The ASPCA has also teamed up with 11 communities from Tampa, Fla., to Spokane, Wash., in no-kill efforts, Sayres said.
He believes he will see a no-kill nation, at least for dogs, in his lifetime. Cats may take a little longer because of the large feral population, he said.
The euthanasia issue attracted some attention this week when it was reported that a stray cat being held at a West Valley City, Utah, animal shelter survived two trips to the shelter's gas chamber. The shelter has stopped trying to kill the cat, named Andrea, and she has been adopted. Shelter officials are investigating why the gassing failed.
Best Friends Animal Society operates the country's largest no-kill sanctuary for abandoned and abused animals. The Kanab, Utah, preserve is home to 1,700 dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, horses and wildlife undergoing rehabilitation, said Best Friends director Gregory Castle.
More than 800 grass-roots rescue organizations belong to Best Friends' No More Homeless Pets Network and are working to make their communities no-kill, Castle said. Attendance at an annual conference for network members has grown from 250 in 2001 to 1,300 last year.
The sanctuary's newest venture is a groundbreaking effort involving what Castle believes is the largest public-private partnership ever forged in the no-kill movement.
Best Friends is going to operate a shelter for the Department of Animal Services in Los Angeles as an adoption and spay and neuter center, he said. All animals will come from six open-admission Los Angeles city shelters.
The coalition's initial goal is 3,000 adoptions and 6,000 sterilization procedures, Castle said.
Differences in the varying no-kill campaigns are mostly a matter of nuance, Castle said, and how you define sick and aggressive.
Nathan Winograd, director of the Oakland-based No Kill Advocacy Center, believes 95 percent of all animals entering shelters can be adopted or treated. And even though the other 5 percent might be hopelessly injured, ill or vicious, he said they should not all be doomed.
Some, if not most of them, can be cared for in hospice centers or sanctuaries, he said. As for pit bulls and other dogs with aggressive reputations, he said shelters need to do a better job of trying to find them homes.
The AP-Petside.com Poll was conducted Oct. 13-17, 2011, by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications. It involved landline and cellphone interviews with 1,118 pet owners. Results among pet owners have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.
AP Global Director of Polling Trevor Tompson, Deputy Director of Polling Jennifer Agiesta and News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report.
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