- Approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 3 million to 4 million are euthanized (60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats). Shelter intakes are about evenly divided between those animals relinquished by owners and those picked up by animal control. These are national estimates; the percentage of euthanasia may vary 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 tags, tattoos or microchips.
- Twenty-five percent of dogs who enter local shelters are purebred. (Source: NCPPSP)
- 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 are purchased from breeders, and 10 to 20 percent of cats and dogs are adopted from shelters and rescues. (Source: Ralston Purina and NCPPSP)
- More than 20 percent of people who leave dogs in shelters adopted them from a shelter. (Source: NCPPSP)
- 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.
If you’re interested in bringing an animal into your life, please consider getting them from a local shelter. And, shelters will often have more than just cats and dogs (although you know which animal I would recommend). Humane societies will often take in birds, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, the works.