Let’s Get to Zero!
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For International Homeless Animals’ Day, we want to talk about a topic that is close to our hearts here at Darwin’s – ending animal homelessness. A large part of our mission is to help people and their pets enjoy more years of healthy companionship. While, of course, our primary means of accomplishing this is by making and delivering healthy raw pet food to our customers, we also believe strongly in being part of the effort to end the homelessness and unnecessary euthanasia of companion animals.
What is International Homeless Animals’ Day?
International Homeless Animals’ Day was created in 1992 by the International Society for Animal Rights with the goal of “keeping the issue of dog and cat overpopulation before the public until victory is achieved and humane societies can return to their purpose of preventing suffering instead of being exhausted by ceaseless killing.” Every year since, there have been local events in support of this cause. Since 2001, an online Virtual Vigil has been observed as well; participants are invited to light a candle in support of the cause and in memory of a beloved pet.
What does Let’s Get to Zero mean?
Getting to Zero means getting to a point where all animal shelters are No Kill. A No Kill shelter is one that does not euthanize healthy pets or pets with treatable medical or behavioral issues. Considering that there are 7 million pets surrendered every year to animal shelters nationwide and 70 million stray animals living in the US, this might seem like a daunting task. However, a number of people and organizations have developed a toolkit of strategies that have been proven to effectively address this complicated issue. Thanks to these efforts, there are over 140 communities spread across 24 states that have been confirmed to save 90% or more of the animals who enter their care.
What can be done to end animal homelessness?
“If every animal shelter in the United States embraced the No Kill philosophy and the programs and services that make it possible, we would save nearly four million dogs and cats who are scheduled to die in shelters this year, and the year after that. It is not an impossible dream.” Nathan Winograd, Author, Filmmaker and Founder of the No Kill Advocacy Center
Embracing the No Kill philosophy means implementing a toolkit of complementary ideas that together address many aspects of the complicated issue of animal homelessness. These important strategies consist of methods to increase adoption and spay and neuter as well as ways to help reunite pets with their owners and keep them together in the first place. You can learn more about how these tools combine to create an effective strategy for addressing animal homelessness within this informative booklet from the No Kill Advocacy Center.
One small way we are trying to do our part to end the homelessness of companion animals is through the Darwin’s Foster Dog Program. So far, we have placed 11 dogs with forever families within a year. We also offer special arrangements to registered 501.c.3 charities that choose to purchase from us, to allow foster and rescue programs easier access to healthier food for the animals they serve. We are also exploring the implementation of further programs to help achieve this important goal.
Check out the following resources if you are interested in learning more about Target Zero and ending animal homelessness:
Target Zero – Target Zero believes the US can achieve zero euthanasia of adoptable pets by 2025 and is helping to make that happen city to city.
No Kill Advocacy Center – Founded in 2004 with the goal of creating a No Kill Nation and ending the unnecessary killing of all companion animals.
Nathan Winograd – Author, Filmmaker and Founder of the No Kill Advocacy Center.
Saving 90 – No Kill progress resource tracking and listing communities saving over 90% of companion animals.
International Society for Animal Rights – Founder of International Homeless Animals’ Day, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation whose sole mission is to use education and law to advance animal rights.
Getting 2 Zero – Australian organization that aims to increase responsibility for companion animals so that every community and municipality can achieve zero euthanasia of all healthy and treatable cats and dogs