters Animals Count and fulfill the data requirements. 
  3. Once your submitted application has been approved and the above steps completed, you will receive an email confirming your organization is now active on the network. 

If you have any additional questions, please visit our FAQs or contact us at

If your organization type is listed below, you should report your stats via form. See instructions below.

  • Spay/Neuter Only Group - Organizations that only perform or subsidize spay/neuter surgeries (no rescue activities). This includes TNR organizations with strictly Return to Field outcomes.  
  • Intake Prevention Organization- Organizations that operate intake diversion programs (no rescue activities).  
  • Transport Organization- Organizations that operate transport programs on behalf of shelters and/or rescues (no rescue activities).

To report your data via form:

  1. You will be asked to complete this form to submit your 2022 annual statistics reports of animals served. 
    • We will ask that community support organizations update their stats annual after becoming a Network partner. 
  2. Once your submitted application has been approved and the above steps completed, you will receive an email confirming your organization is now active on the network. 

Back to top

Apply to Become a Network Partner

  1. Review the FAQs and requirements, which provide more information and help ensure that your organization is eligible to apply.
  2. Click here for a checklist of all the items and information we request in the application.
  3. Identify your organization type and complete the associated data reporting requirements for new partners and learn more about our ongoing requirements.
  4. Apply

If you have any questions about our program that are not answered on this page, please email

Thank you so much for applying to be a network partner, and for all that you do for homeless pets.

Back to top