Over 1.8 million nonprofits and charities for donors, volunteers and funders

2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Best Friends Animal Society

48,138 pageviews

Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animal Training, Animals, Cats

Mission: Best Friends Animal Society is the only national animal welfare organization focused exclusively on ending the killing of dogs and cats in America's shelters. To this end, Best Friends works with shelters, rescue groups and our members nationwide on a variety of grassroots programs. By implementing targeted spay/neuter and community cat programs – trap/neuter/return (TNR) programs – to reduce the number of animals who enter shelters, and by increasing the number of people who adopt pets, we know we can end the killing. We know we can Save Them All®.

Results: When Best Friends began in 1984, some 17 million animals died every year in our nation’s shelters, simply for not having safe places to call home. Today, that number is down to about 800,000.

Target demographics: pets in shelters find homes.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 187,693 animals

Geographic areas served: local and national arenas

Programs: • Best Friends Animal Society is the only national animal welfare organization dedicated exclusively to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters. When Best Friends began in 1984, some 17 million animals died every year in America’s shelters, simply for not having homes. Today, that number is down to about 800,000. That’s incredible progress, but it also means that hat means there are still nearly 2,000 dogs and cats killed every day in shelters, just because they don’t have safe places to call home. Together, we can change that. • For more than 30 years, Best Friends has been running the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals and building effective programs all across the country that reduce the number of animals entering shelters and increase the number who find homes. Join us. Together, we can Save Them All®.

Community Stories

698 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is, by far, the best-run non-profit with which I've dealt. They focus on the positives of what they are doing, rather than the abuse that some of these animals have gone through. Yes, we know that many of the animals come from a rough background. Why dwell on it?

I love the "everyone can make a difference" attitude they possess. This transfers over into their volunteer program at the sanctuary. They rely heavily on volunteers to help with the daily chores, and they have to coordinate and manage thousands of volunteers each year. No small task. I am amazed at how well their program is run, and how each staff member treats them with respect and appreciation, even if they have no experience working with animals.

I have volunteered at the sanctuary 4 times over the past 6 years, and it's always one of my favorite trips, not just for the animals, but to work with a fine organization. Every organization can learn from Best Friends on how to run a great non-profit, and they are willing to share their experiences to help other rescue groups be successful. Best Friends is one of my top picks for donations and volunteering.

Susan234

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was a supporter and went for a visit to Best Friends. I found the whole experience simply wonderful. From the minute my husband and I arrived we were greeted by great folks who were friendly and knowledgeable. The animals appeared to be well taken care of and happy and were treated as individuals. There were many volunteers who were there feeding animals and walking dogs and cats. I wouldn't hesitate to tell anyone to support this fine group of people. They are some of the most compassionate and caring people I've ever met.

Donor

Rating: 5

I believe in what they want to do A world with no homeless pets. also they are educating people on spayed and neutering there animals. Also for helping all animals

1 Christine2345

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I visited Best Friends in 2006. The sanctuary is beautiful and all the animals I saw appeared happy and healthy. It is great to see a place where special needs animals are not turned away or euthanized. It was also nice to see that there is an area maintained for rehab of local wildlife. Allowing members of the public to visit and volunteer helps spread the word about animal needs and also benefits the sanctuary financially. I voluteered in the rabbit area, which at the time did seem in need of expansion, but I understand that it has been renovated since then.

Chris234

Client Served

Rating: 5

Best Friends is one of the best places on earth!!! They are extremely caring and helpful. I adopted my youngest dog from them. Since the dog had to be flown to me when he was old enough, they constantly checked in to make sure things were ok....and are still in touch today. I recommend Best Friends to everyone. I love the place. Hopefully someday, whether soon or in retirement, I would like to work or volunteer there. Love them!!! You can't find better!! It is such an amazing place to have where no animal is turned away!!

Barbara234

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Best Friends is a in vast wonderland of beautiful scenery and awesome red rocks. My granddaughter, Jillian, and I had the very special privilege of visiting the Sanctuary for a week and volunteering for many kinds of animals with a concentration on cats. Entering one of the cat buildings is almost surreal. There are cats everywhere, many of which are special needs kitties. For example, we saw two black cats, one of whom was three-legged and the other was born with no back paws. Both came right to Jillian and me when we arrived to volunteer. The cat rooms were just full of fun toys and hideaways for the cats. Each had a huge outside area which looked like a playground with nooks, crannies, rafters, and trees! Once an animal comes to Best Friends, any who are not adopted are safe in this loving, no-kill environment. Jillian and I were able to take a lovely kitty, Rosita, for two sleepovers at our motel. What fun that was! I can't emphasize enough the caring and love at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

Kara A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I visited BFAS in the summer of 2003 to volunteer for ten days...a "Volun-cation". I flew into Las Vegas, rented a car, and drove the scenic 3.5 hours to the small town of Kanab. I stayed at the Shiloh Inn (a pet-friendly and very affordable motel).

As a volunteer at BFAS I worked in Dog Town, Horse Haven and the Bunny House. I took a dog back to my hotel each evening for an overnight "slumber party" in which you are able help the animal's chances of getting adopted by reporting back to shelter staff the next day about the animal's behavior in a "home setting."

My experience at the Sanctuary was amazing, the staff was friendly and welcoming, the vegan cafeteria has the most amazing view (and good food!), and working with the animals, while being hard physical work, was absolutely delightful. I've never had a more pleasant Volun-cation and would recommend the every animal-lover at least tour the Sanctuary and canyon if they're unable to have an extended stay!

P.S. While in the area, I highly recommend you make some side trips to Bryce Canyon (do guided horseback ride!), Zion National Park (driving through and taking pictures is sufficient), and the Coral Pink Sand Dunes (rent a dune buggy!). Beautiful!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I spent one day volunteering at Best Friends in September 2010. The experience was better than I could have ever imagined. We were able to spend time in a puppy socialization class, walk a pair of dogs, bring two dogs to a wall flower class and then spend the afternoon helping out in Old Friends.

We both really enjoyed our day and can't wait to go back to help out again, this time for a longer period. Everyone from the employees to other volunteers were extremely friendly and helpful.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My first time donating was to the MSPCA here in MA for they annual dogwalk, I had just lost my dog at age 16yrs. I then was ask to take a dog that was being misstreated by its owner and I did he was so underfeed and skinny so I took him and got him back to health and every since that time which was over 8yrs ago, I've be donating money to the BestFriends in Utah and Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem, MA every month for the wondeful work that they do in saving so many animals of all shapes and sizes. I will continue to donate financially even when my dog passes under the Rainbow Bridge....

Lori234

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been supporting Best Friends for approximately 4-5 years. The work they do with homeless animals of all kinds, is incredible. They have helped during Hurricane's, the Vik disaster, and multiple others. Personally what they have done for me, is make me realize, that all Puppy Mills, should be shut down, and I will never purchase another animal. My current pets are both rescue animals.

Debbie234

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have visited Best Friends twice in the last 11 years. Both visits were magical. The feeling of love that surrounds the red canyons where Best Friends reside is an unbelievable feeling. The animals are happy, healthy well cared for and LOVED. I hope to go back at least one more time in my lifetime.

Allie H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love volunteering at Best Friends. The work they do with the "unadoptables" is absolutely incredible. You can really see the love and care they invest in each of the animals in their care. I volunteered at Dog Town for 2 days. The caregivers treat all volunteers as adults, with great respect and are truely happy for any and all activities/time that is given. The Sanctuary is a very peaceful place, and each staff member is friendly, helpful, and genuinely happy to be there.

I am going back with a group of girlfriends in Sept 2011, and I am very excited!!!

Sean Perry

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a long time donor of Best Friends and will be doing volunteer work in the near future. The organization is the most impressive and driven organization I have found in regards to pet rescue, do not kill, and no more homeless pets initiatives. The fact they will not say no to rescue any pet regardless of temper or medical needs and try and rehabilitate it and find it a home if possible is remarkable. Taking what were considered the hardest cases of the Vick Pit Terrier dogs and rehabilitating them the way they have is just one of many cases where they have stepped in to help give a pet a happier world to live in. I will continue to support this organization as much as I can.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for Best Friends on many occassions in dogs, cats, pigs, horses, wildlife, and birds. The caregivers that work at Best Friends are some of the most compassionate people I have ever experienced, caring for so many animals who come from unfortunately situations. It is amazing to watch the animals respond to the people who take care of them day in and day out. Their fears subside and you can actually see them come back to life!
The programs that Best Friends has outside of the sanctuary in LA, Vegas, Salt Lake City, NYC and many other places continue to education the public and help those in need. Two programs that are really cool : Pup My Ride and Puppy Mill Transport. Check it out on their webpage-www.bestfriends.org!

Angie W.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at Best Friends a few years ago and fell in love with not only the beautiful location but with the dedication I saw from everyone involved. Since that time I have thought often of returning and unfortunately I have not been able to make that happen but dream of it often. It is such a special place!!

Review from CharityNavigator

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've worked with this charity for many years as a volunteer. I've visited the Sanctuary many times and the care the animals receive is far beyond anything available anywhere else. I volunteer on the Animal Help Line, and received very good training and resources, and have always been treated with friendship and kindness. I

Review from CharityNavigator

1

Donor

Rating: 5

My very good friend who passed away from cancer was involved with many charities. This was the charity she chose for memorial donations.
She researched it well, and was so impressed with the care and compassion of the people involved at all levels

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

When my daughter in law started working for Best Friends over 2 years ago, we talked about my visiting while she was working on site. We got to do that in May of 2011. We took a guided tour that was a highlight of my trip. Everyone we met was friendly and caring and intent on taking such personal care of each and every animal. We watched a volunteer brushing a pig, a group of workers helping an obese horse get on its feet and a dog that could not walk being given a ride on a golf cart (because he loves it). The whole place was very clean and beautifuly taken care of. Many improvement projects were in the works. I live in Maryland but hope to get back again sometime. I tell everyone that Best Friends is a great place to visit and volunteer.

Review from CharityNavigator

Rachel B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I visited Best Friends for the first time May of 2011. I was overwhelmed with everything about the sanctuary. The staff was awesome and made sure you were well knowledgeable about what to do in all cases while you were volunteering. They are truly dedicated to all of the animals that reside there. The grounds and facilities were amazing, beautiful, well maintained and appropriate for all of the animals that are cared for there. The work that is done is so necessary for the animals that come to call it home. I had a wonderful time working with cats, it was so satisfying to know I had a small part in helping. This is truly a great organization and I am glad I had the chance to witness and help out first hand.

Review from CharityNavigator

Jen H.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a donor and volunteer of this organization since I learned of them in 2009. I came to Kanab and volunteered in the Fall of 2009. I love the staff that I met and worked with while here. They inspired me to become a part of my local shelter at home and offer their dogs and cats the same care and love that we gave while out in Utah.

Many shelters and rescues do the very best that they can on their limited income. Best Friends has been able to develop an amazing institution for animal care until they can find their forever homes. Not only do I love the staff, the facility, and the animals, but I am so proud of the organization. I am proud of them for seeing the bigger picture and taking on homeless pets across the world and trying to change how everyone views animals.

I hope that they continue their mission, and inspire others to help in their local campaigns. I actually moved to Kanab in 2010 in order to futher assist the organization, but I am not an employee. Keep up the great work.

Review from CharityNavigator

Cheryl H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In June 2011 I visited Best Friends for the 4th time. I attended the art retreat and volunteered with my daughter, mother, & sister. The art retreat revived my artistic spirit and was so much fun. While volunteering you get to interact with so many different animals and hear their stories. The staff is very welcoming and thankful for your time and energy. The ground are beautiful. The cafe is a great place to eat (and no animals were harmed). It is nice to be in a large place with lots of people who are all working for the same thing you are - no more homeless animals. The sanctuary is very clean and a great temporary home. The first time I visited I was shocked at how clean the whole place was. I expected to be covered in cat hair and that was not the case.

Review from CharityNavigator

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We had visited Best Friends last fall, but returned in July, 2011 to tour the entire facility and also to volunteer. The experience was heartwarming - the staff of over 400 caring for dogs,cats, sick dogs and sick cats, pigs, birds, horses, wild animals such as mink and turkeys------ had to have been picked by the animals they lovingly cared for. This no kill sanctuary rehabilitates troubled or sick animals with the hope that they will be adopted to their "forever home", but if that is not possible, the ones that must stay receive loving care until the end of their days. This is truly God's work, carried out by loving caregivers.

Review from CharityNavigator

Steven P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After years of following the Best Friends organization and supporting the cause, I was finally able to spend a month in Kanab volunteering on site. Best Friends does a great job of engaging their supporters through their online community, magazine, and Guardian Angel program; but to actually be on site and see the animals and how well the staff interacts with and cares for the animals was truly inspiring. Most employees have taken significant pay cuts to follow their passions and the company has attracted experts despite the less-than-competitive pay and remote location. Throughout any given day, a caregiver, trainer, or rehabilitator will give a free demonstration detailing some of the basics of animal care. Spending a month on site, I was able to visit every animal area. I can only say that I wish they had the resources to house more homeless animals until the day that they can achieve their goal of no more homeless pets.

Review from CharityNavigator

Chris P.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Best Friends is one of the best run organizations in the non-profit industry, not just animal welfare. The sanctuary amazing and how they treat their animals second to none (they have a freakin' water therapy treadmill!), but being leaders in animal welfare initiatives is where they also shine. Pitt Bull Terrier education, cat initiatives, national conferences, and the work they do to send money to and help smaller shelters. Across all departments and channels this organization is top notch.

Review from CharityNavigator

Volunteer

Rating: 5

2011 will be my third year volunteering at the Best Friends Sanctuary in Kanab, UT. It is a trip that I look forward to each year! Interacting with the animals and working at the Sanctuary is truly a life changing experience that really can't be explained in words. You must visit the sanctuary and experience the magic yourself!

The Staff at Best Friends are all so friendly and welcoming to the volunteers as well. They really make a positive impact for the animals in the world and I'm grateful to be a part of it.

Review from CharityNavigator

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I finally had the chance to visit the Sanctuary, and I'm glad I did. I can honestly say that they must hire their staff based on how nice they are, because everyone seemed *earnestly* happy that you were there. (warning if you go: it gets HOT in july.)

Coming from the northeast I'm used to seeing dogs running around in grass, so it was a bit shocking to see them running around on that red earth. My first thoughts were "aren't they hot?" But I volunteered at Dogtown and none of the dogs seemed uncomfortable. It's a little depressing to see how many dogs are there, especially the older ones that are going to have such a hard time being adopted. But I suppose that's better than being in a shelter.

And if you do go stay at the sanctuary.... VOLUNTEER AT THE PIG AREA! It's wonderful!!

Review from CharityNavigator

chemyn

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a supporter for many years, and finally was able to spend a week volunteering this summer. The experience far exceeded my expectations. Every staff member we met, without exception, was incredibly dedicated to making sure that the animals in their care received the best care possible, including daily walks, outings, socialization, training, diet, medical care, etc. Even caretakers who worked in other areas would know the names and history of dogs that I was walking, as I passed them by. I witnessed the elation of caretakers when one of their dogs left to go to their forever home, and the deep sadness when one dog lost her battle with cancer while I was there. They put the needs of these dogs, cats, horses, pigs, goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds and others ahead of their own, and have created a true sanctuary, in every sense of the word. The staff members were also incredibly welcoming and patient with the volunteers, including those of us who hadn't been there before and had tons of questions.

Ricki

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have visited two separate times and stayed for a week each time - staying in the cabins near the Horse Headquarters. Went with family members and had the best experiences ever! Walking dogs, grooming and feeding horses, taking dogs for overnights, cleaning enclosures, sitting with nervous dogs trying to help acclimate them to human beings, playing with cats and cleaning kitty enclosures - the list of opportunities to help just goes on and on - each one better than the last! The staff are absolutely incredible! they know each animal by name, all of their quirks, what their individual needs are. I am an animal rescuer myself ( exotic cats from the entertainment industry ) and know how hard these people work. Everyone should give them 5 stars!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Disregard any quacks who indicate this is other than a sterling operation that has withstood audits, investigations, slander and libel only to remain at the top of the game. Over 100,000 volunteers contribute labor annually. Their founder Michael Mountain takes a meager salary of $40,000+ annually. Try living on that in Kanab! The Humane Society and other organizations work hand in hand with BF as do global animal rights organizations and activists.

Those who say otherwise have another agenda possibly due to envy or rejection as a poor employee or scam artist.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 1

Best Friends is an evil scam and a big money maker. Some of the volunteers think it is great, but they are the kind of people that gladly drank the Jim Jones Kool Aid. The money goes to the old "Process Church of the Final Judgement". This is who founded Best Friends. If you think they are good people, Then do the research and look them up. Stopped being fool by the cute fuzzy animal slick ads.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 2

I am curious about the specifics relating to $30,026,237 of Annual Expenses, since Best Friends uses volunteers. What are the itemized annual expense items and amounts? What are the itemized details relating of the Net Assets of $27,385,285? Is the property leased arms-length to Best Friends by a third party or is a principal getting lease rent payments? If so, how much is the lease rent payment? If the property is owned by Best Friends, was sold it to Best Friends in an arms-length transaction or did a principal make a profit? If so, how much was the profit? What disclosures have been made by Best Friends to their contributors regarding the expenses, the assets and the property ownership

Review from CharityNavigator

2

Donor

Rating: 4

As both a volunteer and a donor I have worked in the field for rescue operations as well as visitng/interviewing at the Kabab site. Best Friends is an AMAZING place. The canyon is the most peaceful setting I have ever been in. The volunteers and mid-level staff are exceptionally dedicated and talented. And of course, the animals, magnificent and take your heart away. I have volunteer on the Pup My Ride projects. Also amazing and made me feel as though I was truly helping the dogs. The staff was tireless in their efforts as was the transport organization. I have worked as an executive in the nonprofit sector for over 20 years and I know the challenges faced by management. However, I will say that there is certainly a deification of the Founders, and they suck up every bit of it as egos and personalities expand expotentiallly. They need to diversity their leadership as to dispel both the myth and reality of a cult like atmosphere among the 19 Founders. The CEO that they brought in from the outside several years ago fought a gallant battle to bring new energy and effort to the cause. However, he is gone because, among other things, he questioned the founding fathers and mothers. BFAS does amazing work and lets many people find a place for their passion and compassion to be realized. However, it is time for the Founders to pass the torch. Otherwise, the effort begins to seem more like self-angrandizement than selfless work.

Review from Guidestar

9 Lora726

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first volunteered with Best Friends after Hurricane Katrina and have since volunteered in Pahrump, NV, as part of the Great Kitty Rescue of 800 abandonded cats, and also at the Sanctuary in Kanab several times. I live in NJ, so this is a significant commitment on my part. I have seen first hand the dedication of the staff, several of whom have become friends, and opened their hearts and homes to me.

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've visited Best Friends Animals Sanctuary twice for a week each. I've never been to a more magical place. I walked different dogs every day, even taking one on a day trip to the North Rim. I played with cats (offered to clean but the guy working there said he would clean if I wouldn't mind just socializing them :) And I got to pet one cat that had previously not let anyone touch her. A year later she was adopted!!!) The dogs are fed separately so that notations can be made if any dog isn't finishing their food. Cat have multiple feeding stations so the scared ones can eat up in the rafters if they want. They all have beds and toys. One year I wanted to adopt a dog from there and the lady in charge of adoptions was SO wonderful and patient with me. I asked a million questions and when I decided to adopt from a local shelter (since a Best Friends animal is so cared for and won't be put to sleep) she was very happy with my decision instead of being upset with all the time she spent with me. I got to help trainers with an unruly dog. He learned some cool stuff with me! A local dog was being mistreated and Best Friends worked with local law enforcement to take care of him. I even took dogs on overnighters and would fill out paperwork in the morning (where dog slept, did he bark, was he afraid of anything) so potential adopters would know this info up front. I can't wait to go back!!!

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

Best Friends is no longer a honest organization. They like HSUS and PETA decieve people into believing they love animals. Nothing is futher from the truth. They love money and fame.

5

Donor

Rating: 1

Best Friends, or Worst Friends as I prefer to call them, is a fraud. They sit on thousands of acres of land and millions of dollars in the bank, but do ABSOLUTLY NOTHING for the local community. We are in dire need of a local animal shelter in Kanab, but will Worst Friends help? You have got to be kidding! They would rather spend money on saving animals in Lebanon, Peru, the Michael Vick pit bulls, etc. Why? Because it is great publicity and rakes in the dollars. Kanab and Kane County need an animal shelter and if Worst Friends would actually live up to their Best Friends title they would provide it. One of the Founders was once overheard to say that in addition to the to the land at the sanctuary itself, they also had title to a large amount of acreage very remote. This land cannot be used for sanctuary purposes becuase of its location and it's understood that you need a 4WD to get access to it. Why do they have this additional land? Remember, the people were originally known as the Process Church so is this property used to hide religious ceremonies from public view? With Worst Friends almost anything is possible!

10

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

Fueled by donations of over $35 million their activities have spread across the country and beyond. A great deal of good is done both in helping animals in need and also educating the public and lawmakers. However, like a few other large and successful charities, they have changed in many ways over the years. Some of them not visible or so pleasant. Near Kanab, Utah, they have the largest domestic animal sanctuary in this country. Each year, thousands of people visit their Sanctuary and hundreds more post their feelings on the forums and news blogs from Best Friends Animal Society. Many stories have been heard for the past few years, about things there not being quite as advertised. In their Dogtown series at http://www.bestfriends.org/dogtown/index.cfm?csid=2759&csii=2763&csit=Set they describe the "real" Dogtown and say, "Breakfast in the morning, treats in the afternoon, nice walks, and lots of afternoon snoozes. It’s like a giant summer camp for dogs! Everyone’s really nice to you, and there are lots of new faces everywhere. Dog faces, people faces. But they’re all happy. And there’s none of the fear that was all around you before." But, in the past years those other stories have grown and many of their donors are bringing up questions on the Best Friends forums. Questions about what Best Friends is saying. Questions about omitted details and honesty. For several months now, on their dog forums, Best Friends has been deleting many of these posts. Now, they've started doing the same deletions on their News Blogs. More and more, it seems to appear that publicity and donations are their primary aim and that the welfare of the animals now comes second. While still better than some small shelters, little of what they said above about the "real" Dogtown seems to be really true at Dogtown. After looking at walk lists at their Sanctuary and talking to people, I have to say that I've never really been at a summer camp where I was ignored for weeks at a time, while at the same time other people wrote about me by name, with all the walks and attention I was getting. The very friendly dogs and those with publicity get a lot of attention, but only them. I also spoke with some of their former staff, or tried to do so. Most are afraid to say anything and some even explained why. After recently firing their previous CEO, perhaps things will change for the better once they find a new one. I certainly hope so, as so many people feel they are among the best. Maybe some day that will be true again. In the meantime, I see struggling local shelter who get no help from them and that's where I'm headed. http://bestfriendz.wordpress.com/ http://animalliberationfront.com/AR_Orgs/Best Friends-beginnings.htm http:/kanab.net/BFWF http://circlesphere.blogspot.com/