Research & Data

A woman looking at a man holding a kitten during an adoption event

No-Kill Shelter Positive Outcome Study

One question we’re interested in answering is what types of programming help increase lifesaving. In the following study, we wanted to look specifically at the data from shelters that had already reached the 90% save rate benchmark for no-kill to get a better understanding of what was working well at those organizations.

The initial No-Kill Shelter Positive Outcome Study analyzed outcome type data from 2017 and 2018 for 1,844 no-kill organizations to identify which programs lead to high positive outcomes and establish goals for shelters that will further increase lifesaving. 

Biggest takeaway: Local, community-based adoption programs save lives.

While the data revealed that all lifesaving programs including return-to-owner, return-to-field and transfer/transport programs, contribute to positive outcomes for pets, adoption is far and away the leading outcome type for all no-kill shelters. For any type of shelter, investing time and energy in developing a robust adoption program and building relationships with the local community in an effort to place more pets should be a priority.

We now have an updated version of the No-Kill Positive Outcome Study that includes data from 2019, as well as 2017 and 2018 from 2,114 no-kill shelters.

2017-2018 Positive Outcome No-Kill Study

2019 Positive Outcome No-Kill Study