Categories: Cat shelters

Ninety Percent Drop in the Killing of US Dogs and Cats in Shelters

Nathan Winograd tells us why there has been a ninety percent drop in the killing of US dogs and cats in shelters since the 1970s (16m to 2m). It is not about money and neither is it concerned with the location of the shelter.

There are several reasons. The no-kill movement has focused on a high volume of adoptions. It has increased the number of adoptions. More people adopt rather than shop for animals.

Photo in public domain

Another reason is that millennials (1980s – early 2000s) and what he calls Gen-X tend to regard their companion animals as family. They keep them for life. The animals are integrated into their daily life routines. They value saving homeless cats and dogs and the cost is not a major factor. This attitude is in comparison to the Silent (mid-1920s to the early-to-mid 1940s) and Boomer generations (1954 and 1964?).

Another reason is the widespread practice of sterilization. Nathan says that “before 1970, the sterilization of pets by veterinary practices was relatively rare”. Nowadays about 85% of pet dogs are sterilized.

There has been a very big increase and an improved attitude towards “community cat sterilization”. He is referring to TNR. This is in contrast to impounding feral cats and dogs and killing them.

Another factor is an improved ability to rehabilitate dogs with behavioral problems. The same goes for traumatized animals. There has also been a decline in “fear-mongering” with respect to laws banning dogs of certain perceived breeds.

No-kill cat shelter in Ohio brings happiness to nursing home residents through their Pet Adoptions for Loving Seniors program

And perhaps a major factor is what he refers to as a shift away from shelter managers hiding behind excuses for euthanasia of animals in their charge. Nathan is referring to excuses such as “it is the public’s fault” and “there’s too many animals, not enough homes”. Shelter managers embrace accountability and therefore find solutions.

He refers to the “No Kill Equation”. This, I believe, is an important concept and you can read about it by clicking on this link. Historically shelter managers have refused to implement what he regards as “life-saving solutions”. The public are no longer giving shelter managers a free pass to continue killing when there are alternatives.

I’d like to quote what he says about the public demanding change:

“In short, animals have historically gone out the back door in garbage bags, rather than out the front door in the loving arms of families not because people are irresponsible or there are too many, but because people in shelters are killing them. And we’re demanding change.”

It seems that America is on the verge of ending the killing of far too many animals in animal shelters. The dream of a no kill nation appears to be on the horizon. Nathan says that today’s generation question the killing of shelter animals and have discovered ways to stop it happening. The big question is will it actually stop and the answer he believes is yes. The ninety percent drop in the killing of US dogs and cats in shelters since the 1970s is a landmark step in the right direction.

Praise for Nathan

Nathan Winograd is indeed optimistic. It should be said that he has single-handedly instigated a change in attitude of shelter managers in my opinion. Perhaps it might be fair to say that his analysis and promotion of no-kill has saved the lives of millions of cats and dogs. He should get a medal for that.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

View Comments

  • Yeah, they throw cats under the tires of cars or make them lap-up antifreeze from a pan in a neighbor's garage instead. That's a wonderful way to count saving cats' lives, isn't it.

    His way of "saving cats' lives" is akin to declaring that there would be less environment-destroying vehicles on the roadsides everywhere if they convinced everyone to not take their rusting wrecks to the local recycling center. That too would truly reduce the number or rusting cars on all the roadsides, wouldn't it?

    Are you all THIS completely daft when it comes to reality, math, and the real world? I guess you are. Thanks for further proof that morons are in charge of cats' lives.

    • Sorry I am sick to death of your tiresome, nasty, biased and idiotic rants. Banned.

  • Kudos to good works. However the actual number of animals killed in shelters is still high which shows how just a few ignorant souls can cause the death of so many by not committing to the lifetime care of their pets and refusing to S/N.

    • He deserves some form of recognition from the government i.e. Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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