Facts About Pet Overpopulation

February 18, 2015

How many pets are in the United States? How many animals are in shelters?

According to the ASPCA:

  • 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 that 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.

Pet Overpopulation

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 that 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.

You Can Afford to Have Your Pet Spayed or Neutered

There are more options than you think…

Many people want to have their pets spayed or neutered, but when they find out how much it costs, they think it won’t be possible. Others want to help community cats but think they won’t be able to find a low-cost or free option. It’s absolutely possible because there are many shelters, veterinarians, and organizations that are ready and able to help. And it can be easy to find them. Just do a search for free clinics and something is bound to come up.

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