Delaware is making history as the first and only no-kill animal shelter state in the country, according to Best Friends Animal Society, a non-profit animal welfare organization.
For a state to be deemed "no-kill," it must achieve at least a 90% save rate for all cats and dogs entering its shelters.
"Last year, about 733,000 dogs and cats were killed in our nation's animal shelters, simply because they didn't have safe places to call home," the group's website reads. "Together, we can change that and achieve no-kill for dogs and cats nationwide by 2025."
Best Friends also says, "We recognize that, for some animals, euthanasia is the most compassionate choice."
The Delaware news was announced at Best Friends' recent annual conference.
Brandywine Valley SPCA announced the news on their social media accounts last week along with the information that they were recognized by Best Friends for their leadership and dedication in helping with the initiative.
"The Brandywine Valley SPCA has a live release rate of 95% for the more than 14,000 animals a year we intake," Linda Torelli, marketing director of Brandywine Valley SPCA, told CNN. "Within Delaware, we intake more than 60% of the animals entering shelters and more than four times the next largest shelter, so our policies have had a significant impact on the state becoming no-kill."
Torelli says that some of the programs that have helped Delaware become a no-kill state include mega adoption events, trap/neuter/spay programs for cats that otherwise wouldn't be adoptable, low-cost veterinary clinics, education programs and behavioral programs for dogs who need a little more support.
You can view your state's statistics on Best Friends' website. The organization pulls data from the Shelter Animals Count national database along with public websites, government-provided data and voluntary submissions.