USA: Economic Upturn-Decline In Number Of Unwanted Pets?

Just a quick note to ask if anyone who knows whether there has been a steady decline in the number of relinquished or abandoned pets because of the upturn in the American economy.

My research indicates that there has been no real decline in relinquishments but as far as Los Angeles Animal Services are concerned there has been an improvement in their efforts to find adopters, which has resulted in less euthanasia. I refer to Los Angeles Animal Services because they keep current figures.

LA Animal Services statistics 2009 to 2014

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Back in 2008 there were lots of reports in both the US and UK press about the rising number of home foreclosures and in line with that the rising number of unwanted pets across the USA.

For example, in Los Angeles animal shelters were reporting that in 2008 there was a 21% increase in the number of residents who cited moving home or their landlord (forced to rent from a landlord) as reasons for giving up their animals.

The USA economy is projected to grow by 2.8% in 2014. In 2013 growth was 1.9%. So the US economy is doing all right and therefore shouldn’t we expect there to be less unwanted cats?


It is difficult to find recent figures on companion animals held at shelters and euthanised. The most recent figures I can find concern Los Angeles city animal shelters listed in an article which states that between July 2009 in June 2010, 19,460 dogs and cats were killed, while between July 2011 and June 2012, 21,619 cats and dogs were killed. The numbers of unwanted pets was still rising as late as June 2012.

The Los Angeles city animal shelter figures that I present above do not follow the trend of the economic figures. You have to conclude, therefore, that the financial crash appears to have been an excuse to relinquish unwanted pets. That may be the case partly but having discovered recent figures there has been a turnaround.

Los Angeles Animal Services statistics for the number of animals euthanised for July 2013 to March 2014 shows a consistent decline. Can we put this down to less abandoned cats and dogs?

I don’t think we can. The figures indicate that the LA Animals Services are doing a better job at rehoming cats and dogs (see figures above).


  1. USA GDP:
  2. Shelter stats: LA Animal Services

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

2 thoughts on “USA: Economic Upturn-Decline In Number Of Unwanted Pets?”

  1. I know the animal control people here in Riverside California have been trying to reduce the number of pets abandoned in shelters and strays on the street. There are public service ads admonishing viewers to adopt shelter pets rather than buy them. My favorites are those told from the viewpoint of happy adopted pets that end “I love my Human.” Also, all pets that are adopted from shelters must be spayed or neutered. We also have a no-kill shelter that is supported with fund-raising and donations called the Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center. They have a good working relationship with the county shelter. Both shelters have youth and volunteer programs where those in the community can learn about caring for pets and spend time caring for the animals in custody. This saves tax money, creates an active group of concerned animal lovers, and the well-being of our four-footed friends is increased. A win-win-win situation. Also, we have two programs that help keep pets with their owners: One takes in donated pet food to be distributed to the poor and elderly, and the other provides low cost ($14) or free spay and neuter services for low income individuals. Are animals still euthanized? Yes, but in my area the numbers are way down. Currently the county shelter has 35 cats for adoption (for a county of over a million people)and in the not-so-distant past, there were about 150. Animals are held for 3-4 months rather than just a week. It’s not the animals that are the problem, it’s the people. Using different approaches and involving different parts of the community as made a real difference here in Riverside.

    1. EXACTLY RIVERSIDE ROBYN very true i could never just give my animals up even if i came to times of being poor. They give so much love back in return.

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