Uintah County Animal shelter rising to the challenge: turn Utah into a ‘no-kill’ shelter state

May 7, 2024, 7:33 PM | Updated: 8:08 pm

Sunny and Abalone greet each other at an event celebrating Gov. Spencer Cox’s declaration of 2024...

Sunny and Abalone greet each other at an event celebrating Gov. Spencer Cox’s declaration of 2024 as No-Kill Shelter Year in Utah at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024. Abalone is available for adoption from Best Friends Animal Society. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

VERNAL, Utah — The Uintah County Animal Shelter is rising to the challenge of turning Utah into a no-kill shelter state.

The shelter, located in Vernal, challenged itself to adopt out more animals in April. That resulted in 23 adoptions for the month. Because of this success, the shelter is extending this adoption challenge for another week. 

The shelter is partnering with Best Friend Animal Sanctuary.

“They are covering the whole adoption fee, so technically the animals are free,” Rylee Olsen, Uinta County Animal Shelter adoption specialist said. 

Normally, the shelter houses a majority of adult dogs, but Olsen said they have a lot of puppies ready for new homes.  

“We would just really love if people come down and check out our animals, we are very full on dogs, and have a lot of great animals here,” she said. 

‘No-kill shelter year’ designation

Back in February 2024, Governor Spencer Cox designated this year as “no-kill shelter year” for the state. 

According to American Humane, across the country, sheltered animals are often euthanized due to the shelters being too overcrowded. 

Utah-specific data pulled together from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary shows that in 2023, about 2,100 dogs and cats were killed in Utah animal shelters, with 76% of those deaths being cats. 

However, a hopeful point of data shows at this time, 45 out of 58 shelters in Utah have reached no-kill status, leaving 12 shelters to reach that point.

A press release sent out by Best Friends Animal Sanctuary said this “no-kill” declaration demonstrates that “the state of Utah is working diligently to make Utah not only the first no-kill state in the west, but also the largest no-kill state in the country.” 

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Uintah County Animal shelter rising to the challenge: turn Utah into a ‘no-kill’ shelter state