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25 Curious Homeless Pet Statistics

One of the dark statistics that often goes unreported involves homeless pets. That’s why it is so important to have pets spayed or neutered as soon as your pet’s veterinarian recommends it. Otherwise offspring may be produced that cannot be absorbed by the community. Rather than place an animal in a shelter where they run the risk of being put down, owners are dumping animals outside and forcing them to live on their own.

Homeless pets outnumber homeless people by a 5 to 1 ratio.

Homeless Pets

Most owners simply give up their animals because they cannot keep them anymore. Sometimes it happens because a pet becomes aggressive or children are born with pet allergies, but most pets become homeless because they are being discarded. With no consequences to these actions and the potential monetary relief that the owner receives, these statistics will shine a light into this darkness.

  • Only about 10% of dogs that are born today will every find a permanent home.
  • Nearly 3 million animals are euthanized every year simply because no one is willing to adopt them.
  • The percentage of cats that are ever returned to their home after they escape, run away, or go missing outside: 2%.
  • 1 in 5 people who take a dog to a shelter actually adopted them from an animal shelter in the first place.
  • If just dogs and cats are considered as homeless pets, there would be an estimated 70 million pets that are homeless right now.
  • Only 1 in 10 animals that are received by an animal shelter are spayed or neutered.
  • One of the biggest reasons why pets are never returned to their home is that they lack proper identification tags or tracking chips.
  • 1 out of every 4 dogs that is sent to an animal shelter is a purebred dog.
  • 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.

There are two basic ways to prevent a pet of yours from becoming homeless. First, make sure that you have proper identification on your pet that includes some form of contact information. That way, should your pet become homeless for some reason, it can be found and returned to you one day. Secondly, pets should be spayed or neutered to prevent offspring that cannot be managed. It might seem like fun to have puppies or kittens around, but the cost of care can be thousands of dollars per year. The comparative cost of the procedure is much lower and there are low income support options available in most communities as well.

What Can Be Done To Help Homeless Pets?

  • About 649,000 animals that enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners. Of those, 542,000 are dogs and only 100,000 are cats.
  • About twice as many animals are brought to shelters as strays when compared to the number of animals that owners relinquished.
  • More than 35% of cats are acquired as strays.
  • The most common reason why a dog is relinquished to an animal shelter is that their place of residence does not allow pets. This happens 29% of the time.
  • The percentage dogs who are abandoned because of behavioral issues, divorce, death, or lack of time to care for the animal: 10%.
  • The percentage of cats that are abandoned because their place of residence doesn’t allow them: 21%.
  • 11% of cats are relinquished because of pet allergies.
  • One animal is put down by a shelter because of a lack of resources every 11 seconds.
  • 65% of pet owners get their pets for free or for a very low cost.

Why should we care about homeless pets? For one, animals that are owned as pets generally live longer lives that are much happier. Then there’s the cost of managing the stray population, which means animal control officers, shelters, and veterinarian consultations when euthanasia needs to happen. The sad reality is that about 3 million animals are killed every year simply because no one wants them. Now consider the fact that over 7.5 million animals enter a shelter every year and the fact that the same amount of pets are adopted as are destroyed. Finding a way to fix this problem needs to become a priority, because otherwise our streets are going to be filled with unwanted pets.

Why Are There So Many Homeless Pets Right Now?

  • The average cat can produce up to two litters of kittens per year, with up to six kittens per litter.
  • The average dog can produce one litter of up to 6 puppies per year.
  • Over the course of 7 years, one female cat can produce over 400,000 living relatives.
  • Although about 30% of dogs that enter a shelter are eventually reclaimed, as few as 2% of the cats that enter a shelter are ever brought home.
  • The total cost to the US economy for the management of unwanted animals: $2 billion.
  • There are only about 5,000 animal shelters in total in the United States right now.
  • There are 70 million homes that own at least 1 companion animal.

So let’s look at the overall figures about pet homelessness. There are about 70 million pets that are currently homeless according to most estimates. There are also about 70 million homes in the US that own at least one pet right now. This means that if every home that had a pet would be willing to open their home for another one, the entire homeless pet issue would be eliminated in one fell swoop. This means that although the problem seems like it is rather large, it is easily solved with a simple willingness to do a little more. It’s not a pet store problem. Only 6% of pets are bought from a store. It’s simply a management problem. That’s why something can be done about it right now.

Homelessness Facts and Statistics

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