National Spotlight

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

An animal welfare society’s beginning

For so many animals, it was the beginning of a miracle. It was the 1980s. Shelters across America routinely killed cats and dogs as the primary method of handling unwanted pets. Around 17 million animals perished every year. Older, sick and problem animals were the first to go. Then, a group of friends began taking some of those “unadoptables” to a safe haven to heal. With proper care and patience, the vast majority of these animals found loving forever families. The remaining animals spent the rest of their days romping in the new sanctuary. That group of friends who cared so deeply about animals grew and flourished and became Best Friends Animal Society, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and animal welfare society.

Save Them All

At the core of Best Friends’ work is the dream that one day animals will no longer be killed in America’s shelters. By implementing spay/neuter and trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs to reduce the number of animals who enter shelters, and increasing the number of people who adopt pets, they know they can end the killing. Best Friends knows they can Save Them All.

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

At the heart of Best Friends is the Sanctuary, where, at any given time, about 1,600 animals are turning their lives around, receiving the medical help they need, and getting love and acceptance to help them overcome their past. While searching for their forever homes, they live in a scenic, healing environment among human and animal friends.

Best Friends owns nearly 3,700 acres, and we lease another 17,000 acres of state and federal land. Nearly 30,000 people visit every year to meet the animals and tour what has become the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals. Learn more about the Sanctuary.

Around the country

The ability to Save Them All can only be achieved when like-minded organizations and individuals come together. Best Friends works collaboratively with other groups, government, and regular folks throughout the nation. Best Friends outreach programs get to the very root of animal homelessness nationwide.

The Best Friends Network brings animal shelters and rescue groups together from across the country to hold mutual adoption events, public education campaigns, and fundraising drives. Working together, these groups are able to save many more lives than they could in isolation

Best Friends has put together a coalition in Los Angeles dedicated to ending the killing of healthy and adoptable pets in L.A. city shelters, as well as programs to spay/neuter animals, find homes for shelter pets, and raise public awareness. Best Friends also took over operations of a shelter there, which serves as both a spay/neuter center and a no-kill adoption center for animals who had already arrived in other shelters.

The NKUT Coalition is working to Save Them All through lifesaving programs in Utah and the Best Friends Pet Adoption Center is open in Salt Lake City. Additional regional programs are opening nationwide, including pet adoption centers in Atlanta and New York City.

Best Friends is a proud participant of Shelter Animals Count, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating, sharing and stewarding a national database of sheltered animals that provides facts and enables insights to save lives.

Puppy mills: Best Friends is working hard to combat puppy mills, one of the major contributors to animal homelessness, through public awareness campaigns, legislative work, and encouragement of adopting rather than purchasing pets.

Community cats: Cats comprise the majority of animals dying in shelters — up to 70 percent in some places. Most of these are community cats (stray and free-roaming). Best Friends is working to save lives by implementing innovative trap-neuter-return programs across the country. Some of the most successful to date have been in Los Angeles, California; Salt Lake City, Utah; Jacksonville, Florida; San Antonio, Texas; and Albuquerque, New Mexico. These programs have helped reduce cat shelter deaths by as much as 65 percent.

Pit bull terriers: Like cats, pit bull terriers comprise a disproportionately high number of animals dying in shelters. At Best Friends, we fight breed-discriminatory laws, and work hard to change the image of the pit bull terrier nationwide through Neighborhood Pit Bull Days, advertisements, and more to give these dogs the chance to make it out of shelters and into the arms of loving families.

From humble beginnings, Best Friends Animal Society has grown into a national leader in the no-kill movement. But the future lies in the same place that it all began — with caring individuals who want to make this a kinder nation for our pets. It’s people like you who started it all, and people like you who will help us to Save Them All.


We Are Their Voice

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) was the first humane society to be established in North America and is, today, one of the largest in the world.

Our organization was founded on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected under the law. Headquartered in New York City, the ASPCA maintains a strong local presence, and with programs that extend our anti-cruelty mission across the country, we are recognized as a national animal welfare organization. We are a privately funded 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, and are proud to boast more than 2 million supporters across the country.

The ASPCA’s mission, as stated by founder Henry Bergh in 1866, is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”

ASPCA Key Issues:

Homeless Issues

Animal shelters across the nation are forced to stretch their resources to the brink to accommodate an overwhelming population of homeless and at-risk animals.

  • Keeping Animals in Homes
  • Shelter Intake & Surrender

Cruelty Issues

As you read this, another innocent animal is being abused, neglected or forced to fight. The first step to creating positive change for these animals is recognizing the cruelty that threatens them.

  • Dogfighting
  • The Puppy Industry
  • Animal Hoarding
  • Farm Animal Welfare
  • House Slaughter
  • Other Animal Cruelty Issues

Help ASPCA Stop Animal Cruelty, Donate Today!

The Humane Society
of the United States
We Fight for All Animals

Together with their supporters, they take on the big fights to stop cruelty before it happens. They work to end puppy mills, factory farms, trophy hunts, animal testing and other cruel industries so they can achieve the vision behind their name: a humane society. And they can’t do it without you.

Here are just a few of The Humane Society’s biggest fights. With our help, they can win them.

–Animal cruelty

–Farm animals

–Pets in poverty

–Science without suffering



Founded in 1954, the Humane Society of the United States fights the big fights to end suffering for all animals, not just dogs and cats. They work to stop large-scale cruelties such as animal fighting, puppy mills, factory farming and the wildlife trade. Along with their supporters and volunteers, they work to pass anti-cruelty laws, end the extreme confinement of farm animals in cages, stop cosmetics testing on animals, halt cruelty to wildlife and bring veterinary services to pets in underserved communities. Along with their affiliates, they care for more than 100,000 animals each year through rescue teams, sanctuaries and wildlife centers. To learn how they put your dollars to work, take a look at their annual reports and financial statements.

What does the HSUS do?

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization, rated the most effective by its peers. Since 1954, we’ve been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs.

The HSUS is a mainstream voice for animals, with active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, animals in research and farm animals. We protect all animals through legislation, litigation, investigation, education, science, advocacy and field work. And together with our affiliates, we rescue and care for tens of thousands of animals each year—but our primary mission is to prevent cruelty before it occurs.

The HSUS’s mission is to fight for all animals across America and around the world.

How is the HSUS affiliated with my local humane society?

Local humane societies and SPCAs are independent entities and are not run by the HSUS or any other national entity. The HSUS works with local humane societies and supports their work through training, evaluations, publications and other professional services.

Additionally, the HSUS operates its own network of animal sanctuaries and rescue operations, providing emergency care and homes to more animals than any other organization in the United States.

How is the HSUS affiliated with other animal organizations?

The HSUS shares similar goals with many organizations. We are directly affiliated with the following organizations:

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