April 22, 2020

New Report Finds 24 Percent Decrease in Pets Entering Shelters

A new report from Shelter Animals Count, home to the national database of animal shelter statistics, has found the number of animals taken into shelters or has noticeably decreased in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Animal shelter intake in March was down dramatically compared to last year, with 24 percent fewer cats and dogs entering shelters or rescues,” said Sara Kent, CEO at Shelter Animals Count. “A notable difference is a 28 percent decrease in pets relinquished by their owners.”

While March adoptions were down overall by 11 percent compared to last year, the rate of pets adopted compared to other possible outcomes increased by 4 percent. Some shelters are reporting empty kennels as community members step up to adopt or temporarily foster pets.

“Foster volunteers have been critically important to our effort to make sure we can care for homeless animals whatever the COVID-19 crisis brings,” said Anne Reed, President and CEO at Wisconsin Humane Society. “Our longstanding foster volunteers have been joined by hundreds of people who have never fostered before and saw this opportunity to make a difference.”

The COVID-19 report analyzed data from 1,127 organizations reporting both March 2019 and March 2020 data to the national database as of April 10, 2020. Shelter Animals Count will continue to monitor and report on trends during the coronavirus pandemic. The COVID-19 report and interactive dashboards featuring data from 2011 – 2019 are available at https://www.shelteranimalscount.org.

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