Here's the truth about our shelters in America:
Approximately 8 to 12 million companion animals enter shelters nationwide every year, amd approximately 5-9 million are killed (60 percent dogs and 70 percent cats). Shelter intakes are about evenly divided between those animals relinquished by owners and those picked up by animal control. These are nation estimates; the percentage of euthanasia may very from state to state.
According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP), less than 2 percent of cats, and only 15 to 20 percent of dogs are returned to their owners. Most of these were identified with tattoos, tags, or microchips. Twenty Five percent of dogs who enter shelters are purebreds. Only 10 percent of the animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered. About 75 percent of owned pets are neutered.
The majority of pets are obtained from acquaintances and family members. About 15 to 20 percent of dogs purchased from breeders, and 10 to 20 percent of cats and dogs are adopted from shelters and rescues. More than 20 percent of people who leave dogs in shelters adopted them from shelters. Five out of ten dogs in shelters and seven out of ten cats in shelters are destroyed simply because there is no one to adopt them.
Having our pets altered is a solid and effective defense against overpopulation in that it places few and fewer offspring in kill-shelters. Below are a few of the grisly statistics compiled by national publications and animal rights organizations. If we are aware of the problem, perhaps we can be part of the solution.
It costs U.S. taxpayers an estimated $2 billion each year to round up, house, kill, and dispose of homeless animals. (USA Today)
Over 56% of dogs and puppies entering shelters are killed, based on reports from over 1,055 facilities across America. (National Counsel on Pet Population Study)
An estimated 5 million cats and dogs are killed in shelters each year. That's one about every six and one half seconds. (The Humane Society of the United States)
Millions more are abandoned, only to suffer from illness or injury before dying. (Doris Day Animal League)
In six years one unspayed female and her offspring, can reproduce 67,000 dogs (Spay USA)
Less than 3% of dog guardians are responsible for surplus births (Save Our Strays)
The perceived high cost of altering is not the problem, but the lack of education on its benefits. On average it costs approximately $100 to capture, house, feed and eventually kill a homeless animal - a cost that ultimately comes out of our pocket. Low cost spay/neuter services are far below that amount. (Doris Day Animal League)
The cost of having a pregnant female can be much higher than the cost of spaying.
Seven dogs & cats are born every day for each person born in the U.S. Of those, only 1 in 5 puppies and kittens say in their original home for their natural lifetime. The remaining 4 are abandoned to the streets or end up at a shelter (The Humane Society of the United States)
Each day 10,000 humans are born in the U.S. and each day 70,000 puppies and kittens are born. As long as these birth rates exist, there will never be enough homes for all the animals (Spay USA)
The public acquires only 14% of its pets from shelters; 48% get their pets as strays, from friends, from animal rescuers, 38% get their pets from breeders or pet stores (The Humane Society of the United States)
Only 30% of dog guardians are aware of the pet-overpopulation problem (Massachusetts SPCA survey 1993)
In a study of relinquishment of cats and dogs in 12 U.S. animal shelters, 30% of the surrendered dogs were purebreds. The same study indicated that 55% of the surrendered dogs and 47% of the surrendered cats were unaltered.
The Humane Society of the United States provided these statistics:
- Number of cats and dogs entering shelters each year:
8–10 million (HSUS estimate)
- Number of cats and dogs euthanized by shelters each year:
4–5 million (HSUS estimate)
- Number of cats and dogs adopted from shelters each year:
3–5 million (HSUS estimate)
- Number of cats and dogs reclaimed by owners from shelters each year:
Between 600,000 and 750,000—15–30% of dogs and 2–5% of cats entering shelters (HSUS estimate)
- Number of animal shelters in the United States:
Between 4,000 and 6,000 (HSUS estimate)
- Percentage of dogs in shelters who are purebred:
25% (HSUS estimate)
- Average number of litters a fertile dog can produce in one year: 2
- Average number of puppies in a canine litter: 6–10