This week (Nov 4-10) is National Animal Shelter & Rescue Appreciation Week. FCVC wants to celebrate by thanking all the amazing shelters and rescues who help save the lives of animals every day. During this week, people are encouraged to become acquainted with their local shelters and rescues to learn how they can give back. We have included here information about pet ownership in America.
How Many Pets Are In Shelters, Anyway?
Currently, no government institution or animal organization is responsible for tabulating national statistics for the animal protection movement. These are national estimates; the figures may vary from state to state.
Facts and Stats About Pets In The USA
- According to ASPCA.org there are roughly 6.5 million animals entering shelters and rescues each year.
- Each year, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized (670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats).
- Approximately 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted each year (1.6 million dogs and 1.6 million cats).
- About 710,000 animals who enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners. Of those, 620,000 are dogs and only 90,000 are cats.
- It’s estimated that 78 million dogs and 85.8 million cats are owned in the United States. Approximately 44% of all households in the United States have a dog, and 35% have a cat. (Source: American Pet Products Association 2015-2016 (APPA)
- APPA reports that 34% of dogs are purchased from breeders, while 23% of dogs and 31% of cats are obtained from an animal shelter or humane society.
- According to the ASPCA’s National Rehoming Survey, pet problems are the most common reason that owners rehome their pet, accounting for 47% of rehomed dogs and 42% of rehomed cats. Pet problems were defined as problematic behaviors, aggressive behaviors, grew larger than expected, or health problems owner couldn’t handle.
How You Can Give Back – 10 Ways To Show It
You may be wondering how you as an individual can help local shelters or rescues in your own area. The Humane Society has pulled this list together of “Ten Ways to Help Your Local Shelter or Rescue”.
1. Share your love for Shelter & Rescue animals
Tell the world how you feel about your local shelter or rescue by using Full Circle Vet Care share graphics.Just click on your favorite. Then right-click and “save as image” to your desktop or phone gallery. Then add the image to your Facebook page. (If you think they’re all too cute to choose a favorite, swap them out every day!)
2. Get to know your local shelter and rescue groups
Start the process by locating all of the ones in your area. You may be surprised how many groups nearby are helping animals. You can discover many of these on Adopt A Pet.com.
3. Learn before you leap
Before you adopt, go to Adopt A Pet.com to learn what to expect when adopting a pet. You’ll be much less likely to become frustrated and return your new pet if you understand the challenges and rewards of adopting a pet beforehand.
4. Say “thanks!”
Take a minute to express your gratitude to the people who work at your local shelter or rescue groups. If you’ve adopted a pet from one of them, show how well your pet is doing by sharing an updated picture via a letter, email, or posting it on the organization’s Facebook page or website.
5. Get crafty
Combine fabric, yarn, recycles, and imagination to bring much-needed fun into the lives of local shelter and rescue pets. There’s no end to the toys you can make. Try braiding strips of fleece into fun for dogs, or cutting and folding a surprising household object into a cat distractor.
Are you a born match-maker? Create attention-grabbing “Adopt-Me” vests to spotlight available pets at adoption events held by shelters and rescues. We’ve found DIY options for those of us who avoid sewing as well as sewing-machine wizards.
6. Become a fan
“Like” the Shelter Pet Project (powered by Adopt A Pet.com) on Facebook. Then, if possible, “like” the individual groups in your community, too.
7. Make wishes come true
Shelters and rescue groups always need towels, toys, and other supplies. Check their websites for wish lists or call them to find out what’s in short supply.
Even if you can’t adopt a pet just now, you can help make life better for homeless animals by volunteering with your local shelter or rescue organization. Do you have experience as a carpenter or electrician? Are you a marketing or dog-walking whiz? All of these skills are valuable!
9. Help at your own home
Make the jobs of shelters and rescues easier: Outfit your cats and dogs with collars and proper ID (a microchip and ID tags) at all times. As soon as you bring them into your family, have all of your pets spayed or neutered. Keep your cats indoors, where you can keep them safe (though it’s great to take them on walks if they are comfortable on a harness and leash), and keep dogs on leashes when off your property.
10. Help your shelter make positive changes
If you see or hear anything at your local shelter that concerns you, follow The Humane Society of the US’s guidelines for addressing that concern in the most effective way.
One More Way
As you can see there are many ways that you can help your local animal shelters and rescues – without adopting a pet. However, if you can adopt a pet and give them a forever home – well, that would just be awesome!