Covid pet adoptions saved an estimated 4 million animals from being euthanised

This is lowest amount of pets euthanised since data collection began six years ago

Clara Hill
Monday 02 August 2021 20:16 BST
Animal shelter cleared out after all the pets are fostered and adopted

Pet adoptions soared amid the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, leading to an almost 50 per cent decrease in cat and dog euthanasia in US animal shelters, according to data.

The Best Friends Animal Society said that there was a 44 per cent decrease in cats and dogs killed in rescue centres, which is the biggest fall in the animal rights advocacy group’s 37-year history.

“This was a monumental year for cats and dogs in America’s shelters,” the CEO of Best Friends Animal Society Julie Castle said in a statement. “We saw communities, shelters, and individuals step up for animals in ways we couldn’t have imagined, and now we are closer than ever before to achieving our goal of no-kill by 2025.”

According to their 2021 data, in 2020, 347,000 cats and dogs were euthanised in US animal shelters. This is a decline from 2019 when 625,000 animals were put down.  This shows a 83 per cent rescue rate, an increase from 2019’s rate of 79 per cent.

Their website says, “we want to help every shelter in every community reach the 90% no-kill benchmark by 2025”.

This is a figure allows for a room for putting animals down when it is the best thing for them, say The Best Friends Animal Society.

The high pet adoption rates has been attributed to the pandemic and the stay-at-home orders it caused as a major factor in the decrease in euthanasia. This was despite the pandemic leading to the animal shelters struggling financially. Volunteers stepped in and saved animals by taking them into their homes by either fostering or officially adopting them.

“The Covid-19 pandemic impacted this year’s data, as many shelters or services had to partially close or reduce services,” Ms Castle continued. “Communities and individuals filled that gap through volunteering, fostering and adopting. As a result, we saw fewer pets entering shelters and more lives being saved.”

New Hampshire became the second state to achieve the group’s 90 per cent target, with the first being Delaware. According to the group, 15 states constitute 75 per cent of the US’ cat and dog euthanasia. These include Texas, California and North Carolina. The state with the lowest rate of animal saving is Hawaii.

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