Legislating No Kill Delaware-Style

Delaware Animal Services

A dog for adoption at Delaware Animal Services.

For the first half of this year, Delaware Animal Services, which provides animal control sheltering throughout the State of Delaware, saved 89% of cats, 93% of dogs, and 98% of other animals.

Since Delaware passed a modified version of the Companion Animal Protection Act, model legislation from my organization the No Kill Advocacy Center, killing has declined statewide by 64%. For cats, the killing has declined 90%.

The Delaware Office of Animal Welfare (OAW), the state agency that oversees Delaware’s shelters, writes that the law “established common-sense statutes to improve the health and wellbeing of animals temporarily housed in shelters,” including “vaccination upon intake,” “veterinary care for sick or injured animals,” and “holding periods to allow owner reunification or transfer.”

OAW notes that the law requires that animals must be held and given to rescue groups rather than killed. And then states that it “has improved the quality of care animals receive in shelters and has saved thousands of animals that would have otherwise been euthanized due to outdated policies and practices. Prior to this law, healthy dogs and cats were euthanized very quickly, sometimes while their owners were looking for them.”

If it adds protections for animals still falling through gaps in the safety net, Delaware could become the first state to verifiably save at least 90% of the animals, although it should be noted that a 90% save rate does not mean a community (or in this case state) is No Kill.


Click here for a copy of the model law and a guide to getting it introduced.


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