Challenger School

Humane Society of Utah Reaches No-kill Milestone for the First Time


Staff, volunteers and students tie 11,318 ribbons to celebrate animals saved in 2015

The Humane Society of Utah (HSU) saved a total 11,318 animals in 2015 and achieved no-kill statistics for both cats and dogs for the first time. This is a milestone in the 55-year history of the organization and was accomplished through progressive shelter programs, services, and the dedicated work of staff and volunteers with the support of individual and business contributions. To celebrate, 11,318 ribbons were tied to the main entrance fence by HSU staff, volunteers and students from Granite Park Jr. High School.

“Staff and volunteers tied ribbons in tribute to the animals they helped last year,” said Gene Baierschmidt, HSU executive director. “We couldn’t do what we did without the help of the community, though, which is why students helped with the project and came out to tie ribbons with us.”

No-kill status has been achieved for dogs over the past five years. However, 2015 was the first year to see a 90.53 percent live-release rate for dogs, cats and other animals combined.

“We received a record number of cats and kittens in 2015,” said Baierschmidt. “Our biggest challenge was to find homes for all of them and our shelter was full most of the summer. We waived adoption fees for cats and reduced kitten fees to qualified adopters as incentive, promoted creative marketing campaigns and, thankfully, had a lot of help from foster volunteers who helped raise young kittens and care for special-needs cats until they could be adopted.”

HSU is an open-admissions shelter, meaning that the doors are always open for any animal they can legally accept. “To achieve no-kill status as an open-admissions shelter is very difficult,” said Baierschmidt. “We set a goal to become a no-kill shelter for dogs and cats by 2016 and are very excited to have accomplished this goal sooner than expected.”

Additional records were set in 2015.

  • The HSU Clinic performed 11,143 spay/neuter surgeries and 686 additional medical procedures on shelter animals to increase adoptability. The clinic also administered over 94,204 dog and cat vaccinations to ensure the health of both shelter animals and owned pets in the community.
  • The HSU Transfer and Rescue Program brought in 3,064 animals at risk of euthanasia to reduce the burden on other smaller shelters across the state of Utah and neighboring states.
  • The HSU Foster Care Program cared for 2,755 animals in need of special attention before becoming available for adoption.
  • Over 32,974 volunteer hours were logged by 14,000 active volunteers.

The Humane Society of Utah is a private nonprofit organization that has been sheltering abandoned animals, fighting cruelty and neglect, and creating an environment of respect, responsibility, and compassion for all animals across the state since 1960.



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