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Utah animal welfare organizations launch no-kill initiative

Nine thousand pets. That's how many animals die every day in shelters throughout America. Sunday was no dog-day afternoon for animal rights activists. They decided to do something about those numbers.
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - Nine thousand pets. That's how many animals die every day in shelters throughout America. Sunday was no dog-day afternoon for animal rights activists. They decided to do something about those numbers.

"We've been working on this for many years actually and a lot of progress has been made," said Gregory Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society. 

It's called the No-Kill Utah initiative or NKUT for short. It's an ongoing project to save every pet in Utah by year 2019.

"We need more people to adopt. We need people to provide those foster homes that are so critical,” said Arlyn Bradshaw, Salt Lake County Councilman.

Divorce, death, foreclosure and other economic problems account for most of reasons animals end up in shelters. Thirty-seven animal welfare organizations are asking Utahns to get involved.

"One of the most important parts of it… is to spay and neuter your animal. A big part of it comes about through extra breeding,” said Castle.

Back in 2000 when they started the project, 46,000 cats and dogs died in Utah shelters. Now that number has come down by 61 percent. Still they say it's time for one more final push.

"The fact that healthy animals are dying in shelters simply because they can't be found a home is tragic,” said Castle.

Utah lawmakers seem to agree. Just this year they passed a bill forbidding communities from making breed-discriminatory legislation.

"I'm excited because with [NKUT], we're very soon going to be one of the best places for pets in all of America," said Deputy Mike Mower, Chief of Staff to the governor.

NKUT also launched a brand new website today. You can learn how to adopt a pet, make a donation or volunteer with Best Friends Animal Society.
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