Number Of Animals Killed In The Shelter System
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Method/Source: Using estimates compiled by ANIMAL PEOPLE, the established baseline for this indicator is approximately 4.2 million shelter deaths (2008). The score calculates how much shelter deaths have been reduced since the baseline year by taking the difference between the baseline figure and the current number for shelter deaths, as a proportion of the baseline figure.
Discussion: The number one cause of unnatural deaths for dogs and cats in the U.S. is being killed in animal shelters. The ideal scenario for the companion animal population is not only to reduce the number of homeless animals who are killed in shelters, but also to see that no animals die in this way.
In 2010, an estimated 1,474,019 dogs and 2,062,072 cats were killed in shelters. In both cases this was an improvement from 2008, when shelter deaths were at their highest in the past five years. There were over a half-million fewer animals killed in shelters in 2010 compared with 2008, according to these estimates. This moves the indicator 15% closer to the goal of zero shelter deaths. For the sake of simplicity, the analysis assumes that euthanasia of “untreatable” animals is a very small proportion of the total.
The data is compiled by ANIMAL PEOPLE and is based on a sample of shelters. There are some methodological concerns with this measure, as the sample of shelters used is not necessarily random or representative. However, it is adequate for our purposes for two reasons. First, the study author has adjusted his survey findings based on demographic assumptions to correct for error and geographic bias. Further, this is currently the best and most comprehensive data available on shelter deaths that is collected on a regular basis.
Source: ANIMAL People, Merritt Clifton
Odometer widget created by Gavin Brock