According to the ASPCA, there are approximately 6.5 million 'companion' animals in shelters, in the U.S. alone. Of those 6.5 million animals, only 3.2 million are adopted yearly.
- "There are different types of shelters. Municipal animal shelters are funded by taxes and user fees, and often employ animal control officers," said Corina from the ASPCA. "Privately funded non-profit shelters (generally called the humane society, the society for prevention of cruelty to animals or the animal rescue league) usually accept all animals and, as a result, are often forced to euthanize animals based on space, species, age and adoptability. They usually offer a variety of programs, such as animal rescue, cruelty investigation, and community education."
"It's sad to know how many animals we put down," said Mary Basso, who works at the Gloucester County Animal Shelter. "It's really because we don't turn any animals away."
- "No-kill" shelters are generally privately funded and do not accept all animals brought to them. However, once accepted animals are never euthanized unless they are incurably sick, disabled or display extreme behavior that makes them unadoptable," said Corina. "Sanctuaries specialize in offering lifetime care to animals, but must limit their admissions, and generally promote adoptions. Every shelter has their own set of protocols and unfortunately there is nothing that we can go to change them."
- The only way, it seems, to save animals from being put down is for more people to adopt more cats and dogs. Many shelters will have days where they push adopting their older cats and dogs, like lowering the adoption fee.