Is Saving Grace “no-kill”?

It would be impossible for Saving Grace to be a “no-kill” shelter without turning away thousands of animals. A “no-kill” shelter is one that saves all the healthy and treatable pets it takes in, with euthanasia reserved only for unhealthy and untreatable animals. (A 10% euthanasia rate is the nationally recognized benchmark for no-kill status.) However, no-kill shelters are often limited admissions. They screen animals at the door based on health, age, breed, and behavior and turn away animals they can’t or choose not to help. In doing this, they prevent taking in animals that they can’t find homes for, which keeps their euthanasia numbers low. These animals are often referred to a local open-admissions shelter.

Saving Grace has an open admission philosophy, which means we accept every animal brought to us regardless of health, age, breed or behavior. Saving Grace is the only open-admissions animal shelter in Douglas County. We often receive feral (meaning wild) cats, dangerous dogs, and terminally ill animals. That could be a 12 year-old dog with severe arthritis and cancer, a dog seized for bite quarantine following an attack, a litter of one-week-old orphaned kittens, a trapped feral cat that is terrified and lashing out, or a happy healthy 3-year-old Yorkie mix. We believe an open admissions policy is essential to providing shelter and care to the thousands of animals that would otherwise have no safe refuge. (Our county contract also requires that we accept every dog and cat brought to us by Douglas County residents.) Our intake and outcome statistics for 2017 are as follows:

Dogs Received in 2017

            460 Strays

            337 Owner Surrender

            118 Seized

            44 Transferred In                 

            959 Dogs Received in 2017


Dog Outcomes in 2017

           373 Returned to Owner

            420 Adopted

            13 Transferred to other shelters

            12 Died/Lost

  77 Euthanasia-Aggressive

  13 Euthanasia-Health/Treatable

  44 Euthanasia-Health/Untreatable


Dog Lifesaving Percentage*: 84.0%


Cats Received in 2017

            1183 Strays

            655 Owner Surrender

  354 Cats spayed/neutered through Trap-Neuter-Return

  17 Seized                   

            2208 Cats Received in 2017


Cat Outcomes in 2017

            52 Returned to Owner

            641 Adopted

            150 Transferred to other shelters

            320 Returned through Trap-Neuter-Return

            16 Died/Lost

  25 Euthanasia-Space

  352 Euthanasia-Health/Treatable

  195 Euthanasia-Health/Untreatable

  371 Euthanasia-Feral/Aggressive


Cat Lifesaving Percentage*: 52.7%


*Lifesaving Percentage is calculated using the ASPCA Live Release Rate formula (Live Outcomes divided by Intake).

We are able to place for adoption or transfer to another shelter or rescue group, all healthy dogs who pass our behavioral evaluation. Some dogs who do not pass this assessment are still able to be transferred to another group with the resources to address their needs if a group can be found that is willing to take the pet. Sadly, the number of cats and kittens far outstrips our resources and there are fewer options to transfer cats as most shelters are overwhelmed with cats from their own communities.

We are always working to improve outcomes for the pets who come to us! Things are changing rapidly!

In late 2017, we built a large play yard to better assess and work with more challenging dogs in group play, and we piloted a Foster-to-Surrender program for underage and sick kittens which we are expanding in 2018. We started a Working Cat Adoption Program in 2018 to place unsocial cats and we are expanding transfers with other shelters. We continue to pour effort into Operation Fix ‘Em, our trap-neuter-return program for feral cats in hopes that some day there will be fewer cats and kittens who need us. These efforts will make a difference and you can help.


Want to help? Volunteer!

Saving Grace depends on volunteers every day to care for the animals. From walking dogs, cleaning kennels and providing foster care to building maintenance and assisting potential adopters, there’s a place at Saving Grace for a variety of talents and interests. Every volunteer helps us provide quality care for pets and give more pets a second chance for love.

Especially needed are foster families! By opening your home and your heart to vulnerable little ones, you can help save lives through fostering. Kittens and puppies must be at least 8 weeks and 2 pounds to be spayed or neutered, as recommended by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Our dedicated foster families care for litter after litter of kittens Spring through Fall, getting them ready. At the height of “kitten season” it’s easy for our foster homes to be full with growing babies. We are always looking for more foster families!


Want to help? Donate!

Veterinary care, vaccines, food, flea treatment, clean kennels every day…caring for animals isn’t cheap! Our contract with Douglas County and shelter fees cover less than half of what it takes to care for the animals and get them ready for adoption. We depend on contributions from kind people like you to provide for the animals’ needs and get them ready for adoption.


$15       Tests one cat for FIV & Feline Leukemia Virus
$45       Spays or Neuters a cat before adoption

$60      Neuters a small dog
$120     Spays a large dog
$250     Vaccinates 25 pets
$450     Provides flea control for our pets for a month
$1,500   Provides medications & medical supplies for a month

Make a SECURE online donation right now with your debit or credit card.


Want to help? Adopt!

Think adoption first. Every pet adopted from Saving Grace has been spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped, received flea treatment and dewormer, and get a free wellness visit with your veterinarian. Dog adoption fees include a collar and ID tag and Douglas County license.

Don’t be sad about seeing the animals available for adoption! There is no time limit for our pets. Every animal who is available for adoption is welcome to stay as long as they are happy and healthy, and we work hard to keep them that way. We want our pets to have a forever home, and we will help you choose a pet who is the right fit of personalities and lifestyles for both of you.


And, of course, spay and neuter your pets!


Paws for a Cause

August 17, 2018

Join us for an evening of great food, live music and dancing at our 9th annual Paws for a Cause Fundraising Dinner and Auction!

Tickets now on sale!