October has been named Adopt-A-Shelter Dog Month by the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®). With all the awareness campaigns about the overpopulation of pet shelters, we thought it would be interesting to see if they are having the right effect. And they are.

What the Numbers Show

Data released earlier this year by the ASPCA shows that fewer animals are ending up in animal shelters, and for those that do, they have a better chance of getting out alive. According to their annual statistics:

Pets in Shelters

2011 = 7.2 million

2017 = 6.5 million

Down almost 10%

Pets Being Adopted

2011 = 2.7 million

2017 = 3.2 million

Up 18.5%

Pets Being Euthanized

2011 = 2.7 million

2017 = 1.5 million

Down 44.4%

Pets Being Reclaimed by Their Owners

2011 = 649,000

2017 = 710,000

Up 9.4%

Factors Affecting the Numbers

  • Change in Adoption Procedures – One of the likely reasons, according to the ASPCA, is that many shelters are simplifying their adoption procedures, making it easier for animals to find their way to loving homes. Shelters are still screening to get the right match for the home, but the procedure to get there is much more user friendly. No more five-page adoption applications, home inspections and hoops to jump through that turn off many great adoptive parents. Instead, shelters are moving toward conversation-based screenings where everyone feels respected and walks out more informed about the realities of pet ownership.
  • Affordable Spay/Neuter Fees – A normal practice in the process at pet shelters is to spay or neuter the animals to reduce the number of unwanted animals. Many times, this fee can be too high for someone on a tight budget, but otherwise a good prospective adopter. Many services available for those on a tight budget include free/reduced spay and neutering fees, pet food banks, veterinary funds and places to take in pets when their owners are dealing with an emergency.
  • Eliminating Breed Specific Legislation – Many jurisdictions are turning back the regulations that pick out a specific breed, such as pit bulls, and not allowing wide sweeping bans based on their looks or breed, but only on a specific dog’s behavior. This only makes sense!
  • More Sophisticated Technology – In addition to microchipping your dog, there are a host of new apps that allow you to track your lost pooch through GPS technology devices attached to their collars. This allows for less animals to end up lost in animal shelters. And, if they are, they have a greater chance of being tracked and returned to their owners.
  • Pet Parent Cultural Shift – There is a huge trend toward our pets being considered a part of the family, just another one of our children. Would you not make all efforts to find your lost child? That same passion and care extends now to many pets in truly loving homes.
  • Transport Networks – For a variety of reasons, many of the pet shelters in certain areas of the country are very overpopulated. They have too many pets for the demand for adoption. A new trend in the past several years is for the funding of transport networks to bring those pets from overpopulated shelters … many times kill shelters … to areas of the U.S. where there are shortages of adoption animals.

The only way to keep millions of loving, adoptable pets from losing their lives is to keep pet shelters as your first option to finding an animal. They’ve had some rough history, but they all deserve a good, loving home.

This blog is brought to you by Under the Weather®, an avid supporter of finding homes for shelter dogs. We finance the Ruffy Rescue Transport Fund to cover the transport cost of bringing dogs from overpopulated kill shelters to Vermont for adoption. A portion of every dollar in sales is channeled to supporting this cause as well as financing the spaying and neutering fees of shelter animals. Get to know more about The Ruffy Rescue Transport Fund.

Under the Weather® is a provider of a new line of freeze-dried bland diets for your dog. Your newly adopted dog may have digestive upset, such as vomiting or diarrhea, when they first come home. A bland diet is often recommended to help soothe their digestive system until they return to normal. No cooking required, just add water!

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