No Kill South Carolina aims to eliminate unnecessary euthanasia in our state. A key strategy is encouraging communities across the state to embrace programs that keep animals out of their shelters – with fantastic results! Check out the maps to see the progress we’ve made statewide!

What does “No Kill” mean?

At No Kill South Carolina, we define “no kill” as saving every healthy and treatable animal – eliminating unnecessary euthanasia for dogs and cats. Pets with no medical or behavioral issues should be saved, as well as those that would have a good quality of life if their issues were addressed.

Heartbreakingly, some animals deserve euthanasia in the most humane sense or the word: those unhealthy and untreatable animals are either suffering from severe injury of illness, or they simply are not safe to put out in society.

You might have heard that a no kill shelter is one that euthanizes fewer than 10% of the animals they take in. That definition is fine, but the qualitative approach makes more sense for us. After all, who says 10% of animals that enter a shelter are unhealthy or untreatable?

Here in Charleston County, it’s only about 6 or 7%. In some communities it may be higher, in some it may be lower. Many shelters in South Carolina don’t have the capacity to track that level of detail. Suffice to say that communities saving more than 90% of their sheltered animals are doing a really good job!

The Difference Between a No Kill Shelter and a No Kill Community
Any shelter can close its doors and stop accepting animals so they aren’t forced to euthanize animals to make room. Many wonderful shelters go that route! But it doesn’t say anything about what’s happening to companion animals in the community at-large.

A No Kill Community is one where no healthy or treatable animal is euthanized, anywhere. Charleston County is a No Kill Community. Greenville County is now a No Kill Community. We’re working to make South Carolina a No Kill State.

The Lifesaving Equation

Eliminating unnecessary euthanasia is only half the lifesaving equation. Quality of life is just as important as life itself. Eliminating euthanasia without changing any other policies could lead to an inhumane hoarding situation, since the number of animals leaving the shelter is lower, but intake is the same as ever. Lifesaving cannot come at the expense of humane care.

Abigail Appleton is the No Kill South Carolina Director. The program is an initiative of Charleston Animal Society and is made possible thanks to investment from the Petco Foundation.


A NO KILL COMMUNITY Homeless animals are a community problem that requires a community solution. Keeping animals out of shelters in the first place is the best way to prevent euthanasia in your community. You can help!

  • Volunteer as a foster parent.
  • Provide support to pet owners in need in your community.
  • Spay and neuter your pet.
  • Keep your pet safe at home with a microchip and tag.
  • Help spay and neuter community cats in your neighborhood.
  • Found an animal? Try to locate its owner first before calling animal control.
  • Investintrainingforyourpuppy.Naughty behaviors aren’t so cute in adult dogs.
  • If you need to rehome your pet, use or to find a new owner yourself