Best Friends Animal Society Awarded Meadows Grant

The Meadows Foundation has given $100,000 to the dogs (and the cats), Best Friends Animal Society announced.

The Dallas-based foundation awarded national animal welfare organization Best Friends Animal Society $100,000 to deepen its work across Texas with local animal shelters to sustain and expand no-kill practices.  

“Momentum for increased lifesaving and no-kill is building across Texas, but there is still so much to do — and Best Friends has proven solutions to fix this problem,” said Lee Ann Shenefiel, Best Friends Animal Society South-Central region director. “With help from The Meadows Foundation, Best Friends and our 250-plus partnering organizations across this state can keep fighting for the lives of companion animals and make Texas a no-kill state by 2025.”

No-kill is defined as saving every dog and cat in a shelter who can be saved. A 90% save rate for the animals entering a shelter is the common-sense benchmark for measuring lifesaving progress and considering a shelter no kill. Typically, the number of pets who are suffering from irreparable medical or behavioral issues that compromise their quality of life and prevent them from being rehomed is not more than 10% of all pets entering shelters.  

The grant will be used by Best Friends to provide training, coaching, and mentoring to partnering Texas animal shelters. The ambitious goals of the grant include adding shelter partners, improving lifesaving outcomes, and increasing the number of shelters across Texas with no-kill status.   

“With help from The Meadows Foundation, Best Friends and our 250-plus partnering organizations across this state can keep fighting for the lives of companion animals and make Texas a no-kill state by 2025.”

Lee Ann Shenefiel, Best Friends Animal Society South-Central region director

“The Meadows Foundation has made incredible investments in Texas’ pets, and we at Best Friends are especially grateful for the foundation’s work through The Companion Animal Funders Coalition,” Shenefiel said. “What a difference The Meadows Foundation has made for the city of Dallas through the Big Fix for Big D. Dallas is a stellar example of the power of collaboration between city, public, and funding organizations and this generous grant will help Best Friends work with other Texas communities to replicate that success.” 


In 2019 Best Friends launched the pet lifesaving dashboard, an award-winning data visualization tool that recently garnered Best Friends a spot in Fast Company’s list of most innovative companies in the world for data science. Best Friends’ pet lifesaving dashboard provides comprehensive “noses in and noses out” information to the public right down to the shelter level and shows how many animals are entering and leaving U.S. shelter systems regardless of category (healthy, treatable, owner requested euthanasia, etc.). Just simply, how many animals entered a shelter and how many left a shelter alive.    

“Through this work, we know that Texas is second only to California for the number of pets killed in shelters, with approximately 96,700 dogs and cats killed in the state in 2019. In 2016, we estimated that more than 220,000 cats and dogs were killed in Texas; meaning the killing has been reduced by 56% in just three years, demonstrating increased lifesaving across the state and more accurate data. Now, Dallas and El Paso are within just a few percentage points of a 90% save rate,” Shenefiel said.

The organization said that their data collection efforts alerted them to the fact that the lifesaving gaps weren’t just limited to large metro areas. The new grant will allow them to begin working with smaller communities to support their facilities and provide coaching and support for staff.

“Combining direct animal service training, coaching, and mentoring with community engagement and legislative action — has had astonishing success in several Texas cities such as Dallas, El Paso, Houston, Palm Valley, and Harlingen,” Shenefiel said. “We know no-kill in every shelter and every community is possible with the resources needed to sustain and scale our work through these challenging times. Through a partnership with the Meadows Foundation, Best Friends will be able to engage with and provide lifesaving resources to more shelters and communities across Texas.”  


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