Against the unimaginable backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philadelphia No-Kill Coalition focused during its third year on protecting our hard-fought progress in spite of the challenges. We were especially concerned with continuing to strengthen the safety net for pet owners facing even more hardship than usual, so that their pets could remain safe in their homes rather than be surrendered to shelters.

As we celebrate three years of strategic collaboration, here is a snapshot of our lifesaving progress and other accomplishments, as well as a look ahead at our plans to continue closing the gap in Year Four, as we move ever-closer to our goal of ensuring that no savable pets lose their lives in Philadelphia shelters.


Lifesaving Update

We measure our progress – and the work still to be done – by the number of animals who enter ACCT Philly and the number that survive. We are working toward a time when only unsavable pets – those suffering with untreatable illnesses or injuries, or who are dangerous to humans – are euthanized, and every healthy and treatable pet has a home.

In 2020 at ACCT Philly:

  • Cat intake dropped nearly 30% to an all-time low of 7,275.
  • Dog intake dropped over 24% to an all-time low of 3,985.
    (The decrease in these intake numbers was especially steep in 2020, reflective of the national trend, due to COVID-19.)
  • The live release rate for cats & dogs climbed to 89%, an all-time high.
  • The number of savable pets who lost their lives dropped to 384, another all-time low that illustrates just how close we are to our goal.

This progress was made possible by:

  • The Community Pet Help Desk at ACCT Philly, led by Citizens for a No-Kill Philadelphia and established in 2018 as a central priority of the Coalition. It is open seven days a week to assist pet owners in finding alternatives to surrendering their pets. The Help Desk serves thousands of pet owners each year, connecting them with resources including medical care, behavioral/training support, counseling, supplies, and referrals so they they can avoid surrendering their pets.
  • Expanded efforts to distribute pet food to owners in need, as the effects of the pandemic disproportionately strain low-income communities. ACCT Philly, PSPCA, Citizens for a No-Kill Philadelphia, and PAWS collaborated to deliver food to thousands of pet owners throughout the city, with support from volunteers eager to help their neighbors in new ways.
  • Increased emphasis by no-kill shelters and rescues on providing direct intake services for owners who must surrender their pets, offering them safe haven and preventing them from entering ACCT Philly.
  • Dozens of rescue partners, who transferred more than 3,863 cats and dogs from ACCT Philly to the safety of their shelters and foster homes.
  • Thousands of foster parents, who opened their homes and provided safety to 2,919 kittens, cats, and dogs at ACCT Philly, as well as thousands more at partner shelters and rescues, until those animals were grown or healthy enough for adoption. Their generosity not only saved the animals in their care, but also made room in shelters for other animals whose lives depended on it.

In 2021, we will continue working together to prevent pet homelessness and increase lifesaving opportunities for all savable shelter animals. Specifically, we will focus on:

  • Continue refining processes and expanding resources so that the most vulnerable pets at ACCT can be saved. In 2020, the vast majority (80%) of savable animals who did not get out alive were sick/injured cats, while 17% were dogs with medical issues. Dogs with behavioral challenges accounted for the remaining 3%. In addition, kittens are a fragile population that must be protected in order to sustain lifesaving progress.
  • Continue improving access to resources for struggling pet owners, so that they can keep their pets as cherished family members – or find them another loving home – rather than surrender them to a shelter. These resources include pet food, veterinary care, temporary housing, counseling, and referrals.
  • Bolstering access to TNR surgery and veterinary care for community cats, to protect their health and prevent litters.
  • and much more! Stay tuned for updates.

See our Second Year in Review (2019).

See our First Year in Review (2018).