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October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month


For years and years Bob Barker said to all the viewers at the end of The Price is Right “Bob Barker reminding you to help control the pet population. Have your pet spayed or neutered. Bye-bye.”

Since there are still people in the world that simply refuse to be responsible and have their pets spayed or neutered we will continue to have the problem of overcrowded shelters.

October is ‘Adopt a Shelter Dog’ month where awareness is put in high gear to help correct the problem. Nationwide there are about 5,000 independent community animal shelter. Statistics are hard to find since no national organization monitors these shelters. Currently, no government institution or animal organization is responsible for tabulating national statistics for the animal protection movement.

How many animals enter animal shelters each year? And how many are euthanized?

The HSUS estimates that animal shelters care for 6-8 million dogs and cats every year in the United States, of whom approximately 3-4 million are euthanized. At this time, there is no central data reporting agency for animal shelters, so these numbers are estimates; however, the Asilomar Accords method is gaining momentum as a standard for more accurately tracking these numbers. Annual statistics for approximately 150 shelters across the country are posted at Asilomar Accords. You can help us develop a more accurate picture of the problem by encouraging your local shelters to report their data.

In the 1970s, American shelters euthanized 12-20 million dogs and cats, at a time when there were 67 million pets in homes. Today, shelters euthanize around 4 million animals, while there are more than 135 million dogs and cats in homes. This enormous decline in euthanasia numbers—from around 25 percent of American dogs and cats euthanized every year to about 3 percent—represents substantial progress. We will make still greater progress by working together to strike at the roots of animal overpopulation.

Shelter intakes are about evenly divided between those animals relinquished by owners and those picked up by animal control. In the end about 60% of dogs and 70% of the cats that are living in shelters are euthanized. These are national estimates but even though they are estimates we believe they are pretty much on target. How very sad that these furry friends ended up in a shelter. It’s not just mixed breeds that end up there, 25% of dogs who enter local shelters are purebred! Only 10% of the animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered.

American Humane Association is th nation’s voice for the protection of children & animals. They believe that all dogs and cats adopted from public or private animal care and control agencies must be sterilized before being allowed to leave the shelter and supports passage of state laws mandating this practice. They also support the establishment and operation of low-cost spay/neuter clinics. The reduction in cost motivates those who cannot and those who will not pay the full cost for the operation and has proven successful in reducing euthanasia rates in communities across the nation.

“In this country tax-payers spend $1 billion dollars annually to pick up, house, and euthanize homeless animals. If only 5% of that total were allocated to spay/neuter programs, we could open 250 public, low-cost spay/neuter clinics across the country and sterilize more than $4 million animals each year.” Ryan Newman Foundation

For a further delve into the types of animal shelters and what to look for when you’re trying to find a good local animal shelter, consider checking out this guide from Cindy Grant, a crazy fan of all kinds of cute little in-house pets.

We need to do our part to alleviate the problem and visit our local shelters when the decision is made to get a pet. Together we can make a difference for the dogs that just want to have a forever home!


About Author

Devoted pet owner and now, devoted pet editor, Judi worked in traditional offices, keeping the books and the day-to-day operations organized. Taking her dog to work every day for over a decade never seemed odd. Neither did having an office cat. She knows what it's like to train a new puppy and she's experienced the heartache of losing beloved companions. Retired, she currently lives with her spoiled dog and four chickens (who are, interestingly enough, also spoiled).

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