top of page

Every day in this country, a population the size of the capital of Vermont, dies at the hands of humans. Every single day, 10,000 companion animals are put to sleep. Not because they are dangerous or unhealthy, but because nobody wants them. Four million dead dogs and cats per year because we have yet to institute a better solution. Some say euthanasia, others say massacre.

How many animals are in shelters?


Facts about U.S. Animal Shelters

There are about 13,600 community animal shelters nationwide that are independent; there is no national organization monitoring these shelters. The terms “humane society” and “SPCA” are generic; shelters using those names are not part of the ASPCA or the Humane Society of the United States. 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.·


  • Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats.·


  • Each year, approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized (1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats).·


  • Approximately 4.1 million shelter animals are adopted each year (1.4 million dogs and 1.3 million cats).·


  • About 649,000 animals who enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners. Of those, 542,000 are dogs and only 100,000 are cats.·


  • Of the dogs entering shelters, approximately 35% are adopted, 31% are euthanized and 26% of dogs who came in as strays are returned to their owner. ·


  • Of the cats entering shelters, approximately 37% are adopted, 41% are euthanized, and less than 5% of cats who came in as strays are returned to their owners.·


  • About twice as many animals enter shelters as strays compared to the number that are relinquished by their owners.


Facts about Pet Ownership in the U.S.


  • It's estimated that 70-80 million dogs and 74-96 million cats are owned in the United States. Approximately 37-47% of all households in the United States have a dog, and 30-37% have a cat. (Source: APPA)·


  • According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, approximately 40% of pet owners learned about their pet through word of mouth.·


  • The majority of pets are obtained from acquaintances and family members. 28% of dogs are purchased from breeders, and 29% of cats and dogs are adopted from shelters and rescues.·



  • More than 35% of cats are acquired as strays. (Source: APPA)·


  • According to the American Humane Association, the most common reasons why people relinquish or give away their dogs is because their place of residence does not allow pets (29%), not enough time, divorce/death and behavior issues (10% each). The most common reasons for cats are that they were not allowed in the residence (21%) and allergies (11%).


Facts about Pet Overpopulation in the U.S.


It is impossible to determine how many stray dogs and cats live in the United States; estimates for cats alone range up to 70 million.


The average number of litters a fertile cat produces is one to two a year; the average number of kittens is four to six per litter.


The average number of litters a fertile dog produces is one a year; the average number of puppies is four to six.


Owned cats and dogs generally live longer, healthier lives than strays.


Many strays are lost pets who were not kept properly indoors or provided with identification.·



Only 10%of the animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered, while 83% of pet dogs and 91% of pet cats are spayed or neutered.·


The cost of spaying or neutering a pet is less than the cost of raising puppies or kittens for a year.


**The above data are ASPCA estimates




The following websites offer detailed information on homeless and unwanted animals, the pet overpopulation crisis, and the importance of spaying and neutering your pets:


Spay & Neuter

Adopt... Don't Shop

Animal Shelters / Rescues


A New Chance Animal Rescue

P.O. Box 215, Bedford Hills NY 10507




23 Cox Avenue, Armonk NY 10504



Animal Rescue Foundation

54 Simmons Lane, Beacon NY 12508



Animal Welfare League

148 Martine Avenue, White Plains NY 10604

914-948-2094 or 914-949-9191


Cat Assistance

P.O. Box 539, Ardsley NY 10502



Community Cats

402 Old Post Road, Bedford NY 10506



Danbury Animal Welfare Society

147 Grassy Plain Street, Bethel CT 06901



Dutchess County SPCA

636 Violet Avenue, Hyde Park NY 12538



For the Love of Dogs Rescue

Bedford NY 10506



Forgotten Felines

P.O. Box 430, Valhalla NY 10595

914-428-7969 or 845-284-2359


Friends of the Yonkers Animal Shelter



Guardian Angel Rescue

P.O. Box 152, Thornwood, NY 10594

914-879-3455 & 203-496-7793


It’s Reigning Cats and Dogs

P.O. Box 353, Buchanan NY 10511



Just Strays

P.O. Box 573, Mt. Kisco NY 10549



Mount Vernon Animal Shelter

600 Garden Avenue, Mount Vernon NY 10550



Mid Hudson Animal Aid

54 Simmons Lane, Beacon NY 12508



New Fairfield-Sherman Animal Welfare Society

P.O. Box 8232, New Fairfield CT 06812



New Rochelle Humane Society

70 Portman Road, New Rochelle NY 10801



PawSafe Animal Rescue

Patterson, NY 12563


Pet Adoption League

P.O. Box 914, Yonkers NY 10704



Pet Rescue

P.O. Box 393, Larchmont NY 10538



Putnam Humane Society

68 Old Route 6, Carmel NY 10512



Putnam Valley Dog Shelter

265 Oscawana Lake Road, Putnam Valley NY 10579



Recycled Paws Dog Rescue

1851 E. Main Street

Mohegan Lake, NY  10547

914-528-PAWS (7297)


Rescue for Love

P.O. Box 666, Croton Falls NY 10519



Ridgefield Operation For Animal Rescue

45 South Street, Ridgefield CT 06877



Sandies Angels

White Plains NY 10603



Shelter Pet Alliance

81 Pondfield Road, Bronxville NY 10708



Sindee’s Strays

Cortlandt Manor, NY 10567



Stray Alive

45 New Street, Rye NY 10580



Tiny Treasures Rescue



Yonkers Animal Shelter

120 Fullerton Avenue, Yonkers NY 10704


bottom of page