USA: 2012 Animal Shelter Statistics (with comment)

Below are some animal shelter statistics from the Statistic Brain website. The source of the information is Born Free U.S.A., American Humane Society and Pet Finder according to the author.

I’d just like to mention one thing that came to my mind when looking at these statistics. The Humane Society of Ottawa County have announced that they are currently no longer taking in cats and kittens at present. They have at least 130 cats at their shelter. They are full up.

The underlying or main reason given by an humane officer is that people bring in stray and feral cats rather than trapping neutering and spaying these cats and leaving them in the community. Feral and strays make up the majority of the cats at the shelter.

I have three thoughts about that. Firstly, in general we don’t know the percentage of stray, feral and domestic cats at shelters. The figures are not out there. I think they should be. People need figures to get a handle on the problem.

Secondly, if the large majority of cats at shelters are stray and feral, then taking them to a shelter is just a glorified way of killing them based on the chart below (70% of all cats are euthanised).

Thirdly, are the “stray cats” he refers to, straying domestic cats (with homes somewhere) or are they genuine feral cats? I certainly don’t see the point in taking a feral cat to a shelter. A genuine feral cat is unsocialised and therefore does not have a character fit for the family home. On that basis all of them will be killed at the shelter. It would be far more humane of a humane society to organise a trap-neuter-return programme in the community for these cats to make room for homeless domestic cats.

Can’t cat shelters extend their area of operation to places outside the shelter and take proactive steps such as TNR programmes? This is probably a crazy idea but it makes sense to me.

Animal Shelter Statistics
Total number of nationwide animal shelters (animal rescue USA map) 5,000
Number of companion animals that enter into animal shelters nationwide annually 5 million
Average annual number of companion animals that are euthanized at shelters 3.5 million
Percentage of dogs in animals shelters that are euthanized 60%
Percentage of cats in animal shelters that are euthanized 70%
Percentage of cats that are returned to their owners 2%
Percentage of dogs returned to their owners 15%
Total percentage of dogs claimed to be spayed or neutered 78%
Total percentage of cats that are claimed to be spayed or neutered 88%
Total number of animals that end up in a shelter that are spayed or neutered 10%
Percentage of dogs brought to shelters that were adopted by a shelter 20%
Percentage of dogs and cats that are adopted from shelters 25%
Total number of dogs and cats that are purchased at pet stores 6%
Percentage of people that get their pets free or at low cost 65%
Cost of taxpayer money annually to round up, house, kill and dispose of homeless animals $2 billion
Total percentage of dogs in shelters that are purebred 25%
Total percentage of U.S. homes who own at least 1 companion animal 63%
Total number of homes that own at least one companion animal 70 million

The percentage of cats returned to their owner is pitifully low (2%) indicating no microchipping and no interest from the owner. It would seem that these owners no longer want to be an owner. The return rate for dogs is 7 times better. Why? Dog owners seem more concerned.

The cost to the taxpayer is $2,000,000,000 annually. Do we know of government run trap-neuter-return schemes (TNR). All or nearly all the ones I read about are privately run by volunteers, kind people who are occasionally persecuted by local governments. Wouldn’t it make sense if some of the $2bn of taxpayer’s money was diverted to preventative measures, which is what TNR is.

Shelters are a reaction to the problem of unwanted cats. There needs to be more pro-action: preventative measures.

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USA: 2012 Animal Shelter Statistics (with comment) — 3 Comments

    • I’d love to see them too. It is a shame there is a language barrier. Do you know if shelters (I presume there are some shelters in Switzerland) publish statistics? The figures on this page are largely estimated and not based on hard collection of data.

  1. I would like to find the stats for Mexico.
    I know SEVERAL people from that country that absolutely HATE cats and seem to delight running them over intentionally.

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