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Euthanasia Rates on the Rise as Dog Adoptions Slow Down


Worrying data from the Shelter Animals Count (SAC) reveals that thousands of homeless dogs are currently at risk of euthanasia. The reason? Dog adoptions have declined across the country, leading to most shelters nationwide grappling with an overcrowding crisis.

Sadly, euthanasia seems like the only way out for animal shelters and local surrenders already running at full capacity.

Homeless dogs risk getting euthanized: The unfortunate state of U.S. animal shelters 

Referring to new data from the Shelter Animals Count, the MSPCA-Angell stated that euthanasia rates in 2023 are 22% higher. 

According to the organization, the number of homeless dogs currently at risk of euthanasia is 96,000 more than last year. Without serious interventions in place, this figure may continue to rise into 2024.

The director of adoption centers and programs at MSPCA-Angell and Shelter of Animals Count’s board chair, Mike Keily, noted that the increasing lack of adopters for the ever-rising number of homeless dogs in U.S. shelters is to blame for the euthanasia risk.

“We saw this coming and have been working for months to try to reduce the risk for homeless dogs across the country,” Keily said. “We’re at capacity right now with dozens of dogs in our care who need  — and deserve — to find great new homes.”

“We’ve actually been operating at capacity basically all year to maximize as many opportunities as possible to save dogs.”

Too many dogs, too few adopters

The Coronavirus pandemic may have worsened the dog adoption crisis. “Things haven’t been this bad for dogs in years,” stated Keily. “We started making progress before the pandemic, and we were even able to continue that through 2021.” He further commented, “But there’s been a major backslide since then, and now we are in a really bad place.”

Lockdowns during the COVID-19 era pushed millions of Americans to adopt a furry member for companionship’s sake. But when life returned to normal, cases of post-Covid pet regret rose. Most people opted to abandon or surrender their pooches, causing many animal shelters to fill up at an alarming rate. 

Besides the end of the COVID-19 era, other factors, such as tough economic times, have led to a drop in dog adoption.  With too many canines coming into shelters — way more than the number of available adopters— shelters are struggling to offer adequate care to all the dogs under their roof.


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