Municipalities which want to enact good policy and improve the local economy should invest in lifesaving at their local shelter. Given the cost savings and additional revenues of doing so (reduced costs associated with killing, enhanced community support, an increase in adoption revenues and other user fees, and additional tax revenues), as well as the positive economic impact of adoptions, a community cannot afford not to embrace No Kill.
Although costs vary somewhat, impounding, caring for, and ultimately killing an animal and disposing of his/her body costs hundreds of dollars. The process is entirely revenue negative to the municipality in contrast to the No Kill approach which:
Transfers costs to private philanthropy (through the use of rescue groups).
Brings in adoption revenue and other user fees.
Supports local businesses.
Beyond the increased revenues and associated savings of No Kill animal control, there are even wider economic benefits to the community. Americans spend $50 billion annually on the care of their companion animals, an amount which is growing every year even as other economic sectors decline.
Spending on animal companions is now the eighth largest sector of the economy. And giving to animal related charities is the fastest growing segment in American philanthropy. This embrace of animals cuts across all political, economic, and social demographics. And communities which adopt a No Kill orientation for animal control are reaping the economic benefits.
Before Reno, Nevada’s No Kill initiative, the shelter adopted out less than 5,000 dogs and cats every year. The remainder was killed at great cost to taxpayers and donors. In 2010, as death rates declined, the number of animals adopted doubled to just under 10,000 adoptions. This resulted in:
Cost savings of roughly $200,000 associated with killing.
Adoption fees brought in almost $250,000 in additional revenues.
The positive economic impact of economic spending by adopters on those animals to community businesses totaled over $12,000,000 in annual sales.
With an average lifespan of roughly 11 years per animal, the total revenues to community businesses over the life of those pets could potentially top $120,000,000.
All these activities also bring in badly needed tax revenues. At an average 6% rate, adoptions over a ten-year period could potentially bring in over $20,000,000 in sales tax alone.
In addition, the businesses then employ people who turn around and spend even more in the community.