For the last decade, over 4 million dogs and cats were euthanized in the U.S. every year. This number is less than what it was 20 years ago, due to the increasing availability of spay and neuter programs, including those that provide reduced cost procedures. However, the number of animals euthanized reached a plateau in the 1990s and is no longer decreasing.
Of these millions, more cats are killed than dogs at a ratio of 3:2. The majority of these cats, estimated to be 70% or more, is unsocialized and cannot be handled by humans, believed to be feral. Why should we care about feral cats? Adoption of feral-born kittens contributes to the annual 1% increase in the number of household cats, reducing the number of homes available to adopt socialized cats.
For dogs, there is a breed-specific problem. Over half of dogs euthanized every year are pit bull or pit bull mixes. A third of the total pit bull population enters shelters every year, 80% of which are relinquished by their owners. This is the only breed of dog whose number of shelter admissions continues to rise over the last decade.