Devastating Statistics Show an Increase in Euthanasia of Cats and Dogs

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic

According to Best Friends Animal Society, a leading national animal welfare organization dedicated to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America's shelters, for the first time in five years, the number of dogs and cats killed in U.S. shelters increased from 347,000 to 355,000. This devastating data is the result of an increase in uptakes after shelters reopened after being closed in 2020 – the following year recorded 8.1 percent more abandoned cats and dogs across the United States. The sudden changes seem to have impacted dogs more than cats, with the intake increased by nearly three times the rate of the adoptions! It’s not looking good for felines, either, as they remain most at risk, with a euthanasia rate twice higher than that of dogs.

The data collected by Best Friends Animal Society indicates that there is an animal shelter crisis in America, with more and more pets being abandoned and less of them getting adopted, but it’s not all bleak – even though shelters have seen better days. There are various initiatives and programs looking to help change things for the better – for instance, Best Friends Animal Society pairs no-kill shelters with shelters that are struggling to help save the lives of animals – and shelters that collaborate with BFAS have noted that they’ve managed to save twice more lives in the last five years since working with this organization. They also help shelters across the country establish foster programs, provide accessible, affordable spay/neuter services, and run humane trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs for community cats.

While the work of shelters, rescues, volunteers, and welfare organizations such as Best Friends Animal Society is invaluable and helps save so many lives of cats and dogs, they can’t save them all alone. In the end, it’s the community’s support that makes the biggest difference, whether it’s working with government leaders to advocate for changes in pet housing restrictions or motivating individuals to consider adoption over buying cats and dogs from breeders. 

As an individual, the best thing you can do to help mitigate the shelter crisis and prevent the euthanasia of abandoned cats and dogs is to adopt from a shelter or a rescue – you’ll gain a best friend and save a life in the process. Other helpful ways of contributing to the no-kill mission of BFAS are to spay or neuter your pet, consider fostering or volunteering at a local shelter or rescue or donating and advocating for pets in need. 

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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