AWS Government, Education, & Nonprofits Blog

Best Friends Animal Society goes all-in on AWS to end killing of dogs and cats in U.S. shelters by 2025

Best Friends Animal Society, a leading national animal welfare organization dedicated to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters, is going all-in on AWS as its standard for machine learning workloads.

Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer in the no-kill movement and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters nationwide from an estimated 17 million per year to about 733,000. In addition to running lifesaving programs in partnership with more than 2,600 animal welfare groups across the country, Best Friends has regional centers in New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Salt Lake City, and operates the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals.

Using AWS’s unmatched portfolio of services to build new technology-driven initiatives, Best Friends seeks to end the killing of dogs and cats in U.S. shelters by 2025. Best Friends uses AWS database, serverless, machine learning, and analytics capabilities to run all operations while enhancing the adoption experience and managing on-demand animal transportation opportunities for pets at risk of euthanasia in overcrowded shelters.

AWS machine learning will play a pivotal role in the development of new technologies used by Best Friends to automate and enhance operations. The nonprofit will use Amazon SageMaker and AWS analytics services to predict shelter capacity, track the behavior of animals within the shelter, optimize pet placement, and improve the efforts around reuniting lost pets with their families in emergencies and natural disasters. Best Friends will also leverage Amazon Rekognition for initiatives like managing feral cat colonies by using the image and video analysis service to identify and count cats in a video stream in urban areas. The data captured will help partner shelters implement more efficient spay/neuter and trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs. Additionally, Best Friends envisions leveraging Amazon Sumerian, a set of tools for creating high-quality virtual reality experiences on the web, to create a program that would allow adopters to visualize potential pets in their homes.

“We are always looking for ways to innovate, and chose to go all-in on the world’s leading cloud to evolve our adoption and tracking capabilities using the broadest and deepest portfolio of services on AWS. AWS is secure, highly reliable, and manages all the overhead associated with our underlying infrastructure so that we can stay focused on life saving initiatives,” said Angie Embree, Chief Information Officer at Best Friends Animal Society. “With AWS, we have been able do more with less resources and become more agile, so much so that it has allowed us to put more resources toward helping animals in need. We’re excited to work with AWS to expand our use of analytics and machine learning so that we can deliver on our vision of helping every pet find a home and end the killing of dogs and cats in U.S. shelters by 2025.”

“Empowering nonprofits to achieve their missions through affordable innovation on AWS has been a top priority for the AWS Public Sector business since day one,” said Teresa Carlson, Vice President Worldwide Public Sector at AWS. “With AWS, Best Friends is poised to help end the killing of dogs and cats in shelters by leveraging our extensive portfolio of cloud services, proven operational expertise, and unmatched reliability.”

Read more.