What is the Best Friends Animal Society?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 07 September 2019
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The Best Friends Animal Society is one of the most well-known animal welfare organizations in the United States, along with groups like the Humane Society of the United States and American Humane. As an animal welfare organization, Best Friends works on a variety of animal-related causes, ranging from promoting legislation which will benefit animal welfare to providing sheltering for roughly 2,000 animals at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. Best Friends Animal Society is often credited with being one of the driving forces behind no-kill sheltering in the United States.

This organization was founded in Arizona in 1986. By 1991, Best Friends Animal Society had registered as a nonprofit organization, and it was promoting the motto “no more homeless pets.” An estimated 15 million cats and dogs were euthanized annually in the United States in the early 1990s; by the late 1990s, this number had declined to around five million, in no small part because of the work of Best Friends. Many shelters in the no-kill movement rely on support from Best Friends Animal Society.


The organization provides support to animal welfare organizations and shelters all over the United States, offering veterinary services, outreach programs, and sheltering for animals which might otherwise be euthanized. It is also a first responder in the event of natural disasters; perhaps most notably, Best Friends Animal Society coordinated the response to Hurricane Katrina. The organization works with law enforcement to investigate and prosecute animal cruelty cases, and publishes a magazine, Best Friends, which covers issues of interest to the animal welfare community.

At the shelter in Kanab, Best Friends houses cats and dogs, but it also provides homes from a wide variety of other animals, including birds and farm animals. Some of the animals at the shelter are permanent residents, due to serious disability or behavioral problems, but around 75% are ultimately adopted out. One of the focuses of Best Friends is rehabilitation, and the organization's staff are very committed to getting as many animals as possible into permanent homes, even if some work is required to train and socialize them.

Visitors to Utah sometimes enjoy visiting the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, which offers numerous volunteering opportunities; people also travel from all over the world specifically to visit Best Friends. The organization relies heavily on donations of time, skills, and money all over the United States, and it is a very highly-regarded charity.


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