The New York Times recently shared some good animal welfare news: companion animal euthanasia rates have fallen an impressive 75% since 2009.
The Times collected animal shelter data from 20 US municipalities. They found that shelters in many cities are reporting significant drops in dog and cat euthanasia rates.
Why has there been such a decline in recent years? The Times points to several factors, including:
- Increased animal welfare activism
- Changes in shelter management approaches
- Shifting cultural attitudes about stray and homeless animals
Some large US cities with open-intake shelters (municipal institutions that are required to take in animals) have gone from euthanizing hundreds of animals per day to around 10.
Two of the biggest factors in the decline in euthanasia rates are increased spay/neuter (especially for community cats) and the growing public perception that owning a rescue animal is a “badge of honor.”
There’s also an increase in interstate relocation of homeless animals, generally from the southern US to northern states.
Shelters are still facing many challenges, including overcrowding and the spread of contagious diseases. But the overall of trend of more adoptions and less euthanasia is welcome news for all animal lovers!