KANAB, Utah (ABC4) — With National Puppy Day celebrated by pet lovers worldwide on March 23, a campaign from Best Friends Animal Society (BFAS) will also be kicking off to help Utah become a no-kill state by 2025.

The month-long initiative, named the Adopt Local Challenge, will run from March 23 through April 30 as the organization challenges participating local shelters to save more cats and dogs than this period last year.

This no-kill milestone would mean that at least 90% of the animals entering the shelter system will leave alive and not be killed due to lack of space.

As shelters across the country are reaching capacity, including more than 60 shelters in the state of Utah, Best Friends Animal Society is also hoping that the community will take action in adopting locally.

“Sadly, in 2021, nearly 900 dogs and cats were killed in animal shelters in Utah,” says Julie Castle, CEO at Best Friends Animal Society. “If every community member looking to add a dog or cat to their family adopted from their local shelter during this challenge, we would be able to add Utah to the growing list of no-kill states, and be on track to take the rest of the country no-kill by 2025.” 

Best Friends Animal Society was founded in 1984 as a pioneer organization of the no-kill movement, ultimately helping reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from an estimated 17 million per year to about 355,000.

The group runs lifesaving programs across the country, working with more than 4,100 animal welfare partners and community members. Also, BFAS has the largest no-kill animal sanctuary in the nation.

Those in the community who’d like to learn more about adopting can do so on the Best Friends Animal Society website.