Domesticated animals are a part of many families today. These animals belong to “pet parents” and are often given loving homes. The only problem is that there are so many animals in the world today, not every domesticated animal is able to find a good home. This means they live out on the streets and are a statistic of animal overpopulation.
There is an animal put to death by American animal shelters every 11 seconds just because there aren’t enough resources available to provide it with adequate care.
Think about what that statistic says. We are killing animals because we don’t have enough space or money to care for them. How we treat animals is a reflection of who we are as people. If we begin to address animal overpopulation, then maybe we can start allowing all of our domesticated animal friends the chance at a good life.
- 25% of the dogs that will enter an animal shelter is a documented, purebred animal that has been registered with a local club.
- Over $50 billion is spent annually on the care and treatment for domesticated animals in households today.
- Even though pet ownership in the US has risen by 3x in the last 40 years, 3.7 million healthy animals are killed because they are unwanted annually.
- Only 1 out of every 10 domesticated animals that is received by US shelters has been spayed or neutered.
- Spaying and neutering an animal can cost as low as $45.
- U.S. taxpayers spend up to $2 billion each year on services to collect, house, destroy and dispose of unwanted animals.
- On average, it costs US taxpayers about $100 to capture, house, feed, and eventually euthanize a homeless animal.
Let’s not take away from the fact that a majority of households who are caring for their animals are doing it in the right way. 84% of the cats that are owned and 72% of the dogs that are owned have been spayed or neutered. Since only 10% of the animals in a shelter have received this surgery, it shows that most pet owners are dedicating themselves to their pets. The problem in animal overpopulation is within the minority. Within 7 years, just one mother cat or dog can have hundreds of thousands of offspring. When costs are as low as $45 to eliminate this potential explosion in the animal population, any excuse about it being too expensive goes out the window. In practical terms, $45 is two 50# bags of dog food.
How Fast Is Animal Overpopulation Getting Out of Control?
- The number of stray cats and dogs living in the U.S.: 70 million
- There are 70,000 dogs and cats that are born every day in the United States alone.
- Only 6,000 animal shelters at most currently exist to care for stray or unwanted domesticated animals.
- Up to 8 million animals enter into a shelter during the average year in the US.
- The number of cats and dogs reclaimed by owners from U. S. shelters each year: 600,000-750,000.
- 90% of the animals that enter into a shelter are healthy and fully capable of being adopted.
- Only 1 out of 5 animals that are adopted from an animal shelter are returned to the shelter a second time.
The goal of this piece isn’t to say that households need to adopt more pets or that pet-free households should consider getting a pet. It is to say that we all need to be a little bit smarter about how we get our pets so that we can control the animal overpopulation statistics a little more effectively. When so many animals in a shelter are capable of being adopted, we don’t need to go to the pet store or breed our own pets in order to get the animals that we want in our homes. In a recent survey, 29% of pet owners said they hadn’t spayed or neutered their pet because they just hadn’t bothered to do it. It’s that level of apathy that is contributing to this problem.
What Can We Do To Make Changes Right Now?
- If a domesticated cat is admitted to an animal shelter, there is just a 2% chance that the owner will come to reclaim the animal.
- Only 1 out of 4 cats that are currently in a loving home right now were adopted from an animal shelter.
- Over 40% of people who own a pet got the animal from a neighbor, a friend, or another family member.
- Local pet rescue groups account for just 2% of the total adoptions that take place annually.
- The average age of animals entering U.S. shelters: under 18 months.
- The percentage of owned dogs that were adopted from an animal shelter: 18%.
- 70% of the pet owners who own at least 1 animal right now will end up giving it away, taking it to a shelter, or wind up just abandoning it.
Being a pet owner is an enormous responsibility, but it can be a fulfilling and rewarding one when it is approached correctly. The best way to care for a pet is to budget out expenses before a furry friend is brought home. Spaying or neutering should also be incorporated with that cost if necessary. It does cost a little to adopt a pet from an animal shelter, but when you do, you’re also usually paying for advanced veterinarian care that has helped to increase the overall health of the animal. In return, you almost always get a grateful animal who just wants a loving home and human owners they can rely upon. Controlling animal overpopulation begins with spaying and neutering and ends with financial responsibility. Combine those two together and every animal will have a better chance at living a good life.