Best Friends Animal Society

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Best Friends Animal Society
Founded 1991
Founder Michael Mountain, et al
Focus Animal welfare, animal rights
Location
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"
Website Best Friends

Best Friends Animal Society, founded in its present form in 1991,[1] 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.[2]

History[edit]

The group originated in Arizona in 1971,[3] developing from The Foundation Faith of the Millennium, a religious group formerly known as the Process Church of the Final Judgment.[4]

The Foundation church relocated animals from its Arizona ranch to property in Kanab, Utah, in 1984.[5] 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.[6]

The sanctuary[edit]

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[7] located in Southwestern Utah in Angel Canyon (formerly Kanab Canyon) near Kanab.[8]

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 1,700 homeless animals.

National Geographic Channel's DogTown series was filmed at the sanctuary,[9] where animals are housed.

Los Angeles shelter[edit]

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.[10][11]

Magazine[edit]

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.[12] 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.[13]

Work after Hurricane Katrina (2005-2010)[edit]

Best Friends' official role in post-Hurricane Katrina operations was that of a primary animal rescue organization.[14][15] Best Friends’ teams entered the hurricane disaster area on September 2, 2005 and stayed eight months in and around New Orleans.[16] 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,[17] and assisted local animal rescue groups following the Peruvian earthquakes of 2007.[18] Best Friends also took in some of former NFL quarterback Michael Vick's fighting dogs.[19] In December 2008, Georgia, one of the former Vick dogs, appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show with Best Friends' dog trainer John Garcia.[20] The two also appeared on CNN's "Larry King Live" show.[21]

The Champions Documentary[edit]

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.[22] The dogs, once owned by NFL Quarterback Michael Vick were, like most dogs pulled from dog fighting rings, expected to be euthanized for fear of aggressive behavior.[23] 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.[24] Dogtown’s producer, Darcy Dennett, later approached Best Friends about a feature length documentary on the same story.[25] 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.[26] The film received the 2015 Zelda Penzel "Giving Voice to the Voiceless" award at the 2015 Hamptons International Film Festival.[27]

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.[28] The Champions was released theatrically through a series of community screenings[29] and became available for digital download on March 1, 2016.[30]

Community cat programs[edit]

In August 2008, Best Friends and PetSmart Charities funded a program called "Feral Freedom" for free-roaming community cats in Jacksonville, Florida.[31][32] 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[33] and other communities.[34] In St. George, Utah, the city partnered with Best Friends on a trap-neuter-return program in January 2013.[35]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Process Church/Best Friends Articles of Incorporation". Louisiana Secretary of State. 
  2. ^ "Article, American Dog Magazine, "Los Angeles Programs Saves Lives in the Entertainment Capital of the World"". Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  3. ^ Charity Navigator - America's Largest Charity Evaluator
  4. ^ Timothy Wyllie (2009). Love Sex Fear Death: The Inside Story of the Process Church of the Final Judgement. Feral House. ISBN 978-1-932595-37-6. 
  5. ^ Glen, Samantha (2001). Best Friends: The True Story of the World's Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary. Kensington. ISBN 978-1-57566-735-5. 
  6. ^ "Friends Find Their Calling". Rocky Mountain News. February 28, 2004. (pay-per-view article)
  7. ^ AR-News: (UT) Best Friends a haven for unwanted animals
  8. ^ Best Friends, an Animal Sanctuary with a Difference, with Faith Maloney, by Diane Cooper
  9. ^ DogTown | Dogtown- National Geographic Channel Archived January 9, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "Los Angeles Times, "Los Angeles to hand over animal shelter to nonprofit group," August 17, 2011". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  11. ^ Los Angeles Daily News', "Nonprofit to run city shelter," August 16, 2011
  12. ^ "A close look at Best Friends Animal Society". Albert Lea Tribune. April 25, 2009. Archived from the original on 2014-10-01. 
  13. ^ The Process Church Timeline (magazine history, page 22)
  14. ^ Manning, Anita (September 3, 2005). "Animal welfare groups rescue abandoned pets". USA Today. Retrieved April 26, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Shaggy survivors still hanging on after Katrina - Health - Pet health - NBC News". msnbc.com. Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  16. ^ Deseret Morning News | Art spotlights rescue of New Orleans pets
  17. ^ "Volunteers say justice not served". Pahrump Valley Times. February 19, 2010. Archived from the original on 2014-10-01. 
  18. ^ "Salt Lake Tribune". Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  19. ^ NBC "Nightly News," "Michael Vick's Dogs Get A Second Chance," May 20, 2009 Archived December 25, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  20. ^ ""DogTown's John Garcia Shares His Story," "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," December 15, 2008". EllenTV. Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  21. ^ "CNN transcripts, "Larry King Live," "Does Michael Vick Deserve A Second Chance?" with Best Friends' John Garcia and former fighting dog Georgia". Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  22. ^ "Vick Case Exposes Rift Among Animal-Rights Advocates". 
  23. ^ "A History of Dogfighting". 
  24. ^ "Saving the Michael Vick Dogs at The Internet Movie Database". 
  25. ^ "HIFF 2015: Compassion, Justice & Animal Rights - Hamptons International Film Festival". 
  26. ^ "The Champions plot synopsis, IMDb". 
  27. ^ "HIFF 2015: Awards". 
  28. ^ "FilmRise Nabs Worldwide Rights To Pit Bull Rescue Documentary 'The Champions'". 
  29. ^ "Tugg, The Champions". 
  30. ^ "The Champions Documentary website". 
  31. ^ First Coast No More Homeless Pets - Annual Report
  32. ^ ""Program gives feral cats shot at freedom: More than 1,200 strays have been spayed or neutered - and saved from euthanasia," Tia Mitchell, The Florida Times-Union, November 20, 2008". Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  33. ^ "City shelter wins $700k grant to save cats", Amy Worden, The Inquirer, August 25, 2014.
  34. ^ "First Coast No More Homeless Pets Annual Report 10.01.12-9.30.13", at p. 9.
  35. ^ "St. George, Best Friends working together to save lives of community cats", Best Friends Animal Society, January 08, 2014.

External links[edit]