That’s a sobering thought for a nation as bountiful and charitable as the US.
We’ve made great strides in reducing that number over the last decade with the rise of animal advocacy and breed rescue programs but it’s still too many.
There are 13,600 public shelter facilities in US, run by local municipalities. These shelters take in over 6 million pets each year. The average age is 18 months. The easiest to adopt out are puppies, with black haired, seniors and medically challenged dogs the hardest to rehome and the quickest to go on the euthanasia list.
There are a few ‘no-kill’ shelters in the country such as Best Friends in Utah or the North Shore Animal League America in New York. These shelters do not put a single animal down. The majority of other public shelters do their best to adopt them out or transfer responsibility to a rescue organization, but the volume at times overwhelms them and some pets have to be let go.
In recent years there has been significant growth in rescue organizations. These groups rescue pets from shelters and house them in volunteer foster homes until the can be adopted out. Many of these are breed rescues, specializing in rehoming a specific type of dog or cat breed.
Why should you adopt?
The first and most important reason to adopt a pet from a shelter or rescue is to save their life. But realize that you are not just saving that dog or cat’s life, you are creating space in the shelter for another pet, so it’s actually two lives being saved.
Save a pet’s life, the rewards will be immeasurable.