Most Shocking Facts And Statistics On Dogs In Shelters

There are about 900 million dogs around the world. In 2018, the United States alone was home to almost 90 million dogs.

While animal shelters are usually funded by the government or by public donations, many shelters are badly underfunded and have to make do the best they can.

If you ever wanted the skinny on all things shelter-related, here are some of the most shocking facts and statistics on dogs in shelters.

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  1. There are more than 200 million stray dogs worldwide
  2. 2.7 million dogs and cats are killed every year in the US alone
  3. Approximately 3.1 million dogs enter animal shelters each year
  4. Dogs adopted from animal shelters decreased in 2019-2020
  5. One-fourth of dogs in animal shelters are purebred
  6. Many dogs in shelters are perfectly normal and trained
  7. More than 70% of the worldwide dog population is free-ranging
  8. Approximately 1.6 million dogs are adopted from shelters every year
  9. Six US states account for more than 50% of euthanized animals

1. There are more than 200 million stray dogs worldwide

According to the World Health Organization. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates that approximately 3.3 million dogs enter U.S. shelters each year.

Every year, about 810,000 stray animals enter animal shelters around the world and are returned to their owners.

Of the unadopted animals, about 20% were euthanized due to illness, illness, or overcrowding.

That number is thankfully declining every year from 2 million in 2015.

2. 2.7 million dogs and cats are killed every year

According to Dosomething.org, 2.7 million dogs and cats have been killed simply because the shelters are crowded and there are not enough adoptive homes.

Millions around the world are campaigning for adoption as opposed to purchasing.

3. Approximately 3.1 million dogs enter animal shelters each year

Of the 6.3 animals that enter the shelter each year, 3.1 million are dogs. This is down from 3.9 million in 2011. Of those 3.1 million, only about 2 million will be adopted.

4. Dogs adopted from animal shelters decreased in 2019-2020

Based on a 2019-2020 American Pet Products Association (APPA) survey, 39% of dogs were adopted from animal shelters or shelters compared to other acquisition methods.

This is down from 44% of the 2017-2018 survey.

5. One-quarter of the dogs in animal shelters are purebred

Purebred dogs are most commonly purchased from breeders or puppy mills. Many of these dogs are purchased on a whim, impulse, or worse, given as unwanted presents.

I personally got given a purebred dog long ago for my 21st birthday. That, thankfully for the both of us, ended up to be 11 of some of the best years of my life, but my friend didn’t leave without getting an earful from me. You just do NOT give dogs as presents!

6. Dogs in shelters are perfectly normal and trained

While some dogs are given up because of behavioral problems, the majority of the dogs that are given up are because the owners are going through a dramatic change in life situations such as a divorce or relocation.

7. More than 70% of the worldwide dog population is free-ranging

Unfortunately, like all free-roaming animals, stray dogs do cause and spread the disease.

Strays cause the deaths of 60,000 humans each year, with India leading the way as one of the countries with the highest percentage of dogs roaming freely.

Almost 20 million dog bites are reported in India each year, a country that is trying animal contraceptive programs that have some success, especially in urban areas with about 70% reduction in stray dog numbers.

8. Approximately 1.6 million dogs are adopted from shelters every year

According to the ASPCA, 1.6 million dogs are adopted from shelters every year, bringing the total number of adopted pets to 3.2 million.

9. Six US states account for more than 50% of euthanized animals

The states of Texas, California, North Carolina, Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana account for more than half of the euthanized pets nationwide.

Why Do Dogs Get Given Up To Shelters?

While many dogs are given up because of uncontrollable behavioral problems such as destructive chewing, separation anxiety, and aggression, the majority of the dogs end up in shelters because of some dramatic changes in the lifestyle of their owners.

Some of the more common reasons for a dog getting given up include:

  • The owners are going through a divorce and neither of them can keep the dog
  • There is a newborn addition around who is highly allergic to dogs
  • The owner lost a job and no longer has the financial means to take care of the dog
  • Owners might have developed an allergy later in life and are now allergic to their dog
  • Lack of time because of a change in work schedule or life situation might cause owners to give up their dogs
  • Owners have to move into a rental property that does not allow pets
  • Owners might have to relocate to another country and cannot bring their pets

Regardless of the reason and whether it is justified or not, the fact remains that millions of dogs end up in shelters each year, with many of them getting euthanized.

What Can We Do?

We can help by first looking for dogs in shelters unless you want a dog bred for a specific purpose such as police work or military.

This phrase will never get old, so “adopt, don’t shop!”

Photo by Katja.

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