What percentage of dogs get euthanized?

Answered by Jarrod Smith

In my experience working at an animal shelter, it is heartbreaking to witness the high euthanasia rates for dogs and cats that come through our doors. According to statistics, 56 percent of dogs and 71 percent of cats that enter animal shelters are euthanized. This means that more than half of the dogs and nearly three-quarters of the cats do not make it out of the shelter alive.

One of the main reasons why more cats are euthanized compared to dogs is because they are more likely to enter the shelter without any form of identification. Dogs often wear collars with tags or are microchipped, making it easier for owners to be reunited with them. However, cats, being more independent and prone to roaming, often do not have any identification. This makes it challenging for shelter staff to locate their owners and increases the likelihood of euthanasia.

Another disheartening statistic is the low percentage of animals that are successfully reunited with their owners. Only 15.8 percent of dogs and a mere 2 percent of cats that enter animal shelters are reunited with their owners. This highlights the importance of proper identification for pets, as it significantly increases their chances of being reclaimed by their families.

The high euthanasia rates also shed light on the issue of pet overpopulation. There are simply too many animals entering shelters, and the resources and space available are limited. It is a sad reality that shelters often have to make difficult decisions based on the number of animals they can accommodate and the likelihood of finding them forever homes.

While these statistics are disheartening, it is important to note that efforts are being made to reduce euthanasia rates and increase adoption rates. Many shelters and rescue organizations are implementing spay/neuter programs, promoting responsible pet ownership, and actively seeking out foster and adoptive homes for animals in need. These initiatives are crucial in addressing the root causes of pet overpopulation and reducing the need for euthanasia.

The high euthanasia rates for dogs and cats in animal shelters are a deeply saddening reality. More cats are euthanized due to their lack of identification, making it challenging to reunite them with their owners. The low percentage of animals reunited with their owners further emphasizes the importance of proper identification. Pet overpopulation is a significant factor contributing to these euthanasia rates, but efforts are being made to reduce them through spay/neuter programs and promoting responsible pet ownership.