Information from Maddies Fund web site, a group that gives grants to no-kill shelters.

Q. The term no-kill is frequently bandied about, but what exactly is it?

A. As much as anything, no-kill is a rallying cry; a slogan that defines a movement. The term no-kill clearly and powerfully protests the status quo, that being the killing of millions of savable animals in our nation’s animal shelters every year. At the same time, it describes a new approach to animal sheltering and a new commitment to saving lives within animal welfare organizations.

Q. How does Maddie’s Fund define no-kill?

A. Maddie’s Fund agrees with the generally accepted definition used by no-kill shelters. That is, no-kill means saving both healthy (adoptable) and treatable dogs and cats, with euthanasia reserved only for non-rehabilitable animals.

Q. What are your definitions of adoptable, treatable and non-rehabilitatable?

A.  Healthy (adoptable) animals are "those animals eight weeks of age or older that, at or subsequent to the time the animal is impounded or otherwise taken into possession, have manifested no sign of a behavioral or temperamental defect that could pose a health or safety risk or otherwise make the animal unsuitable for placement as a pet, and have manifested no sign of disease, injury, or congenital or hereditary condition that adversely affects the health of the animal or that is likely to adversely affect the animals health in the future." Healthy (adoptable) animals may be old, deaf, blind, disfigured or disabled.

  A treatable animal is "any animal that is not adoptable but that could become adoptable with reasonable efforts." Sick, injured, traumatized, infant or unsocialized, these animals need appropriate medical treatment, behavior modification and/or foster care to turn them into healthy animals ready for placement.

Non-rehabilitatable. Non-reabilitatable animals are neither healthy (adoptable) nor treatable. They include 1) cats and dogs for whom euthanasia is the most humane alternative due to disease, injury or suffering that can't be alleviated; 2) vicious cats and dogs, the placement of whom would constitute a danger to the public; and 3) cats and dogs who pose a public health hazard.

It was difficult to feel vexed by a creature that burst into a chorus of purring as soon as I spoke to him. ~ Philip Brown