This Is the Man that Turned the U.S. Into a “No Kill” Nation

By Anne Cacherell

Meet Richard Avanzino, also known as the father and the pioneer of the “No Kill Movement,” which promotes a revolutionized form of animal sheltering. This strategy does not kill healthy or treatable animals in shelters; instead it follows a guiding philosophy that provides comfortable housing and medical care to homeless cats and dogs. It also reserves euthanasia for terminally ill animals and for those considered dangerous to public safety.

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During his 22-year tenure (1976-1999) as the President of the San Francisco SPCA, Avanzino created several animal welfare programs that brought euthanasia rates down dramatically. In 1999, he joined Maddie’s Fund, a nonprofit organization that offers grants towards lifesaving community programs that support the status and well-being of companion animals.

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After 17 years of outstanding leadership and remarkable dedication with Maddie’s Fund, the 72-year old “no kill” visionary stepped down in June 2015 to retire from day-today operations. With over 39 years of service in the industry, Avanzino has successfully turned the U.S. into a “No Kill” nation and has become an inspiration to the entire animal welfare movement.

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Do you agree that companion animals should be treated as sentient beings and not as properties? Let’s honor Avanzino’s work by sharing his story.

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