An investigation by Get Gephardt of KUTV2 News has uncovered the hard truth about no-kill facilities in Utah. The term doesn’t mean what you think it does. Up to ten percent of animals that enter may be killed without the shelter losing it’s ‘no-kill’ status.
Genni Pence recently took a mother cat and her kittens to a shelter after borrowing a trap from Provo, Utah.
“I asked if this was a no-kill facility and she said ‘yes it is. I was concerned for the cat’s life and I wanted to make sure that the cat got to a safe area where somebody would be able to adopt it and provide it a safe home”
When Genni visited the shelter a few weeks later and asked to see the mother cat she was told the shelter euthanized it. Somebody at the shelter had judged the cat too mean to be adopted.
When Genni brought up she had asked if the shelter was no-kill, shelter staff told her as long as the shelter euthanized under ten percent it was still considered no-kill.
If you look on the NKUT.org website there are 59 coalition partners who state they’re no-kill. Genni had taken the mother cat and her kittens to one of the partners on the list. Now she says she feels deceived. In an interview with KUTV News Genni stated
“No-kill means no kill. You can look it up in the dictionary. I don’t think it says anything about 10 percent.”
Genni said if she’d known the mother cat would be killed she’d have worked to find it a good home or to have returned it to where it lived.
Public records show 2341 dogs and cats were euthanized in 2018. All were on the NKUT website as being part of the initiative.
On the No-Kill Utah website, the plan is described as “straight forward.” The initiative is led by Best Friends Animal Society who is working to end the killing of dogs and cats in shelters throughout the state by the end of the year.
Best Friends spokesperson Temma Martin says the shelter Genni took the cat and her kittens to doesn’t have a TNR plan in place but hopes that will change soon.
“Best Friends has spoken to policymakers and shelter representatives in Utah County about implementing a return to field community cat program. These talks are ongoing, and we are hopeful they will accept Best Friends’ funded proposal for this key lifesaving program in their community.”
Martine went on to clarify what no-kill really means for Utah cats and dogs
“According to rules set by a national board a shelter can call itself no-kill as long as 10 percent or fewer of animals that enter the facility are euthanized. The rules also state that a euthanized animal must be deemed by the shelter to be “un-adoptable,” either because it is too old, too sick or too feral.”
The tragic ending to a mama cat who delivered a litter should serve as a reminder to not only have their pets spayed or neutered but to be sure you understand completely what will happen once the animal is signed over to a shelter.
A video on the investigation can be found here. It’s very interesting and I suggest you watch.