#AdoptDontShop: 2021 Shelter Data
2020 was a landmark year for companion animal rescue. With more people working from home and social distancing amid COVID-19, many animal shelters noticed an uptick in adoptions and fostering requests, at least during the early stages of the pandemic. One U.S. sheltering report found that the number of cats and dogs brought to shelters fell, as did the number of cats and dogs transferred to other shelters or euthanized. Meanwhile, the report claims that adoption rates rose from 53% to 58% during the pandemic, and that more animals left shelters alive than in previous years. The ASPCA confirmed in their own data that 90% of dogs and 85% of cats acquired during the pandemic were still in their homes as of May 2021.
But how did these trends play out in 2021, after the first year of the pandemic?
PetPoint Industry Data provides monthly snapshots of the demand for adoptable cats and dogs in the United States. Their 2021 year-end report includes information on 1,520,713 cats and dogs across 1,280 U.S. animal welfare organizations that use the PetPoint software (including shelters, rescue groups, humane societies, and animal control agencies). According to the report, intake of both cats and dogs increased in 2021, as did the total number of cats and dogs who left shelters (regardless of the outcome). While cat adoptions increased 5% from 2020, dog adoptions decreased 0.8%. Meanwhile euthanasia rates, guardian surrenders, stray intakes, and law enforcement seizures also increased for both species.
While these results can’t be definitively attributed to the pandemic timeline, the data is nonetheless interesting for companion animal advocates to consider. To help you visualize the numbers, we’ve broken down the 2021 data in a Faunalytics exclusive infographic.