In short, yes, The Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin is a no-kill shelter.
What does the term “no-kill” actually mean?
You would think the term “no-kill shelter” means just that; a shelter that does not euthanize animals. For those of us that work in animal welfare, as much as we strive to save all animals, certain circumstances make it extremely difficult at times. Unfortunately, the definition of “no-kill” does not mean no euthanasia.
To be considered “no-kill”, a shelter must have at least a 90% placement rate of all animals in their care. In other words, a shelter cannot euthanize more than 10% of the animals that come through its doors. HSSW’s euthanasia rate in 2020 was 3.5%, and although that percentage is considered good in the animal welfare world, HSSW works hard at trying to lower that percentage year after year. The animals that make up the 3.5% either had injuries or illness too severe to be treated or the animal had untreatable aggression issues that posed a safety risk to other animals or humans.
Please note that animals are never euthanized for time, space, or convenience at HSSW. Between fewer local animals needing new homes and having a successful foster program in place, all HSSW animals that can be saved move on to new loving homes within the community and beyond.
Being “no-kill” means saving every animal that can be saved, healing all animals that can be healed, treating bad behaviors that can be treated, and prioritizing safety and quality of life for both pets and the community. We hope that one day all shelters are able to achieve a no-kill status.