LANSING, Michigan (CNN) - Michigan is now officially a no-kill state for shelter animals, WILX-TV reported.
To be a no-kill state, 90 percent of animals must be returned to owners, transferred to other shelters and rescues or adopted, the station said.
"This is an amazing first for our state," said Deborah Schutt, Michigan Pet Fund Alliance founder and chairperson. "When the shelters in a state combine to meet the 90 percent target, that state is considered no-kill for shelter animals. Only Delaware, which has three shelters, compared to 174 in Michigan, also reached the no-kill benchmark last year."
Michigan reached the milestone in 2018.
Schutt said there are still some communities struggling to save animals -- especially cats.
"We will continue to work with shelters and rescue organizations to implement best practices, decrease overall length of stay in the shelter and improve the quality of life for homeless pets while they are in shelter," she told WILX.
The alliance began tracking statistics in 2009 from annual reports submitted by shelters to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
According to the MPFA, approximately 120,000 dogs and cats were being euthanized in Michigan shelters every year then. The MPFA said that number is now just over 13,000.
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