Cumru Township, PA -  First it was Violet, meeting an untimely death in October. Then it was Sir Didymus, killed the following month.

Both had loving homes - Violet in Exeter Township and "Diddy" in Fleetwood - and neither should have been put down. But, after winding up at the Animal Rescue League of Berks County, both pet cats were euthanized.

The mistakes that led to deaths of two family pets caused the ARL to look inward, opening up an investigation into what happened and how it can be avoided in the future.

Part of the solution may be becoming a "no-kill" shelter.

In a press release issued Wednesday, the ARL announced that its board of directors on Monday unanimously voted to authorize the organization's executive director to aggressively investigate the feasibility of becoming a no-kill shelter. The release calls 2017 a "very challenging year;" however, it does not mention any specific incidents.

According to the ARL, a no-kill shelter is one that does not euthanize healthy or treatable animals even when the shelter is full, instead only putting down animals that are terminally ill or a danger to the public. A no-kill shelter, the ARL adds, has a live release rate - meaning the number that come into the shelter that leave alive - of at least 90 percent.

The ARL said its live release rate has already been going up.

"The Animal Rescue of Berks County has already dramatically reduced its euthanasia rate for cats by over 75 percent and by 19 percent for dogs for the months of November and December 2017 compared to November and December of the previous three years," acting executive director Thomas J. Hubric is quoted as saying in the release. "In addition, we have already taken several steps that will enable the ARL to become a no-kill facility."

Hubric, in the release, said he has been conducting extensive research into no-kill shelters, including making visits to some, and feels the ARL needs to become part of the no-kill movement.

"It's just the right thing to do, and we need to do our best to make this happen sooner versus later," he said.

A request to interview Hubric was not immediately granted Wednesday.

The ARL will host a series of community meetings over the next two months to get some feedback on its plan to become a no-kill shelter and to inform the public how it can help in the effort. Information on when and where those meetings will be held will be announced in the next few days, according to the release.

"We are a community resource, and we need to hear from the people of Berks County in regards to the no-kill concept and their desire to support the ARL on its journey to become a no-kill shelter," Hubric said in the release. "We can save literally thousands of more lives, but it will take the collective time, talents and treasures from the community to make this happen.

"I've read hundreds of social media posts and comments from people in the community demanding that we become a no-kill shelter. Please know, I heard you and I agree. Now we need to see if we have enough community support to make it happen."

Contact David Mekeel: 610-371-5014 or