Animal Shelters In The United States

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Approximately 6 to 8 million animals are handled by animal shelters in the U.S. each year. Even though some are reclaimed or adopted, nearly 4 million unwanted dogs and cats are left with nowhere to go. Animal shelters cannot humanely house and support all these animals until their natural deaths. They would be forced to live in cramped cages or kennels for years, lonely and stressed, and other animals would have to be turned away because there would be no room for them. Trying to build enough animal shelters to keep up with the endless stream of homeless animals is like putting a bandage on a gunshot wound. Turning unwanted animals loose to roam the streets is not a humane option, either. If they don’t starve, freeze, get hit by a car, or…show more content…
While many shelters know the value of keeping statistics, no national reporting structure exists to make compiling national statistics on these figures possible.
However, American Humane is one of the founding members of the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy. The mission of the National Council is to gather and analyze reliable data that further characterize the number, origin and disposition of pets (dogs and cats) in the United States; to promote responsible stewardship of these companion animals; and based on the data gathered, to recommend programs to reduce the number of surplus/unwanted pets in the United States.
Unfortunately, the most recent statistics published by the National Council are from 1997, and only 1,000 shelters replied to the survey at that time. Using the National Council's numbers from 1997 and estimating the number of operating shelters in the United States to be 3,500 (the exact number of animal shelters operating in the United States does not exist), these estimates were
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Euthanasia is sort of weird that way. I have seen totally objective (and even outright callous) pet owners simply drop off their pet for euthanasia with no more respect or empathy than a robot. I have never been able to understand this type of pet owner who seems to be saying "When you're dead, you're dead". Sort of like euthanasia is no big deal. However, they can still comfort or simply be with their pet at the time of euthanasia; and yet for their own reasons they choose to separate themselves from the final moments of their pet's life. Maybe we humans are so close to our pets that we somehow project our own humanity and mortality into them and we actually see ourselves at our own last moments. Do some pet owners act out how they think they would view their own passing? On the other hand, I have witnessed seemingly strong, objective individuals that seem to be somewhat cold and distant who completely fall apart at the time of their pet's passing. The theme to keep in mind, then, as you contemplate how YOU will act at your pet's final moments is to remember that euthanasia is a completely personal experience. You have to decide what is best for you and your pet. I have had people actually say to me "I am sorry, Doctor, but I don't know how to act right now". Most people really have had no euthanasia guidelines to follow, had no firm ground on which to stand
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