Gathering shelter statistics can be a daunting task. Currently, there are no government entities or animal organizations who are responsible for compiling national shelter data and often times there are many sources out there with conflicting data. We have read through countless reports from multiple sources such as the APPA, Best Friends Animal Society, ASPCA, and The Humane Society of the United States to get a thorough understanding and accurate picture of what pet ownership looks like in our country and what is really happening in our nation’s shelters.
Pet Ownership in 2021 (source: 2021-2022 APPA National Pet Owners Survey)
Animal Shelter Stats
• On average 6.5 million cats and dogs enter US shelters each year. Of that, 3.3 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats. (Source: Best Friends Animal Society).
• 1.5 million pets are euthanized in US shelters on average each year. (Source: ASPCA).
*While the pandemic accounted for a steep increase in adoptions in 2020 and lowered euthanasia rates around the country, post pandemic shelter statistics are on track to return to where they were before 2020.
• 68% of animals killed in shelters are cats. (Source: Best Friends Animal Society)
• Estimated number of community (stray) cats in the US: 30-40 million. (Source: Humane Society)
*Cats left as strays in their communities with no lifesaving initiatives will continue to reproduce – only to further exacerbate the feral cat problem to an unmanageable degree. Trap Neuter and Release programs (TNR) are an effective way to keep cats out of shelters therefore avoiding the risk of euthanasia while allowing them to be returned to their communities without the risk of reproducing.
• Just 36% of US household owned dogs are from a shelter or rescue. (Source: 2019-2020 APPA survey)
• Approximately 25% of dogs in shelters are pure bred. (Source: Humane Society)
There are widely varying statistics regarding euthanasia rates for pit bull type breeds ranging from 40% to 75% of pit bulls being euthanized each year in shelters. While we can’t give you an exact number since there’s no federally mandated reporting of animal shelter data, we can say with certainty that pit bull breeds are the number 1 most euthanized breed in shelters followed by chihuahuas.
• There are an estimated 3,500 animal shelters and an additional 10,000 animal rescue organizations in the US. (Source: Humane Society)
• 88% of pets living in underserved communities aren’t spayed or neutered. (Source: Humane Society)
• Highest kill states: 1. Texas, 2. California, 3. Florida, 4. North Carolina, 5. Alabama and 6. Louisiana. Half of all dogs and cats euthanized each year in the US are from these states. (Source: Best Friends Animal Society)