animal shelter statistics

Animal Shelter Statistics

 

 

General Statistics

 

  “Approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year.” (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)

    “Of those, approximately 3.3 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats.” (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)

    “We estimate that the number of dogs and cats entering U.S. shelters annually has declined from approximately 7.2 million in 2011.  The biggest decline was in dogs (from 3.9 million to 3.3 million).” (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)

    “Approximately 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted each year (1.6 million dogs and 1.6 million cats).” (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)

    “About 710,000 animals who enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners. Of those, 620,000 are dogs and only 90,000 are cats.” (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)

    “About 710,000 animals who enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners (620,000 dogs and 90,000 cats).” (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)

     “Estimated number of brick-and-mortar animal shelters in the US: 3,500. Estimated number of rescue groups and animal sanctuaries in North America: 10,000.” (Humane Society of the United States)    

Shelters that follow the No Kill Advocacy Center guidelines seek “to end the killing of animals who are not irremediably suffering”. Some such shelters have achieved live release rates up to 99%. (The No Kill Advocacy Center)

     HSUS estimates that humane organizations spend $2.5 billion annually, which is around $8 per capita. (Humane Society of the United States)

    HSUS estimates that animal control organizations spend $800 million to $1 billion annually, which is around $4 per capita. (Humane Society of the United States)

 

Surveys and Polls

 

  Approximately 40% of dog owners and 46% of cat owners learned about their pet through word of mouth. (Source:  APPA)” (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)  

  “APPA reports that 34% of dogs are purchased from breeders, while 23% of dogs and 31% of cats are obtained from an animal shelter or humane society.” “(Note: this information was based on a multiple response question, which results in the total % exceeding 100% individually for cats and dogs.  In addition, the ‘other’ category includes all source categories that were reported by <10% of both dog and cat owners):”  
Dogs Cats
Animal Shelter/Humane Society 23% 31%
Friends/Relatives 20% 28%
Breeder 34% 3%
Stray 6% 27%
Private Party 12% 6%
Other 32% 39%
(American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) (American Pet Products Association, Inc.)  

  “Around 27% of cats are acquired as strays, down from 35% in 2012. (Source: APPA)” (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) (American Pet Products Association, Inc.)  

  “Overall, the most common primary reasons for re-homing were pet problem (46%), family problem (27%) and housing problem (18%). The most common individual pet-related reasons were aggression (35%), destruction (29%) and health problems (26%). The most common individual family related reasons were family health troubles (44%) and allergies (24%). The most common housing related reasons were landlord (43%) and not enough space (39%).” (Scientific Research – Open Journal of Animal Sciences)  

  One survey showed the most important considerations when looking for a new pet were:  
Consideration Percent
Pet Health 80%
Compatibility with other animals 77%
Mild/Calm Temperament 73%
Compatibility with kids 62%
(Best Friends)  

  According to a 2020 study by Best Friends, 89% of survey participants say they would consider adopting their next pet dog or cat, 74% say adoption would be their most likely option for their next pet, but only 42% adopted their most recent pet. (Best Friends)  

  “Almost a third of Americans, 32%, believe animals should be given the same rights as people, while 62% say they deserve some protection but can still be used for the benefit of humans. … Very few Americans, 3%, believe animals require little protection from harm and exploitation “since they are just animals.”” (Gallup, Inc.)  

  According to a 2020 study by Best Friends, “88% of adults surveyed in the US say they have at least heard the term no-kill. 81% of adults feel it is very important or essential to have no-kill shelters in their area. 42% of adults were not sure if shelters in their local areas are no-kill” (Best Friends)  

  According to Best Friends 2019 National Shelter DData, 2,126 shelters exceed the no-kill benchmark of a 90% save rate. (Best Friends)  

   According to Best Friends, less than .5% of dogs are killed at the best performing shelters in the country due to behavioral issues. (The No Kill Advocacy Center)  

  According to the Shelter Animals Count database, which collects information for 2,290 shelters and rescues, intakes are roughly twice as likely to be strays than they are to be relinquished by their owner. (Shelter Animals Count)  

     HSUS estimates that a quarter of dogs in shelters are deemed to be purebred (Humane Society of the United States)  

   However, a genetic study of nine hundred dogs at two shelters in the US found that only 5% of the dogs identified as purebred consisted of one breed genetically “By testing over nine hundred dogs at two animal shelters in the United States, we were able to satisfy our aim of better understanding the breed identities of shelter dogs via commercially available genetic testing. To our knowledge, this is the largest reporting of breed heritage in sheltering to-date. While organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States have reported that 25% of shelter dogs are purebreds [38], the results of our study do not confirm this number. Instead, we found approximately 5% of shelter dogs consisted of only one breed with the majority of these purebreds identified in San Diego.” Lisa M. Gunter, Rebecca T. Barber, Clive D. L. Wynne. A canine identity crisis: Genetic breed heritage testing of shelter dogs. PLOS ONE, 2018. (Public Library of Science)  

  A 2012 to 2015 study examining the effects of return-to-field and trap-neuter-return approaches in Albuquerque. Local feline euthanasia declined 84.1% and intake dropped 37.6% over the three years. “The purpose of the present study was to examine changes in feline intake and euthanasia, as well as additional associated metrics, at a municipal animal shelter in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after institutionalized RTF and targeted TNR protocols, together referred to as a community cat program (CCP), were added to ongoing community-based TNR efforts and a pilot RTF initiative. Over the course of the CCP, which ran from April 2012 to March 2015, 11,746 cats were trapped, sterilized, vaccinated, and returned or adopted. Feline euthanasia at the Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department (AAWD) declined by 84.1% and feline intake dropped by 37.6% over three years; the live release rate (LRR) increased by 47.7% due primarily to these reductions in both intake and euthanasia. Modest increases in the percentage of cats returned to owner (RTO) and the adoption rate were also observed, although both metrics decreased on an absolute basis, while the number of calls to the city about dead cats declined.” (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute)     One study of 60 dogs found that exposure to Dog Appeasing Pheromone, lavender, and music resulted in more positive observed behavior in dogs than those in the control group. (National Center for Biotechnology Information)  

 

Euthanasia Statistics

 

  “Each year, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized (670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats).” (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)  

  “The number of dogs and cats euthanized in U.S. shelters annually has declined from approximately 2.6 million in 2011.  This decline can be partially explained by an increase in the percentage of animals adopted and an increase in the number of stray animals successfully returned to their owners.” (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)  

  “Of the dogs entering shelters, approximately 48% are adopted and 20% are euthanized” (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)  

  “Of the cats entering shelters, approximately 50% are adopted and 27% are euthanized” (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)  

   “The save rate for all U.S. shelters increased 2.4 percentage points during 2019 compared to 2018, to 79%.” (Best Friends)  

  “Cats now comprise more than 69% of the number of animals killed in U.S. shelters (where species was reported). Despite dog intake being 10% higher than cat intake, more than two cats are now being killed for every dog.” (Best Friends)  

  An estimated 80% of the cats and dogs that are euthanized in shelters are “healthy and treatable and could have been adopted into new homes” (Humane Society of the United States)  

   Over 50% of all cats and dogs killed in the US are killed within 5 states: CA – 100,239 TX – 96,707 NC – 47,652 FL – 45,503 LA – 32,150  
State Population Rank Total Killed % No-Kill Shelters
California 38,654,206 1 100,239 33.81%
Texas 26,956,435 2 96,707 28.36%
North Carolina 9,940,828 3 47,652 25.58%
Florida 19,934,451 4 45,503 53.29%
Louisiana 4,645,670 5 32,150 19.77%
Georgia 10,099,320 6 29,245 31.55%
Alabama 4,841,164 7 23,695 27.96%
Oklahoma 3,875,589 8 18,390 32.26%
Hawaii 1,413,673 9 14,730 14.29%
Michigan 9,909,600 10 14,419 61.87%
Virginia 8,310,301 11 13,169 61.73%
Kentucky 4,411,89 12 12,197 44.55%
Arkansas 2,968,472 13 11,417 32.26%
Illinois 12,851,684 14 11,393 63.48%
Indiana 6,589,578 15 11,015 28.81%
South Carolina 4,834,605 16 10,911 27.87%
Tennessee 6,548,009 17 10,882 37.04%
New Mexico 2,082,669 18 10,692 46.94%
Mississippi 2,989,192 19 9,186 22.39%
Maryland 5,959,902 20 9,172 30.77%
Arizona 6,728,577 21 8,783 36.92%
Pennsylvania 12,783,977 22 8,181 25.71%
Ohio 11,586,941 23 7,322 47.50%
Missouri 6,059,651 24 6,491 74.14%
West Virginia 1,846,092 25 5,966 34.55%
New York 19,697,457 26 5,467 35.12%
New Jersey 8,915,456 27 5,144 53.68%
Colorado 5,359,295 28 4,656 77.65%
Kansas 2,898,292 29 4,164 41.83%
Nevada 2,839,172 30 4,056 56.67%
Minnesota 5,450,868 31 4,005 33.65%
Wisconsin 5,754,798 32 3,976 46.84%
Nebraska 1,881,259 33 3,560 21.54%
Washington 7,073,146 34 3,186 72.73%
Idaho 1,635,483 35 3,117 52.94%
Massachusetts 6,742,143 36 2,780 11.01%
Iowa 3,106,589 37 2,040 42.65%
Utah 2,948,427 38 1,990 64.62%
South Dakota` 851,058 39 1,810 13.64%
Oregon 3,982,267 40 1,775 44.00%
Alaska 736,855 41 1,117 37.50%
Wyoming 583,029 42 891 30.30%
District of Columbia 659,009 43 703 0.00%
Montana 1,023,391 44 486 42.86%
Maine 1,329,923 45 293 82.86%
Connecticut 3,588,570 46 232 70.32%
New Hampshire 1,327,503 47 159 76.47%
North Dakota 736,162 48 148 53.33%
Rhode Island 1,054,491 49 86 87.50%
Vermont 626,249 50 52 78.57%
Delaware 934,695 51 0 100.00%
(Best Friends)  

  “Only two states have save rates that are less than 70%: Hawaii at 52% and Louisiana at 60%” (Best Friends)  

  Delaware has been identified as the only no-kill state in the U.S. (Brandywine Valley Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)  

 

Sources

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Humane Society of the United States The No Kill Advocacy Center Humane Society of the United States Humane Society of the United States American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals American Pet Products Association, Inc. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals American Pet Products Association, Inc. Scientific Research – Open Journal of Animal Sciences Best Friends Best Friends Gallup, Inc. Best Friends Best Friends The No Kill Advocacy Center Shelter Animals Count Humane Society of the United States Public Library of Science Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute National Center for Biotechnology Information American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Best Friends Best Friends Humane Society of the United States Best Friends Best Friends Brandywine Valley Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals