-- by Julie Tam, FOX 41 News

Shelby County, Kentucky has become the first county in the state to run a no-kill animal shelter for an entire year.

On Saturday they shared their secret to saving animals' lives.

Every one of the faces, every wet nose inside a cage at the Shelby County Animal Shelter is alive not by chance or having the name "Lucky."

"When you commit to make that happen, you enroll your entire community," Denise Jones, founder of the Woodstock Animal Foundation, said.

The Shelby County Humane Society and Animal Shelter have spent 10 years trying to become a no-kill facility.

"The businesses in this community are enrolled. The people who own farms help take in some of the feral cats," Jones said.

On Saturday, Shelby County celebrated becoming the first Kentucky shelter to go one year without euthanizing any animals that could be rehabilitated and were not a threat to the public.

"We don't put anything down that's got a chance to live," James Collins, the county's animal control officer, said.

Woodstock Animal Foundation has taken in and treated sick puppies. Local families foster some pets, and other animals go to no-kill shelters as far as Minnesota and Maine.

"Ebeneezer up here has been here since before Christmas," said Kelly Jedlicki, the county's No Kill Mission coordinator.

Jedlicki says in most other shelters, the cats -- some of which have been at the shelter since August -- would have already been euthanized.

But Shelby County is following a model that's worked in other states.

"There are four other counties that take in 17,000-20,000 animals a year that are no-kill as well," Jedlicki said. "Nathan Winograd and Richard Avanzino, the two founders of the No Kill Mission, say by the year 2015, that we should become a no-kill nation, if everybody follows the plan."

Almost 1,600 animals have been taken to the Shelby County shelter over the past year, so it has not been easy adopting them out. But no-kill is possible there because of programs like low-cost spay-neuter and Operation Catsnip -- catching feral cats, fixing them, and releasing them back into the wild.

"We've proven it can be done, and that's a great feeling," Jones said.