Michigan achieves ‘no-kill’ animal shelter status

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MARQUETTE COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) — It was announced earlier this week that Michigan is now officially recognized as a no-kill animal shelter state. The Michigan Pet Fund Alliance releases an annual report with every shelters’ live release percentage.

Live release is classified as:

  • An animal being adopted
  • An animal being returned to their owners
  • An animal transferred to another shelter

“When we started doing this the live release rate was probably about 46% a decade ago and in 2019 the live release rate was 90%,” explains Deborah Schutt, Chair of the Michigan Pet Fund Alliance. “The industry recognized that no-kill comes with 90% because there will always be animals that are too sick or too viscous and then the kindest thing to do is to euthanize.”

Courtesy Michigan Pet Fund Alliance

Michigan is only the second state to be officially recognized as a no-kill state, along with Delaware. However, according to the Michigan Pet Fund Alliance, Delaware only has 3 shelters compared to Michigan’s 174 shelters.

The Upper Peninsula, specifically, is helping to lead the way for the rest of the state.

“The U.P. has been leaders in the state towards the no-kill goal,” says Deborah. “Every single county in the U.P. is no-kill.”

This excludes Luce County that does not have a licensed animal shelter. Find specific percentages for U.P. shelters below.

The Upper Peninsula communities have a lot to do with reaching this no-kill goal.

“Without the community, it just does not happen,” says Ann Brownell, Community Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator at the Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter. “Without them supporting us, donations, adoptions, spreading the word…the community makes us, the community makes no-kill, they decide we will be no-kill.”


Below are live release percentages for U.P. shelters, as reported by the Michigan Pet Fund Alliance. This percentage represents the number of animals that are adopted, returned, or transferred.

  • Ishpeming Township Animal Control (MARQUETTE) — 100%
  • Delta Animal Shelter (DELTA) — 100%
  • Chippewa County Animal Shelter (CHIPPEWA) — 99%
  • Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter (MARQUETTE) — 99%
  • Help Orphaned Pets Everywhere (GOGEBIC) — 99%
  • Copper Country Humane Society (HOUGHTON) — 98%
  • Northwoods Animal Shelter (IRON) — 98%
  • Alger County Animal Shelter (ALGER) — 98%
  • Ontonagon County Animal Protection (ONTONAGON) — 97%
  • Eva Burrell Animal Shelter (SCHOOLCRAFT) — 97%
  • Almost Home Animal Shelter-Dickinson County (DICKINSON) — 94%
  • Menominee Animal Shelter (MENOMINEE) — 93%
  • Mackinac County Animal Shelter (MACKINAC) — 91%

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