Bentonville, AR

Best Friends Pet Resource Center is a New Type of 'Cage Free' Shelter in Bentonville, & Offers a Free-Range Approach

Zack Love

A brand new type of "groundbreaking" no-kill animal shelter opened its doors on 11 March 2023, but it isn't like your traditional animal shelters full of cages and kennels. The Best Friends Pet Resource Center in Bentonville offers something different. The dog and cat rooms allow the respective animals to inhabit and roam in a more social environment, hoping to alleviate the loneliness animals can experience when locked in cages.
Best Friends Animal Sanctuary signPhoto byBest Friends Animal Society (YouTube)

Thanks to a grant of $892,500 from the Walton Family Foundation, Best Friends Animal Society opened a 20,000-square-foot Best Friends Pet Resource Center located at 1312 Melissa Drive in Bentonville, Arkansas.

This facility has a very different feel than any shelter most people are familiar with and is considered groundbreaking in its approach to animal adoption.

The new facility allows human and animal interaction between potential pet owners and animals, and Best Friends Animal Society is hoping that their new model is disruptive in this industry to help get more people involved when it comes to caring for animals, and to promote a better system for animals without a home to get adopted into their forever home.

The current pet resource center in Bentonville takes a different approach to traditional shelters. The cats and dogs are placed with a foster family that takes them home at night and brings the animals back to the pet resource center during adoption events and open business hours. They hope that this new model will grow in popularity in finding cats and dogs forever homes.

Best Friends Animal Society Post on Facebook on 14 March 2023

On 14 March 2023, Best Friends Animal Society posted on Facebook the following message:

"Congratulations to Aladdin! He is the FIRST adoption at our new Pet Resource Center in Northwest Arkansas!"

Bentonville Did Not Previously Have an Animal Shelter

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that before Best Friends Animal Society, Bentonville, Arkansas did not have an animal shelter, and contracted with Centerton. The agreement was that Bentonville would pay Centerton $100 for every animal they picked up in the town. Best Friends Pet Resource Center solved an important problem for the town.

The CEO of Best Friends Animal Society, Julie Castle, shares what makes this facility different from most.

She said:

"It is not a healthy environment for them to stay happy. They develop behavior problems over time. And when we think about how animals are such social beings — they want to be with people. They want to be together." -Julie Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society

When speaking about the new Bentonville Pet Resource Center, she said in a press release:

"Communities are beginning to move away from the traditional shelter model and toward a proactive, community resource beyond the confines of shelter walls. The Best Friends pet resource center will transform the way the public thinks about caring for lost and homeless pets and will be a source of pride for the people of Bentonville and Northwest Arkansas." Julie Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society)

On March 2, she posted photos on Instagram with a beloved dog named Shadow that passed away at the age of 14. One of those photos can be seen below.
CEO Julie CastlePhoto byBest Friends Animal Society on Instagram

The history of how Best Friends Animal Society was created is very unique.

The Brief History of Best Friends Animal Society

The nonprofit organization Best Friends Animal Society is not new. A group of people with a heart for animals founded it in 1984 to create a safe place for abandoned and abused animals. They had a common vision to build a no-kill animal sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, which is still going strong to this day.

Best Friends Animal Society wrote on its website "Of the 31 individuals who began Best Friends in 1984, 15 continue to bring their own special gift to the whole that is Best Friends."

Some of the founders include: Francis Battista and (son) Judah Battista, Paul Eckhoff, Gregory Castle, and Faith Maloney were some of the founders who helped create Best Friends Animals Society out of a shared passion to save animals.

The Best Friends Animal Society has a goal to end the killing of dogs and cats in U.S. animal shelters by 2025.

Please share this article on social media so others can be informed about this story in the community.


Best Friends Animal Society official website.

Best Friends Animal Society official account on Facebook.

Best Friends Animal Society official account on Instagram.

Best Friends Animal Society official account on YouTube.

Jones, Mike. "Regional pet resource center to open in Bentonville." Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. 10 December 2019.

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Zack covers interesting and inspiring news stories that impact local communities. He has a bachelor's degree and an MBA.

Huntsville, AL

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