The Niagara SPCA is celebrating a big milestone. It’s now saved more than 15,000 animals since it became a no-kill shelter back in 2012.

“We are very excited about that,” said Kimberly LaRussa, the event coordinator for the Niagara SPCA.

LaRussa said no-kill means the animals they take in can stay at the shelter for as long as they can, until they find a forever home.

“It’s an amazing thing that I know that I can come back and see that animal again, no matter how long they’ve been here. So that’s the nice part about it is they can remain here for as long as they need to,” LaRussa said.

According to the No Kill Advocacy Center, two million dogs and cats are killed in U.S. shelters each year because they don’t have a home. The organization says when shelters keep animals alive long enough to find homes, shelter animals are saved rather than killed.

“Their lives matter and they’re living breathing animals [with] have feelings. It matters a lot to save all of them that we can,” LaRussa said.

For them to do that, it takes a team effort and support from the community.

“We have such amazing employees, volunteers, sponsors, donors, and board members that have made this possible, so it’s really just a community celebration,” LaRussa said.

The celebration is likely to go on as the number of animals they save continues to grow.