Do You Know How Many Shelter Pets Die Every Day?

We’ve previously written about the reasons many people are reluctant to visit a shelter for their next pet. One of the biggest barriers to adoption is the concern of many people that a shelter will be depressing. Some, who might not have ever visited a shelter in the past, imagine a somewhat scary place housing animals with health or behavior problems. Whether those misperceptions are based on poorphotography of adoptables or sad advertisements, some potential adopters may be reluctant to look to a shelter for their next pet.

The Surprising Survey Results

But, a recent survey found out that reluctance to visit a shelter might also be due to the fact that many people just don’t realize the number of animals that die every day in animal shelters across the US.

A recent study by Best Friends Animal Society found that half of Americans surveyed believe that approximately 500 dogs and cats are euthanized every day in shelters across the country. The reality, while better than in years past, is a number far more staggering: 9,000.

Every day, 9,000 healthy dogs and cats are killed at shelters due to the fact that they don’t have a home and the shelters don’t have the space.

Another common misconception by close to half those surveyed was that shelter animals will be reclaimed by their owners, adopted, or transported to another shelter or rescue to continue to look for a forever home. The numbers of successful reunions of lost pets with owners is increasing, as are adoptions and transports, but the fact remains that millions of animals will never again put a paw outside a shelter once they are admitted.

How You Can Help "Save Them All"

Best Friends, a national animal welfare organization focused exclusively on ending the killing of dogs and cats in America's shelters, released these survey results for the launch of its Save Them All™ initiative. Although the numbers show that few Americans are actively helping their shelters through donations (just 32 percent) or pet adoption (15 percent within the last year), Best Friends is recommending many ways to help. The methods include donations, adoptions, spay/neuter, and volunteering of your time to help a shelter in your local area.

One last way Best Friends urges everyone to assist is simple and free: just help spread the word about the state of shelters across America today with family and friends. Best Friends is asking for support on your favorite social media platform using the hashtag #SaveThemAll. Whether that’s an upbeat Tweet about a great adoptable pet in your area or a Facebook status post about the number of homeless pets killed every day, you can help spread the word and, in the process, help Save Them All.

Image: Yukari /via Flickr

There's a growing sense of late that the animals with whom we share our homes, our hearts and our planet are more than merely animate objects, but rather creatures worthy of our compassion. In recent years, great strides have been made in statehouses across the country to ensure that nonhumans are protected against the worst humanity has to offer.

But in some states, such as Kentucky — ranked worst in the nation — animal welfare laws are still woefully lacking.

For the ninth year in a row, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) has analyzed thousands of data points regarding animal protection laws and enforcement to determine which states let animal abusers off the easiest.

"The bottom-tiered states have inadequate standards of basic care for animals, limited authority given to humane officers, and lack of mandatory reporting when veterinarians suspect animal cruelty," writes the ALDF in a press release.

Here are the five worst states to be an animal:

50. Kentucky

For the eighth year in a row, the ALDF has ranked Kentucky the very worst state for animal protection laws, pointing to a lack of felony provisions for cruelty and abandonment cases, save for a few select animals. Those convicted of animal cruelty are also not required to have mental health evaluations or counseling, and are not restricted by law from future animal ownership.

49. Iowa

Despite having been at the center of several high-profile factory farm animal abuse cases, the state continues to cling to ag-gag laws aimed at preventing undercover investigations of animal cruelty on farms, effectively silencing those who would try to speak for the voiceless.

48. New Mexico

The ALDF cites New Mexico's inadequate felony provisions for animal neglect and lack of any such provisions for abandonment as reasons why the state ranks among the nation's worst for animals. Offenders are also not required to undergo mental health evaluations, nor are peace officers even obligated to enforce animal welfare laws.

47. Utah

After Iowa, Utah is home to some of the most strictly enforced ag-gag laws in the country, though a pending court challenge to that legislation is underway. Currently, felony charges are nonexistent for cases of animal neglect, abandonment or fighting.

46. Wyoming

In Wyoming, felony provisions are in place for animal cruelty cases involving only select animals, and none exist for incidents of neglect or abandonment. The ALDF says the state's definitions of "basic care" for animals is inadequate, noting that peace officers are under no duty to enforce existing animal protection laws either.

Click here for the ALDF's complete state ranking list.

(Animal Legal Defense Fund)

Overall, animal protection laws are improving nationwide. According to the ALDF, more than half of all states have made "significant improvement" in terms of anti-cruelty laws since the group began compiling their rankings in 2006, though the push to ensure that every animal is protected is far from finished.

"There is room for growth in every jurisdiction," says Stephen Wells, executive director for the ALDF. "Animals don't vote, but those who advocate for animal protection do, so ALDF hopes lawmakers will recognize the need for serious progress in animal protection laws across the nation."




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