Kill Versus No-Kill Shelters & Their Success (by Amber Dieter)

The Research Question and Introduction:

My question is wether non kill shelters have a higher success rate than kill shelters. I thought of this question after I started to volunteer with OHS. This is a non kill shelter and I have seen statistics about their high success rates. I know that OHS does a lot to make their name known and works very hard to get these animals adopted. I feel that having no choice in killing these animals gives the nessicary push to try as hard as we can to get these animals adopted.

The Research Collection

Maloney, Laura. “No Kill vs Traditional Shelters.” AHeinz57 Pet Rescue Transport. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.

This is a very tough article to read but it shows the opposite side of the issue, a shelter that does euthanisations. Laura keeps this article short and simple and really explains the reasoning behind this tough decision. She talks about how more than 6 million dogs and cats are received at shelters around the world in a year alone. The decision to euthanize is based off of the quality of life of these animals and the resources available to keep them healthy and contained in a humane environment. This is a very great argument, although I stand behind no kill shelters, this gives a good opposing argument.

Campbell Thorton, Kim. “No-kill Shelter Nation? Maybe in 5 Years.” MSNBC, 9 July 2009. Web. 19 Nov. 2014.

This article explains the choice that a Virginia animal shelter made to become a no kill shelter. They didn’t like the fact that euthanizing was “their job” and they made a change to stop putting to sleep hundreds of healthy animals. They stated that somewhere between 60-70% off all animals who entered shelters would be put to sleep. Their adoption rate went from 75% up from 56% in 5 years after they became a no kill shelter. This is a great article and proves that a no kill shelter can have high adoption rates.

Croswell, Alexis. “10 Amazing No-Kill Animal Shelters in the U.S.” One Green Planet. One Green Planet, 3 Jan. 2014. Web. 19 Nov. 2014.

This article focuses on the top no kill animal shelters in the US. They state that 5,500 dogs are put to sleep each day, and with these non kill shelters that number is quickly decreasing. The Multnomah County Animal Services shelter is one on this list with a success rate of over 90% for dogs. This gives me a good list of different shelters in the US that are non kill and most of their success rates.

The Public Writing

Dear Jessica Wiseley Kruger,

My name is Amber Dieter and I am a volunteer with the Oregon Humane Society. I have been volunteering for a few months and recently decided to use OHS as my community program of choice for a course I am taking through Portland Community College. At the beginning of the term we were told to choose a community program that fit the issues that we are interested in.

I have been concentrating on the overall service of OHS and the work that is done to help bring attention to homeless animals. One of main areas of focus was the difference between kill vs. non kill shelters. My stance on the subject is that a no kill shelter has a larger responsibility to make sure that these animals get adopted, and that this in turn attributes to the hard work that is done and the high success rates.

Working with OHS has shown me the hard work that goes into advertising, fund raising and bringing awareness to the public about the amount of homeless animals. I have done intensive research on animal shelters throughout the United States and have taken into account their success rates based on the amount of work that they do. I receive the weekly newsletter and am constantly floored by the amount of events OHS holds and the turnout that these events produce. Being affiliated with a company of this magnitude makes me very proud.

The Oregon Humane Society holds the largest amount of events in the Northwest, and I know that this must have a huge impact on the amount of animals that are adopted each month. This hard work and perseverance

gives no kill shelters a good name and shows that we don’t need to resort to euthanizing.

Once again, I appreciate all the hard work that is done and am very proud to have picked such an amazing organization to work with. Though this course will be ending soon I will continue my volunteer relationship with OHS and I am honored to do so.

Thank you so much for all that you and the Oregon Humane Society do to help the homeless pets in Oregon and surrounding states.


Amber Dieter



  1. Hi Amber,

    I want to start out by saying that I really like the topic that you chose for this assignment. I have always been very passionate about animals and am all for no-kill shelters. While it can be challenging for no-kill shelters to find homes for all of the animals that come in, I agree with you that they work harder at finding these pets forever homes. There are even these types of shelters for small animals, including a no-kill shelter for ferrets located out in Oregon City.

    Your research collection is very strong and suites your research question well. I am curious though, is it hard for shelters to become no-kill shelters initially? It seems that if it was easy than more shelters would be doing it. Overall very good piece Amber! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.


  2. Lucas

    I suppose this is where we’re supposed to leave feedback…

    Hi, Amber

    After reading through your post, I feel that what you’re doing with the shelter you work for is great. I was hoping you could provide more information in your summary of “No-Kill Shelter Nation?” in regards to how a kill shelter could have higher adoption rates after switching to a no-kill shelter. I was also curious about the issue of sustainability with no-kill shelters.

    The letter you wrote to Jessica Wiseley Kruger was done extremely well. I like its formality and structure as well as how direct it is with the message. It sounds like you’ve been doing this for a long time, simply because you really enjoy it. I was hoping to get the same feeling from working with my organization, but I feel extremely conflicted.

    Keep up the good work!

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