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Now Only 2% of Dogs Die in Shelters

New data released by the ASPCA, HSUS, and the American Pet Products Association‘s National Pet Owners Survey show that shelter killings are at an all time low in both whole numbers and percent of pet dogs in America. Down from a high of nearly 25% of all dogs per year in the 1970s, as little as 2% of dogs now find their end in US shelters, the majority of them are pit bulls.
Despite both the human and pet dog populations in America rising, the number of dogs entering and dying in shelters has fallen steadily for decades. While this vast improvement hasn’t stemmed the degree of vitriol against “breeders” by those in the shelter/rescue community, a look at statistics shows that there is little foundation for their anger. The situation is getting better every year and very little of the past or remaining problems have anything to do with hobby breeders or people who buy their dogs.
There are now an estimated 78.2 Million pet dogs in the United States. Source: APPA 2012

The most significant factor in the steady decline in shelter intakes is widely credited to the advancements made in spay/neuter programs. Nearly four out of five pet dogs are now desexed. Despite making up only 1 in 5 pet dogs, intact dogs account for 9 out of 10 shelter intakes, a staggering asymmetry.
78% of dogs are spayed or neutered. The vast majority of dogs entering shelters are still intact. Source: ASPCA

Purebreds are under-represented in shelters versus their proportion of the 78 million pet dogs, but up to a quarter of intakes are deemed to be pure versus 75% deemed mixed-breed. The most significant disparity between the general population of dogs and dogs that enter shelter and are euthanized is being designated as a “pit bull” or a pit bull mix.
Whereas the percent of dogs desexed has increased since spay/neuter programs were widely introduced in the mid 70s, the popularity of pit bulls and their share of euthanized dogs has steadily increased from as little as 2% in the 1980s to the 60% we see today.
The sources and destinations of American dogs; Shelter intake and euthanasia rates.

The 2.4 to 3.5 million Pit Bull type dogs that are currently pets make up between 3% and 4.5% of the owned dogs in the USA yet the 1.1 million that enter shelters each year account for nearly 30% of all shelter intakes and 60% of all dogs euthanized. That means that more pit bulls are killed than all other breeds combined. Pit bulls also account for 60% of fatal dog attacks with Rottweilers coming in second with 14%. Fatal attacks are fleetingly rare, but bites and maulings are not, and even pit bull apologists will admit that their aggression propensity towards other dogs and cats is significantly higher than it is towards humans. Yet the average age of dogs entering shelters is only 18 months, so a staggering share of these failed relationships are occurring with adolescent dogs and problems with dog aggression or anything similar doesn’t even register on the top 10 reasons people report for why they are abandoning the dog at the shelter.
The biggest lie in dogdom today is that there is an “overpopulation” problem. This ignores the steady increase in both percentage of homes that have dogs, the rising number of dogs per home, the increase in population and the increase in pet dogs.
The next biggest lie is that breeders are to blame and that every purchased puppy condemns a shelter dog to death. This ignores that the majority of dogs are acquired for little to no cost from friends or family, not from breeders, and that every aspect of buying a dog from a breeder decreases the chance that the dog will ever see the inside of a shelter.
  • Purebreds are less likely to end up in shelters than mixed-breeds.
  • Dogs purchased from breeders or pet stores are less likely to end up in shelters.
  • Dogs given as gifts or acquired for more than $100 are less likely to end up in a shelter.
  • Dogs acquired for less than $30 or dogs adopted from a shelter are more likely to end up in a shelter.
Pit bull rescuers will wail and complain and blame puppy mills, hobby breeders, and puppy buyers with the most heinous of crimes against dogs and humanity. But the truth is that the foster pit bull at their feet is more likely to end up back in a shelter and more likely to get put down than any puppy mill dog sold in a mall, any purebred dog sold by a hobby breeder to a family that paid for it, or even the most carelessly bred oops mutt.
In fact, those pit bulls are making all other breeds of dog and dog enthusiasts look worse than they are. Without pit bulls in the picture, the yearly euthanization rate could be less than 1% of dogs. If you’re decrying dead shelter dogs and the first words out of your mouth are “breeders” and “buyers” or “overpopulation,” and not “pit bull culture” then you’re a dangerous fool.
 

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And for all the justifiable bad warp puppy mills get the dogs they produce are not ending up in shelters as well.
 

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I find it interesting that the highest number of shelter dogs (either almost half or more than half depending on the study) were originally obtained from friends or family. That's all those people having "just one litter" from their pet because "I want one for myself and my friends and family all want one so I have lots of "good homes" for the pups.
 

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That's all those people having "just one litter" from their pet because "I want one for myself and my friends and family all want one so I have lots of "good homes" for the pups.
This sounds strangely familiar, like maybe we've heard this phrase Very recently on another post........
 

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Also the price one pays for the dog is inversely purpotional to the likelihood they end up in a shelter. ie the more you pay the less like they are to end up in a shelter. Because it goes to the hear of the matter and how much you value the dog in the first place, Those that spend little on the dog tend to place little value in the dog to begin with.
 

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I think these days there are a lot fewer people breeding their pets than there used to be a couple of decades ago. I remember when most people believed they should let their dog or cat have at least one litter before getting fixed; now most people have their pets spayed and neutered much younger and never breed them.

Of course there are exceptions. I have neighbors who let their mastiff and lab have a litter together last fall. They had 13 adorable puppies who are now huge, active, strong young dogs. They all went to friends and relatives, but I have a hunch that at least one family won't be able to keep theirs much longer. Their house and yard are way too small for that dog, they have no fence, and the kids are no longer able to walk the dog now that he's so big and strong. He's a nice dog, with a pleasant disposition, but little training. They've never taken him to an obedience class. This is exactly the kind of dog that ends up in a shelter.
 

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I find it interesting that the highest number of shelter dogs (either almost half or more than half depending on the study) were originally obtained from friends or family. That's all those people having "just one litter" from their pet because "I want one for myself and my friends and family all want one so I have lots of "good homes" for the pups.
This sounds strangely familiar, like maybe we've heard this phrase Very recently on another post........
:lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:
 

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If you think everything is fine now I'm sorry you are simply delusional. Still working with a 60%+ kill rate as of last month in Dallas.
 

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Also the price one pays for the dog is inversely purpotional to the likelihood they end up in a shelter. ie the more you pay the less like they are to end up in a shelter. Because it goes to the hear of the matter and how much you value the dog in the first place, Those that spend little on the dog tend to place little value in the dog to begin with.
Mikey, I'm sorry but you are simply incorrect and there is no factual basis for this claim. As you and everyone else here is repeating the rhetoric of Nathan Winograd I suggest you read the rest of his works or try to have a conversation with him.

Here is one place to start: Get ?Crazy? : Nathan J Winograd
When North Shore Animal League went “crazy” and waived adoption fees altogether in order to place more animals, once again, groups like HSUS, the ASPCA, and other champions of killing quickly condemned them for “reducing the quality of adoptive homes.” Recently, a multi-state study confirmed what true animal lovers running progressive shelters already knew: reducing or waiving fees does not reduce the quality of the home but it does increase the number of animals getting adopted. Indeed, when the Nevada Humane Society did a “pick your price” adoption event, not only did more animals get adopted compared to a typical week, but the average donation exceeded the standard adoption fee.
One of my dogs was free from a family member. I do not treat him any less than my other dogs, in fact if anything I might treat him better because I feel like I owe that to my family member who had him first.

The reason we are doing better is because the general public is beginning to accept that shelter dogs are not trash and not second class, and likewise people are beginning to realize and actually think about the plight of the dogs and cats that dying every single day. We are also doing better because of rescue transfer increasing, especially for purebred dogs. I work with the local pound here (in my suburb, not in Dallas) and we can usually find a breed rescue for purebred dogs, especially high demand breeds like the great dane that came in a week or two ago.

In the age of information it's become harder and harder to ignore these problems, thankfully.

Also, Mikey, there are plenty of puppy mill dogs in shelters. The closed admission shelter I work with takes in probably at least once a month or so adult dogs seized from puppy mills.

The situation is better in the north where most of you are located. I can assure you it is still incredibly dire down here in the south.
 

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Also one more thing to note in regards to this:
Despite making up only 1 in 5 pet dogs, intact dogs account for 9 out of 10 shelter intakes, a staggering asymmetry.
Keep in mind that the vast majority of shelter and rescue dogs are legally required to be fixed by order of the state in which they are adopted. So, while it is true that there are a large number of mixed breeds, it's unlikely that this number is driven by rescue/shelter dogs.

Another obvious flaw in the data is that most shelter workers are absolutely terrible at identifying breeds, and because of that I would take purebred vs mixed numbers with not just a grain of salt but an entire container of salt.

Another page that discusses adoption fee vs quality of home:
Increase Adoptions : Research on Fee-Waived Adoptions : ASPCA Professional
In 2006, ASPCA Senior Director of Shelter Research and Development, Emily Weiss, Ph.D., CAAB, and Shannon Gramann, ASPCA Manager of Shelter Research and Development, intrigued by the success of a free cats program in effect since 1998 at the Wisconsin Humane Society, conducted a study comparing “the attachment levels of adopters of cats — fee based adoptions vs. free adoptions.”
The resulting data, published in Vol. 12 Issue 4 of the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, indicates that:

  • Attachment to cats adopted from the study facility was not decreased when adoption fees were eliminated,
  • Eliminating adoption fees does not devalue the animals in the eyes of the adopters, and that
  • Free adult cat programs could “dramatically impact the lives of thousands of shelter cats who would otherwise reside in a shelter for months or be euthanized.”
 

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As someone who has worked at/out of shelters as an employee for nearly 12 yrs, I can say that shelter workers are horrible at breed identification. So much so, that I purchased breed books for them to reference. I've worked at two shelters my last one (Louisiana) and my current one (Texas) In both places the majority of dogs that were euthanized was pitbull/pitbull mix dogs and lab/labmix dogs and most black dogs that were harder to adopt. Shelters simply get a huge influx of the above mentioned type dogs. Not to mention, as far as euthanasia rates in shelters go, in both my shelters 80% of cats are euthanized, simply because so many more come in then dogs. The statistics at my old shelter, we took in about 12k animals a year 6 out of every 10 dogs were euthanized and 8 out of every 10 cats. My current shelter, the euthanasia statistics are a less but the same breeds/types that make up the majority of the euth list are the same. I can say, that we did get our share of purebred dogs, especially dachshunds and other hounds (I'm sure the nose is to blame for alot of them) but purebred s were usually the first dogs adopted or sent to rescues.

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Find the figure of 2% unbelievable, things must be very different State side as it's not so many years ago that Battersea was PTS almost a third of there yearly intake.
 

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keep in mind that when people generally cite kill rates for shelter it is for dogs and cats. There is a huge feral cat problem in the US and they make up the vast percentage of euthanasias in shelters.

US is overrun with more than 50 million feral cats | Al Jazeera America
Yes but the Battersea figures here in the UK are for dogs only & unfortunately many rescues/charities will have nothing do to with breed rescues, even if they make the approach.
Often think that they would prefer no breeds just 'Heinz 57's, as they used to be called', can't dam them all but many like the placement fee as the poor dogs bounce backwards & forwards from inappropriate homes & some can't find the time to even scan.
 

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can't dam them all but many like the placement fee as the poor dogs bounce backwards & forwards from inappropriate homes & some can't find the time to even scan.
This happens here too, some shelters and rescues are only interested in placement numbers, not whether the pet actually stays in the home. Many dogs are "repeat customers" in the shelter/rescue system, and are counted over and over.
 

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The euth rate of cats are far higher then the euth rate of dogs. Especially during the spring and summer months. For every dog I bring into the shelter, I bring in about 3 cats. Mostly feral cats, that people trap daily. My last shelter we exported dogs 2x monthly to the northeast on transports.

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