No Kill Huntsville is a coalition of local animal welfare advocates, rescuers and shelter directors who came together in January of 2012 to speak with one voice to seek better for our community. Our goal was to make ours a No Kill Community; a geographic hub where healthy and treatable animals are not destroyed in our municipal shelter using our tax dollars and resources because there are proven ways to save them. There are hundreds of no kill communities across the country where the lives of shelter animals are saved while still ensuring public safety and fiscal responsibility.
We now consider the Huntsville/Madison County area to be on the verge of becoming a No Kill Community through the operation of Huntsville Animal Services. The phrase No Kill does not mean that animals do not die in the shelter. It is in keeping with use of the word "euthanasia" for the intended purpose. Animals who are suffering or who are irremediably ill are euthanized for reasons of mercy, but the shelter no longer destroys healthy and treatable animals for space or convenience. The shelter also destroys dogs deemed a genuine public safety risk to the public after having thoroughly evaluated those dogs, having made exhaustive efforts to rehabilitate them and having sought sanctuary placement for them. We believe there are additional measures which can be taken to reduce the number of dogs destroyed for public safety reasons and remain hopeful the city and shelter will continue to explore those measures while still ensuring the safety of the public and the animals who live in the community. The live release rate at the shelter in 2020 was 93% for dogs and was 96% for cats.
Although we consider our advocacy successful for the most part and have achieved our goal - to make ourselves irrelevant to this issue - this website will remain available for the short-term in order to help other communities learn about the no kill programs and services we promote and to learn from the history of our path. Because our community has made tremendous progress, we know that other communities are looking to us for guidance and information. We hope that the information on our website continues to help the people who live and work in Huntsville and Madison County, but also helps people in other communities who may be looking to reform animal shelter operations using diplomacy and advocacy.
Our latest interview with WHLR regarding progress made at Huntsville Animal Services and what the public can do to help is at this link. It was recorded shortly before the pandemic began.
The city's announcement regarding the 2020 live release rate and information about renovation of the shelter is found at this link.
(cover image of Ralphie, a Katrina survivor, courtesy of Dana Kay Mattox Deutsch, a rescuer whom sadly we lost to cancer earlier this year)