Statistics - Did You Know?

 

Cold, hard facts on pet homelessness

  • There are about 70 million stray animals living in the U.S.

  • Of this 70 million, only about six to eight million cats and dogs enter the nation's 3,500 shelters every year, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

  • That evens out to about five homeless animals for every homeless person in the U.S. reports DoSomething.org.

  • Out of six to eight million cats and dogs, one in four animals brought into shelters are pit bulls or pit-associated breeds and mixes - currently the most (wrongly) marginalized dogs in the U.S. and many other parts of the world.

  • The two main reasons animals end up in shelters are because they've either been surrendered by their guardians or picked up off the street by animal control officers.

  • Around 10 percent of animals entering shelters have been spayed or neutered, which is problematic considering in just six years, one un-spayed female dog and her offspring can create 67,000 dogs and one un-spayed female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 kittens in seven years.

  • About 30 percent of shelter dogs are eventually reclaimed by their guardians, with cats far behind at only 2 to 5 percent.

  • Only about three to four million cats and dogs are adopted from shelters each year.

  • Nearly half of all animals that arrive in U.S. shelters are euthanized because there is a lack of space and adopters, amounting to roughly 2.7 million dead animals every year or five out of every ten dogs and seven out of every ten cats - that's like 80,000 animals per week.

  • Five out of every ten shelter dogs each year amounts to about 5,500 euthanized dogs every day.

  • Of all the dogs that enter the shelter system, pit bull types have it the worst with a shockingly high euthanasia rate of 93 percent.

Facts about U.S. Animal Shelters:

  • Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats.

  • Each year, approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized (1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats).

  • Approximately 2.7 million shelter animals are adopted each year (1.4 million dogs and 1.3 million cats).

  • About 649,000 animals who enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners. Of those, 542,000 are dogs and only 100,000 are cats.

  • Of the dogs entering shelters, approximately 35% are adopted, 31% are euthanized and 26% of dogs who came in as strays are returned to their owner.

  • Of the cats entering shelters, approximately 37% are adopted, 41% are euthanized, and less than 5% of cats who came in as strays are returned to their owners.

  • About twice as many animals enter shelters as strays compared to the number that are relinquished by their owners.

Facts about Pet Ownership in the U.S.:

  • It's estimated that 70-80 million dogs and 74-96 million cats are owned in the United States. Approximately 37-47% of all households in the United States have a dog, and 30-37% have a cat. (Source: APPA)
     
  • According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, approximately 40% of pet owners learned about their pet through word of mouth.
     
  • The majority of pets are obtained from acquaintances and family members. 28% of dogs are purchased from breeders, and 29% of cats and dogs are adopted from shelters and rescues.
     
  • More than 35% of cats are acquired as strays. (Source: APPA)
     
  • According to the American Humane Association, the most common reasons why people relinquish or give away their dogs is because their place of residence does not allow pets (29%), not enough time, divorce/death and behavior issues (10% each). The most common reasons for cats are that they were not allowed in the residence (21%) and allergies (11%).

Facts about Pet Overpopulation in the U.S.:

  • It is impossible to determine how many stray dogs and cats live in the United States; estimates for cats alone range up to 70 million.
     
  • The average number of litters a fertile cat produces is one to two a year; the average number of kittens is four to six per litter.
     
  • The average number of litters a fertile dog produces is one a year; the average number of puppies is four to six.
     
  • Owned cats and dogs generally live longer, healthier lives than strays.
     
  • Many strays are lost pets who were not kept properly indoors or provided with identification.
     
  • Only 10%of the animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered, while 83% of pet dogs and 91% of pet cats are spayed or neutered.
     
  • The cost of spaying or neutering a pet is less than the cost of raising puppies or kittens for a year.

    The following data are ASPCA estimates unless otherwise indicated.