2015 Statistics on Homeless Dogs and How you Can Help Feed Them
As we march through our first month of the new year, it’s important to pay attention to the choices we’re making and patterns we’re creating in our fresh start. Hopefully, if we’ve paid attention and made our resolutions, we won’t continue with mistakes we made in the previous year. Using this practice to look at the dog world, we thought it might be good to take a look back at how 2015 played out for homeless dogs across the US and if any improvements have been made in getting these dogs adopted! While there is no possible way to know the exact amount of homeless dogs living each year in the US (currently, no government institution is responsible for tabulation national statistics for the animal protection movement), there are some stats we do know:
- Approximately 3.9 million homeless dogs enter animal shelters each year
- Of those, approx. 1.2 million homeless dogs are euthanized in shelters each year
- 1.4 million homeless dogs are adopted from shelters each year, while about 542k dogs are returned to their owners from the shelter
- So, of the dogs entering shelters, appox. 35% are adopted, 31% are euthanized and 26% are returned to owners.
- There are 13,600 independent community shelters throughout the US (outside of the ASPCA and Humane Society).
General stats about pets and dog ownership:
- Most people still get their pets from friends or family members. Outside of that, 28% of dogs are purchased from breeders and 29% are adopted from shelters and rescues (at one percent, a tiny victory!)
Of course, the steps to help control the over-abundance of animals that land in shelters each year are fairly clear:
- Think long and hard before adopting or buying a new pet, and if for whatever reason the new addition doesn’t work out, take proper steps to safely and humanely rehome them outside of the shelter system.
- When you get a new dog, make sure they are spayed or neutered as soon as possible. Even if you think they’ll never come in contact with another dog, it’s still safest (and healthiest!) to take care of this right away.
- When thinking of getting a new dog, please adopt, don’t shop.
With the over-abundance of dogs being euthanized in shelters each year, there is absolutely no valid excuse for buying a dog from a breeder. All of the popular myths have been busted (breed dogs are healthier and better behaved, etc.) Sure, you might have to search longer and harder if you’re looking for something super specific (male, under 1 year Frenchie, for example) but I guarantee you, if you’re patient you can find any dog your heart desires through adoption. Beyond that, I applaud those who let go of their ties to specific breeds and ages and are willing to walk into a few shelters and see what happens. This is ultimately, I think, the best way to find a dog you have a genuine connection with. And who you pick (and who picks you!) might surprise you. Of course, it’s great to do research on breeds and temperaments before you go out and get a dog and I’m not saying you should toss that line of thinking out the window. I just think it’s best to have an open mind.
For us, the bottom line is simple. As long as millions of dogs are being euthanized each year due to overpopulation, it is irresponsible and inhumane to bring even more of those animals into the world just to fill pet stores and line breeders pockets. And as long as there are homeless dogs at shelters – we will keep donating. We are a mission based company but we can’t do it alone. Of coursing purchasing any of our products is a huge help. But simply spreading the word helps us out! Here’s all of our social media channels.
In the comments below, tell us about your own experiences with rescue and shelter dogs and what initiatives are taken to make your city a no-kill city.