We can argue all we want about what "no-kill" really means, whether it's about shelters or communities. Whether it's impossible or provably possible. About whether it's saving 90 percent or 98 percent or some strange and complicated definition involving highly subjective concepts like "adoptable."
What we can't argue about is this: The overwhelming majority of Americans -- 71 percent -- believe that shelters should not be allowed to kill any homeless pets unless they are too sick to be saved or too aggressive to be kept as pets.
That's what an Associated Press-Petside poll conducted by GfK Roper found in October when it asked 1,118 people in 50 states to identify which of two statements matched their own view.
Seventy-one percent said they believed "Animal shelters should only be allowed to euthanize animals when they are too sick to be treated or too aggressive to be adopted."
Only 25 percent believed "Sometimes animal shelters should be allowed to euthanize animals as a necessary way of controlling the population of animals."
I know the history of animal sheltering in this country. I know how it came about that those who should have been tasked with sheltering, caring for, and showing compassion to homeless pets became their biggest killers.
But I also know the day when society found that acceptable is over. Completely and utterly over. Outdated, unwanted, increasingly unthinkable. Seventy-one percent of Americans know it, too. And those who insist it's impossible have now officially joined the ranks of those who never thought we'd have openly gay soliders or a black president.
In the battle for hearts and minds of nearly three-quarters of the people who live in this nation, no-kill won.