|Location Kanab, Utah|
|Website Best Friends|
Headquarters Utah, United States
|Focus Animal welfare, animal rights|
Origins Foundation Faith of the Millennium; Process Church of the Final Judgment
Key people Gregory Castle, CEO & Cofounder
Slogan "No More Homeless Pets" and "Save Them All"
CEO Gregory Castle (Jan 2010–)
Origin The Process Church of The Final Judgment
Motto "No More Homeless Pets" and "Save Them All"
Founders Gregory Castle, Ernst Paul Eckhoff, Michael Mountain
Similar American Society for the Preve, The Humane Society of, Alley Cat Allies, Farm Sanctuary, Animal Legal Defense
Best Friends Animal Society, founded in its present form in 1991, is an American nonprofit 501(c)(3) animal welfare organization. Best Friends works nationwide in outreach programs with shelters, rescue groups and members to promote pet adoption, no-kill animal rescue, and spay-and-neuter practices.
- Visionaries best friends animal society
- The sanctuary
- Los Angeles shelter
- Work after Hurricane Katrina 2005 2010
- The Champions Documentary
- Community cat programs
Visionaries best friends animal society
The group originated in Arizona in 1971, developing from The Foundation Faith of the Millennium, a religious group formerly known as the Process Church of the Final Judgment.
The Foundation church relocated animals from its Arizona ranch to property in Kanab, Utah, in 1984. In 1991, the church was renamed Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, which became a tax-exempt, nonprofit charity, and in 2003 renamed Best Friends Animal Society.
After the Foundation church moved to the current sanctuary grounds in 1984, the founders eventually began informally calling it "Best Friends" until 1991 when it officially began operating as Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, a no-kill shelter located in Southwestern Utah in Angel Canyon (formerly Kanab Canyon) near Kanab.
The sanctuary is on 3,700 acres (15 km2) with an additional 33,000 acres (130 km2) leased from the United States Bureau of Land Management near Zion National Park, the Grand Canyon's North Rim, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Lake Powell. The sanctuary is home to around 1,500 homeless animals.
National Geographic Channel's DogTown series was filmed at the sanctuary, where animals are housed.
Los Angeles shelter
In August 2011, the city of Los Angeles contracted Best Friends to operate and manage its Northeast Valley Shelter, which the city could no longer afford to run. Under the contract, Best Friends was to provide adoptions for shelter animals and spay and neuter services for the community.
The group publishes Best Friends, a bimonthly magazine about animals, animal welfare, news events, and activities at the sanctuary. The magazine, according to the group's website, has 200,000 subscribers, which is distributed free to members. Originating as the Foundation magazine in 1975, the first edition of Best Friends magazine was published in 1993 after the name change two years earlier from a religious group to an animal sanctuary.
Work after Hurricane Katrina (2005-2010)
Best Friends' official role in post-Hurricane Katrina operations was that of a primary animal rescue organization. Best Friends’ teams entered the hurricane disaster area on September 2, 2005 and stayed eight months in and around New Orleans. Best Friends did not have a significant presence doing animal disaster rescue or recovery work prior to Hurricane Katrina.
After Katrina, Best Friends helped Pets Alive, an animal shelter in New York state, and rescued about 800 cats from an institutional hoarding situation in Nevada, and assisted local animal rescue groups following the Peruvian earthquakes of 2007. Best Friends also took in some of former NFL quarterback Michael Vick's fighting dogs. In December 2008, Georgia, one of the former Vick dogs, appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show with Best Friends' dog trainer John Garcia. The two also appeared on CNN's "Larry King Live" show.
The Champions Documentary
In 2007, Best Friends petitioned the state of Virginia in an attempt to save the dogs seized from the Bad Newz Kennels dog fighting investigation. The dogs, once owned by NFL Quarterback Michael Vick were expected to be euthanized for fear of aggressive behavior. Best Friends took in 22 of the most traumatized dogs from the Michael Vick case and rehabilitated re-homed many of them.
The ensuing story of rehabilitation was profiled in an episode of the National Geographic Channel program, DogTown. Dogtown’s producer, Darcy Dennett, later approached Best Friends about a feature length documentary on the same story. Released in October 2015, ‘’The Champions’’ covers the stories of five of the dogs in detail, and the impact the dogs have had not just on the people who adopted them, but also the way society looks at dogs rescued from fighting cases, and the Pit bull breed in general. The film received the 2015 Zelda Penzel "Giving Voice to the Voiceless" award at the 2015 Hamptons International Film Festival.
The film features the work of both Best Friends Animal Society and BAD RAP, an Oakland, California based animal welfare rescue group.
FilmRise acquired the rights to the film in November 2015. The Champions was released theatrically through a series of community screenings and became available for digital download on March 1, 2016.
Community cat programs
In August 2008, Best Friends and PetSmart Charities funded a program called "Feral Freedom" for free-roaming community cats in Jacksonville, Florida. The program was conceived by Rick Ducharme of First Coast No More Homeless Pets.
Similar programs were funded with a grant from PetSmart Charities and implemented by Best Friends in Albuquerque, New Mexico, DeKalb County, Georgia, San Antonio, Texas, Baltimore, Maryland, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and other communities. In St. George, Utah, the city partnered with Best Friends on a trap-neuter-return program in January 2013.