About Adopting

Animal Overpopulation: Shocking Facts and Figures

Every year, millions of cats and dogs are euthanized in our nation’s animal shelters because there are more pets than there are responsible homes for them. Just how bad is the animal overpopulation problem? Some of these statistics, compiled by the Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society will shock you.

 The Shocking Facts and Figures:

• Number of cats and dogs born every day in the U.S.: 70,000 (nearly 3,000 born every hour or 50 born every minute)

• Number of stray cats and dogs living in the U.S.: 70 million

• Number of animals in the U.S. that die each year from cruelty, neglect, and exploitation: 30 million

• Number of animal shelters in the U.S.: 4,000 – 6,000

• Number of cats and dogs entering U.S. shelters each year: 6 – 8 million

• Number of cats and dogs euthanized by U.S. shelters each year: 3 – 4 million (nearly 10,000 animals killed every day)

• Number of cats and dogs adopted by U.S. shelters each year: 3 – 4 million

• Number of cats and dogs reclaimed by owners from U. S. shelters each year: 600,000-750,000 (10% of total entering shelters – 15–30% of dogs and 2–5% of cats)

• Yearly cost to U.S. taxpayers to impound, shelter, euthanize, and dispose of homeless animals: $2 billion

• Percentage of dogs in U.S. shelters which are purebred: 25 – 30 %

• Average age of animals entering U.S. shelters: under 18 months old

• Percentage of animals entering U.S. shelters that are healthy and adoptable: 90%

• Percentage of owned dogs that were adopted from an animal shelter: 18%

• Percentage of owned cats that were adopted from an animal shelter: 16%

 • Percentage of animals entering animal shelters by animal control authorities: 42.5%

• Percentage of animals entering animal shelters that were surrendered by their owners: 30%

• Percentage of people who acquire animals that end up giving them away, abandoning them, or taking them to shelters: 70%

• Percentage of animals surrendered to an animal shelter that were originally adopted from an animal shelter: 20%

• Percentage of animals received by animal shelters that have been spayed or neutered: 10%

What you can do to combat pet overpopulation:

  1. Always spay and neuter your pets.
  2. Always adopt your pets from a legitimate shelter or nonprofit rescue group.
  3. Consider all the responsibilities and consequences of pet ownership before deciding to get a pet and always make a lifetime commitment to your pet.
  4. Educate your children, friends, family members and co-workers about pet overpopulation, adoption and the importance of spaying and neutering.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Anna

    Mar 30, 2016 at 4:26 am

    I’ve been researching animal sheltering and related topics for awhile and disagree with the opinion that animals are killed due to ‘pet overpopulation’. In communities where they’ve decided to put lifesaving programs, services and attitudes in place by following ongoing successful examples in other places, they are saving well over 90 percent of shelter animals. Good, progressive humane societies and SPCAs are happy to share this info and copy success, using evidence based information and applying for all available grants, accessing all available resources and assistance. This not only saves more loves but improves animal health and welfare, gains many more foster homes, volunteers and donations. If you want to save all saveable animals, learn what successful communities are doing. By legal definition, they are the real experts. Many examples on saving90(.)org and Outthefrontdoor(.)com .
    On video, it shows this: “At their national sheltering conference [in 2014] …, HSUS’ Vice-President for Companion Animals admits that pet overpopulation is a myth; that there is a huge market for shelter animals that vastly exceeds the number of animals killed for lack of a home (17 million homes vs. 3 million killed); that we can adopt our way out of killing; and we should.

    Though the supply-demand imbalance is actually even more pronounced in favor of the animals (they are using old data), nonetheless, HSUS says that it isn’t a question of ‘too many animals, not enough homes,’ but the need for increasing market share. Coming from HSUS, this is a revolutionary change, striking as it does, to the heart of the killing.” – goo(.)gl/6UMyQF

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