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Animal Shelter Euthanasia

Last updated: May 2022

National euthanasia statistics are difficult to pinpoint because animal care and control agencies are not uniformly required to keep statistics on the number of animals taken in, adopted, euthanized or reclaimed. While many shelters know the value of keeping statistics, no national reporting structure exists to make compiling national statistics on these figures possible.

Practical solutions for reducing euthanasia numbers

American Humane believes that all dogs and cats adopted from public or private animal care and control agencies must be sterilized before being allowed to leave the shelter. We also support the passage of state laws mandating this practice.

American Humane supports the establishment and operation of low-cost spay/neuter clinics. The reduction in cost motivates those who cannot and those who will not pay the full cost for the operation. These clinics have been successful in reducing euthanasia rates in communities across the nation.

American Humane believes the percentage of animals reunited with their owners would greatly increase if more pets were properly identified:

  • Be sure your pet wears an identification tag, rabies license, and city license. Include your name, address, phone number and pet’s name.
  • Keep licenses current, as they help shelters locate pet owners.
  • When moving, put a temporary tag on your pet. Include a phone number of someone who will know how to reach you and/or your cell number.
  • Don’t assume that your indoor pet doesn’t need tags. Many strays in shelters are indoor pets that escaped.
  • Purchase special cat collars with elastic bands to protect your cat from being caught in trees or on fences.
  • In addition to ID tags, consider getting your pet microchipped. Always remember to keep this information current and provide an emergency contact.

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