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8 Concerning Animal Shelter Euthanasia Statistics (2023 Update)

Bynewsmagzines

Mar 8, 2023
two women at an animal shelter


Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.

Animal shelters across the world are becoming more overpopulated, and unfortunately, most animals living inside don’t have a happy destiny. While a certain portion of animals in shelters get adopted, many animals still end up euthanized.

In fact, euthanasia is a serious problem in shelters because they euthanize healthy animals that could find a home instead.

Read on to learn more about the problem of euthanasia in animal shelters, whom it affects, and if there are shelters that don’t euthanize animals.

divider-multipetThe 8 Animal Shelter Euthanasia Statistics

  1. In animal shelters, 56% of dogs and 71% of cats admitted are euthanized.
  2. Every year, around 920,000 shelter animals get euthanized.
  3. Around 2.4 million animals euthanized in shelters were healthy and could’ve been saved and adopted.
  4. Out of all the animals that get euthanized in animal shelters every year, around 530,000 of them are cats.
  5. Out of all the animals that get euthanized in animal shelters every year, around 390,000 of them are dogs.
  6. Only 52% of U.S.A. animal shelters are no-kill shelters.
  7. San Francisco was the first city in the U.S.A. to become a no-kill city in 1994.
  8. Even no-kill shelters are not entirely no-kill; such shelters can still euthanize 10% of their population.

leaves divider leafThe Frequency of Euthanasia in Animal Shelters

1. In animal shelters, 56% of dogs and 71% of cats admitted are euthanized.

(American Humane)

Around 6.3 million animals end up in animal shelters around the world every year, and unfortunately, many of them are unable to find homes. Around 2.3 million of the animals in animal shelters get adopted, but the others don’t have such a good destiny. Instead of getting adopted, 56% of dogs and 71% of cats admitted to animal shelters are euthanized. One of the biggest reasons for euthanization is the overpopulation of the animals and the inability for shelters to provide enough resources for them. Any animal that doesn’t get adopted will eventually end up euthanized in an animal shelter.


 2. Every year, around 920,000 shelter animals get euthanized.

(ASPCA)

Many people don’t realize how big of a problem euthanization actually is. According to ASPCA, around 920,000 shelter animals get euthanized yearly. Most of the animals are in good shape and health, so they should be able to find a home. Unfortunately, most adoptions don’t happen quickly, and animals that don’t get adopted will eventually end up euthanized. The saddest part is that most of those animals would have found a home if there had been enough time. However, not all animal shelters euthanize this many animals; there are also no-kill shelters with different policies regarding euthanization.

four kittens in a cage in an animal shelter
Image Credit: Tom Feist, Shutterstock

3. Around 2.4 million animals euthanized in shelters were healthy and could’ve been saved and adopted.

(Veterinarians)

While most people believe that animals that are getting euthanized are sick, unwell, or extremely old, that’s not always the case. Most of the animals that end up euthanized were healthy and could have been adopted if there had been more efforts put into the whole adoption process. Unfortunately, adoption requires more dedication than euthanization, making it an easier choice for shelters to make. Since it’s cheaper and easier for animal shelters to euthanize animals than take care of them, many shelters worldwide engage in this behavior. Fortunately, there are numerous no-kill shelters worldwide that euthanize animals only when extremely necessary.

divider-multipetAnimals Most Affected by Euthanasia

4. Out of all the animals that get euthanized in animal shelters every year, around 530,000 of them are cats.

(ASPCA)

When it comes to the animals most affected by euthanasia, cats are at the top. In fact, out of all the animals euthanized at animal shelters every year, around 530,000 of them are cats. They have such a high level of euthanization because of their overpopulation, especially when it comes to stray cats. Since the euthanasia of cats is so common in animal shelters, people are trying to reduce the number of strays. For example, trap-neuter-return is a technique that helps neuter stray cats, decrease their population, and decrease the overall problem of euthanization in cats.

sad dog in shelter
Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

5. Out of all the animals that get euthanized in animal shelters every year, around 390,000 of them are dogs.

(ASPCA)

Although cats have the highest euthanization numbers in animal shelters, dogs are quite close. In fact, out of all the animals getting euthanized in shelters every year, 390,000 of them are dogs. Those are high numbers, indicating how widespread euthanasia is and how it affects animals in animal shelters. The worst part is that many of those dogs are healthy and in good shape and could’ve been adopted with more effort put into the process. Unfortunately, most animal shelters choose euthanasia to reduce overpopulation. Of course, there are also no-kill shelters, but they still euthanize when it’s deemed necessary.

divider-multipetAnimal Shelters That Don’t Practice Euthanasia

6. Only 52% of U.S.A. animal shelters are no-kill shelters.

(Veterinarians)

Currently, only 52% of animal shelters in the U.S.A. are no-kill shelters; the remaining 48% euthanize thousands of animals every year. But since more and more people are raising awareness about the issue of euthanasia in animal shelters, the situation will hopefully improve in the future: These statistics will drastically change, and the U.S.A. will turn more regular animal shelters into no-kill shelters. However, even no-kill shelters can still euthanize animals.

Dogs in shelter
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

7. San Francisco was the first city in the U.S.A. to become a no-kill city in 1994.

(Monroe Local)

This rule was accepted in 1994, and all animal shelters in San Francisco became no-kill shelters. Many cities have decided to follow in San Francisco’s footsteps, including Austin, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Jacksonville, and Albuquerque. Since more cities and states in the U.S.A. are selecting to become no-kill areas and have no-kill shelters, we can hope that euthanasia statistics in animal shelters will drop in the years to come.


8. Even no-kill shelters are not entirely no-kill; such shelters can still euthanize 10% of their population.

(Veterinarians)

Although no-kill shelters don’t have the same policies as regular animal shelters when it comes to euthanasia, they can still euthanize 10% of their population. Many cats, dogs, and other animals living in no-kill animal shelters can end up euthanized if they don’t get adopted. Although the euthanasia numbers in no-kill shelters are significantly lower than in regular shelters, they still exist. Fortunately, many no-kill shelters are looking to change their policies, so hopefully, one day, every shelter in the world will become a no-kill shelter.

dog in shelter
Image Credit: jwvein, Pixabay

divider-multipetFrequently Asked Questions About Concerning Animal Shelter Euthanasia

Is Animal Euthanasia Painful?

Although many people believe that euthanasia is painful, that’s not the case. Most of the time, animals are euthanized by getting a shot that contains general anesthesia, so they typically don’t feel anything. However, when getting euthanized, the animal might feel pain if the person misses their vein.

The combination of drugs used to euthanize dogs contains chemicals that immediately affect the brain, which stops working; therefore, they don’t feel pain and die peacefully.

When Should an Animal Be Euthanized?

Just because euthanization isn’t painful for animals, that doesn’t mean the statistics of euthanized animals in animal shelters should be this high. The only reasons that euthanization should be necessary for an animal are when the animal is really sick, is seriously injured, or has a disease that can’t be treated.

But most animals in shelters don’t meet these criteria but end up euthanized, anyway.

divider-multipetConclusion

Euthanization represents a severe problem for animal shelters across the world because a high level of animals gets euthanized every year. Fortunately, there are also no-kill shelters, and although they may still euthanize 10% of their population, they are still better than regular shelters.


Featured Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

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