People undoubtedly adore cats and dogs, and yet there is still a serious pet homelessness issue in the U.S. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, every year around 6.5 million companion animals are placed in shelters. Dogs and cats alike, often through no fault of their own, are surrendered to animal shelters where they wait in a kennel to be adopted. Below are five little-known facts about pet homelessness that may surprise you and inspire you to adopt a shelter animal this year.
1. Poor planning is a major cause of animal abandonment
Shelter pets have a bad reputation as “damaged goods.” In reality, their owners simply didn’t think through the responsibility of owning a pet. In fact, the top reason both cats and dogs are surrendered to shelters is because their owners move to a new place. A few of the other top reasons include cost of pet maintenance, too many other animals, and landlord regulations.
Yes, pets are also abandoned because of behavior issues, but a lot of these are due to lack of training. People don’t realize the amount of work that goes into properly training a dog or cat. When they become too impatient for results, some people decide to rehome the animal.
2. A quarter of all shelter dogs are purebreds
A lot of people seem to have the assumption that purebred dogs are somehow better than mixed breeds. This is a myth. In fact, many purebreds come with health issues from improper breeding practices, and if you think purebreds can’t be found at shelters, think again. According to The Humane Society, 25 percent of animal shelter dogs are actually purebreds. If you’ve always wanted a particular breed of dog like an Australian shepherd or Shih Tzu, you can still adopt one from a breed-specific shelter, or you may even find one at your local animal rescue. You may have to be a bit more patient for a breed-specific rescue to become available, but rest assured you’ll receive one eventually.

3. Many pet store puppies come from puppy mills
You’ve likely heard the horror stories about puppy mills but if not here’s an overview. Puppy mills mass produce dogs for sale and are largely known for their inhuman conditions, such as overcrowded cages, inadequate shelter, and unclean facilities. Pet stores mislead people about the origins of their puppies by stating they received the dogs from “professional breeders” or “USDA licensed” breeders. These two terms are just another way of saying puppy mill. By purchasing a puppy from a pet store, you’re directly supporting puppy mills since the pet stores will continue to go back to the same inhumane breeders.
4. A majority of shelter pets were in a home less than a year
According to a study by the National Council on Pet Population Study, 37 percent of dogs and 30 percent of cats were owned a year or less before being relinquished to an animal shelter. A majority of these pets were young, too, between five months and three years old. Lots of pets are not given a fair chance after being brought home from a breeder or shelter. If you prefer a younger animal, the shelter will definitely have you covered.
5. Five states are responsible for 50 percent of dog and cat euthanizations
According to Best Friends, California, Texas, North Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana account for more than 50 percent of all cats and dogs killed in the U.S. These five states alone total more than 320,000 animal deaths. If you live in one of these states, you can help lower the number of animals killed each year by adopting an animal and becoming an advocate for animal adoption. Help keep your state off the top kill list for 2021.
Millions of caring creatures are waiting to find their forever homes from the confines of an animal shelter, yet people are still going to breeders for their pets. According to the ASPCA, 34 percent of dogs are obtained from breeders. There is a popular saying among animal rescue supporters – Adopt, don’t shop. By visiting your county animal shelter, you’re not only giving a sweet animal a new home, you’re also helping relieve a bit of the financial burden placed on your local shelter.
County animal shelters and rescues contain a variety of dogs and cats available for adoption. You can find the perfect companion at one of these locations, with the added benefit of a more affordable price point than you’d find at a pet store or breeder. Fight against pet homelessness today by making the decision to adopt an animal in need and become an advocate for the animals in your community.

Author's Bio: 

County Animal Shelter – Animal Welfare, 24-7. Pet adoption, free spay/neuter resources, animal rescue facilitation & humane investigation, info, news and more. The highest quality pet-focused content online, with a devotion to helping animals in need.