Animals

This Woman Reduced An Animal Shelter’s Kill Rate From 100% To Zero

Meet Kayla Denney, who saved 565 animals in the past year.

You can find every dog’s best friend in a small town in Texas.

Kayla Denney has devoted her career to saving every dog’s (and cat’s, for that matter) life that she can, and for that she’s being awarded the 2019 National “Unsung Hero” Award by Petco.

She’s brought the animal shelter in Taft, Texas, from almost a 100 percent kill rate all the way down to zero percent. Since she took over last November, each dog that has passed through here has found a forever home.

“As of November 1, we have saved 565 dogs and cats out of Taft,” said Kayla Denney, who recently traveled to San Diego, California, to accept her award; an honor she says she knew nothing about.

“There are thousands of applicants, I didn’t know I was nominated,” said Denney. “I became the 2019 Unsung Hero for the country, so one person in the whole United States and it still just blows my mind that that’s still a thing.”

The award is for her lifesaving efforts that have made a difference for so many animals in Taft.

Out of thousands of nominees, Denney made the top five in February 2019 and was awarded $10,000. Now that she’s won first place, she’s getting an extra $25,000.

It’s money she says will go directly to helping improve the conditions of the Taft animal shelter.

“It’s an older shelter and it’s run-down,” said Denney. “We got lights thanks to a donor who put in electricity for us, but I want indoor-outdoor kennels with a guillotine in between so when it’s raining we can put them inside. We want an area where they can have meet-and-greet out in the field and somewhere they can have grass time rather than just cement time.”

Denney has big plans for Taft. But she says she can’t do it without maintaining the community’s support.

She hopes the Unsung Hero Award is just a minor step in the long walk to continued success.

Written by Brenda Matute for KZTV.