Animal Welfare

A small dog wearing a blue patterned collar

Our Challenge

Every one of Nashville's healthy or treatable pets should have a safe place to live. 
In 2016, 904 cats and dogs were euthanized at Metro’s Animal Care and Control Shelter. 
Why did these animals wind up in a shelter in the first place? For family pets, there's a wide range of reasons, from medical or behavioral problems to a lack of resources. Often, it's a housing-related issue: the pet deposit is too high or the building won't allow certain breeds. Pet overpopulation is a key factor, as well. Without spay and neuter programs in place, more cats and dogs will be born who are likely to end up in the shelter. 
Our goal is to save all healthy and treatable animals, giving Nashville the reputation as a best practice city for animal welfare. 
A veterinary nurse holds a cat

Nashville Loves Pets 

Of the city's 678,899 residents, 475,000 — or 70 % — own a pet. 
Despite the clear love of pets, Nashville lags in awareness around local animal welfare options, as well as opportunities for involvement and ways to contribute. 

Why Animal Welfare Matters

Save Animals' Lives 

Without a strategic plan, healthy and treatable animals will be killed. Spay and neuter programs work. In one zip code, adding a program led to a 70% drop in cats taken to shelters. Providing education and resources to pet owners is also impactful, and of course, support to volunteer and foster programs can reduce the number of pets in shelters. 

Improve Quality of Life 

Studies show perception of neighborhood friendliness and safety, along with a sense of community, is greater in neighborhoods with higher visibility of pet owners walking and interacting with their pets. Putting a priority on animal welfare benefits residents and businesses throughout Davidson County.  
A young boy holds a young cat in his arms

How We'll Improve Animal Welfare 

We have a three-pronged approach to meeting the goal of giving all of Nashville's healthy, treatable animals a safe place to live: 

Expand Spay & Neuter Programs 

Use existing spay and neuter programs to target geographic areas with a high outdoor cat population. This will produce measurable results while maximizing resources and staff/volunteer time.
Plus, this will also improve quality of life for cats in the area and reduce the number of unwanted, homeless cats in the future. 

Implement Committee Recommendations

The Mayor’s ad hoc Animal Welfare Advisory Committee has the following recommendations: 
  1. Catalog existing resources
  2. Create volunteer foster program
  3. Provide education to the community and volunteers
  4. Address cat overpopulation
  5. Draft legislation to remove barriers to animal welfare

Establish Public-Private Coalition

Establish Nashville’s SAFE Placement Coalition (SAFE- 2 Saving Animals For Ever), an alliance of public and private animal welfare agencies and other community partners, which will work together to meet the recommendations laid out by the Mayor's ad hoc advisory committee. Best Friends Animal Society (Best Friends) will serve as an independent body to spearhead the coalition. 

PIP Partners

A collaborative, public/private approach offers the most significant return on investment.
  • Nashville Humane Association
  • Pet Community Center
  • Metro Animal Care and Control 
  • Metro Public Health Dept. 
  • Crossroads Pets
  • Best Friends
Logos for the Metro Public Health Department, Metro Nashville Animal Care & Control, the Nashville Humane Association, Crossroads Pets, the Metro Nashville government, and Pet Community Center

Our Goals

A young man and a young woman hold a white cat in their arms
Our #1 goal is to achieve 100% placement of all healthy, treatable animals at shelters. 
Other important outcomes include: 
  • Collaborative efforts to attain grants
  • Increased public access of pet and pet owner resources and services
  • Enhanced quality of life for people and pets
  • Improved public health and safety
  • A reduced number of unmanaged, unwanted animals and pet overpopulation

See More PIP Projects

Public Investment Planning is an innovative approach to budgeting, launched in 2016, that challenges Metro departments and agencies to think creatively about how they can collaborate on pilot initiatives to better serve Nashville-Davidson County residents. Learn more at