Owning a pet is a huge responsibility. Often people will make the decision to get a pet without really preparing themselves for the ownership responsibilities to keep it safe and secure, or without considering the time commitment necessary. The result is thousands of pets abandoned, surrendered, escaping, and breeding, and many of these animals will end up in a shelter. If they are lucky, they will find responsible forever homes, but that is not always the case. Here are some statistics any pet owner and possible pet owner should know about animal homelessness and shelter statistics in the U.S.

Homeless animals outnumber homeless people 5-1.
In order to give every pet in shelters and on the streets a home, every human being in the country would need to adopt 7 homeless pets. This astonishing reality is due to lack of population control, primarily. Most strays are never spayed or neutered and when they breed, their offspring are not spayed or neutered, and so on. In fact , only about 10% of animals received in shelters are spayed or neutered. Each year, approximately 2.7 million dogs and cats are euthanized because shelters are too full and there simply are not enough adopters. When making the decision to bring a pet into your home, you should also consider taking steps to prevent overpopulation. Spay and neuter procedures are safe for animals around 6 months or older; however spaying or neutering younger animals is still safe, sterilization also provides many health and behavior benefits for cats and dogs.

Many strays are lost pets
Lost pets are those that were not kept properly indoors, or had escape access in outdoor areas, and were not provided with ID methods. Micro chipping is a common, relatively inexpensive and easy way to ensure that if your pet is lost it may be returned to you. It is imperative to remember to update your animal’s chip information as your location changes. The National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy reports that less than 2% of lost cats and only 15-20% of lost dogs are returned to their owners. Though almost 2 times as many strays than companion animals enter shelters, there are still approximately 7.6 million companion animals brought to shelters each year, and the main reasons these animals are in shelters is because their owners surrender them or animal control finds them as strays.

Though it is impossible to know the number of stray dogs and cats living in the United States, the estimates are staggering. There are many ways to advocate for animal homelessness. By volunteering your time, making donations to local shelters, and speaking out about animal rights you can make a difference!


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