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Best Friends Animal Society

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animal Training, Animals

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 two million.

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 two million. That’s incredible progress, but it also means that hat means there are still nearly 5,500 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 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

10 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The tragedy of unwanted, abandoned, hoarded and out-lived-the-owner parrots is an enormous sadness. Animal service facilities, shelters, community animal activists, and major NGO's have overlooked this crisis, and continue to ignore the plight of thousands of captive/companion birds. Best Friends Parrot Garden is a hopeful springtime breeze in a desolate environment of ignorance. The staff, volunteers and facilities are geared to the needs of the birds--birds first--to their health, welfare and well-being.

I will recommend to all, far and wide, private and organizational, rescue and private individual, to visit/volunteer/adopt and observe the high standards and procedures embraced by Best Friends and the Parrot Garden. The birds are happy, clean, relaxed, cooperative with volunteers and staff, able to "be birds" AND be loved by humans embracing their various bird-personalities. The birds' individuality is respected and they are given the space, quietude, interaction, and care that each individual demands and needs.

As a veterinarian who has worked with birds for the last 30+ years, I have seen every kind of rescue, shelter, owner, life style, horror, happiness, successful and failed system to care for or rescue birds in need. Parrot Garden is at the top, excellent, and striving to improve even those standards.

Please donate, volunteer or adopt from Best Friends Parrot Garden.

Marthe R.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been in Animal Rescue for over 45 years and I have watched best Friends Animal
Society grow and they are amazing...what they did during the last disaster took my breath
away...they are relentless in getting the job done..spending countless hours for the Cause...Please keep up the good work and the rest of us will do you proud locally in our own chosen cities....thank you so much.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have known about Best Friends for years. They have made such a HUGE impact on So. Cal. animal problems with adoptions, spay neuter programs and other general programs. I am director of a small non profit cat rescue and they work hand in hand with us and so many others. They lead in team building in making us all better and more effective. I can't imagine a world without Best Friends!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Over the years, Best Friends has come through for many other small, struggling rescues across the country, offering the best possible example, innovative approaches, and a leg up. By focusing not on themselves but on helping animals, they have made a huge contribution toward a time when there will be no more homeless pets.


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

A wonderful resource for everyone, including rescues and foster homes across the nation! They are doing great work, educating and staying positive while making a huge difference to animals!


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

What can I say about Best Friends Animal Society? Through their boundless, continued, heartfelt dedication to saving animals, they bring comfort and peace of mind to those of us who love animals, and life, warmth and love to the animals they save.

What else can you say that about?

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I worked in an open admission municipal shelter for 7 years, before I couldn't cope with the compassion fatigue any longer. I took a break, and worked in social services, but I missed the passion I feel working with animals.
I applied to Best Friends, and journeyed there for a 2 week working interview. I was offered a position, but was unable to find housing that would accept my 3 dogs.
So, I decided to use my new knowledge and rekindled spark locally. I accepted a position as the director of a local Humane Society.
I am using everything I learned at Best Friends every day. From tnr/snr programs, open adoption, behavior work, and never giving up, Best Friends showed me that with enough flexibility, forward thinking, and commitment, we really can save them all.


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

This used to be the most admirable animal sanctuary in the country when it was managed by Michael Mountain, but it's been a steady downhill ever since.

Gregory Castle's background more than 10 years back is a complete mystery; certainly he is not a recognized top-notch animal welfare professional. He has some vague history in church and accounting prior to his work with No More Homeless Pets in Utah.

Recently BFAS conducted a nationwide search (via a pricey head-hunter) for a Chief Marketing Officer and a Chief Development Officer -- both jobs with salaries up to $180,000. Gregory Castle's wife, a nice lady with breast cancer and no marketing experience, landed the CMO job.

Michael Mountain took an extremely modest five-figure salary during his entire tenure at BFAS, so to see six-figure salaries (which in Kanab, Utah, is completely uncalled for) becoming routine is very disturbing.

Do you want your donation of $25 or $50 to be just a pittance to these people?

And by the way, they make over $50 million/year and care for at most 2000 animals. Do the math: that's $25,000 per animal. Heck, in Kanab, Utah, you could build a small house for every animal with that much money.

Where is the money going, Best Friends?

Review from CharityNavigator


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.


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/