Approximately 44 percent of all households have a dog with the percentage rising with each day.
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With so many pet families in this country, it’s mind-boggling that 3.3 million pets wind up in shelters every year. And that’s not even the most surprising statistic about pet adoption.
Here are five more things you may not know about American animal shelters:
Owners say goodbye to four-legged companions for various reasons, almost none of which have to do with their bloodline. If an owner passes away, for example, it doesn’t matter that her dogs were all purebred Vizslas. Purebreds, mixed-breeds and even highly-trained therapy dogs may still end up at an animal shelter. Dogs often find themselves in shelters because of situations out of their control.
This is why you’ll find a mixed bag of multi- and pure-breeds at most animal shelters. And if you’re looking for a specific breed, you may have even more options.
Not only do purebreds end up at municipal shelters, but there are also a slew of breed-specific animal rescue organizations that specialize in purebreds. From Afghan Hound Club of America Rescue to Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue, every breed has its own group of heroes. A simple internet search for your breed of choice plus the word “rescue” should provide you with all the links you’ll need.
- “Humane Society” and “SPCA” are generic terms
Regardless of their likeness, shelters that have “Humane Society” in their name are not associated with the Humane Society of the United States. Similarly, SPCA shelters are not part of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). So, when you adopt from the Main Street Humane Society, you’re not actually adopting from a branch of the Humane Society of the United States.
- Animal adoptions were up 18 percent in 2016
In a March 2017 press release, the ASPCA announced that an estimated 3.2 million animals are adopted each year. This is up from 2.7 million adoptions in 2011. And the good news keeps getting better. As you might expect, more adoptions mean fewer pets euthanized. In fact, this release estimates that shelters euthanized 1 million fewer animals in 2016 compared with 2011. That’s 1 million lives spared.
- Most dogs are still purchased from breeders
Although more people are adopting from animal shelters, most dogs are still purchased from breeders. According to an American Pet Products Association survey, 25 percent of dogs came from breeders in 2016. The same percentage of dogs came from friends and family while only 22 percent came from the animal shelter or humane society.
- Pet problems are the biggest reason pets need rehoming
According to the ASPCA’s National Rehoming Survey, 47 percent of rehomed dogs are abandoned because of things like aggressive or problematic behaviors and health problems. But not all shelter pets have behavioral or health issues. 27 percent of pets needed rehoming because of family issues that had nothing to do with the animal.
Thirty-seven percent of rehomed pets went to a friend or family member while 36 percent landed in an animal shelter.
Now you have more information about pet adoption than your average Joe or Jane. If we all spread the word, maybe we can see even more dogs adopted from shelters in 2018.