Half of Americans Uninformed about the Thousands of Shelter Pets Killed Every Day

Media Contact
Eric Rayvid : 917-861-8290 or ericr@bestfriends.org

Best Friends Animal Society Launches Initiative to Save Them All™

KANAB, Utah (September 16, 2013) - The majority of Americans significantly underestimate the number of dogs and cats killed in America's shelters each day, a new national survey has revealed. The research, released by Best Friends Animal Society, the only national animal welfare organization focused exclusively on ending the killing of dogs and cats in America's shelters, found that most people aren't aware of the magnitude of the issue or how simple it is to save these pets.

In fact, the new research shows that nationally, 50 percent of Americans estimate that 500 or fewer cats and dogs die each day in shelters across the country - far fewer than the more than 9,000 that actually die in shelters each day because they don't have a safe place to call home. Forty eight percent of those surveyed believe that shelter animals are eventually claimed by their owners, adopted or transferred to another rescue organization. In fact, for millions of animals that go to shelters, it is their last stop.

Best Friends released the survey results today in conjunction with the launch of the organization's Save Them All initiative, which encourages the public to play a role in solving this problem.

"Our research reveals a huge disconnect in what happens to our animal friends in shelters and what Americans think happens," Gregory Castle, co‐founder and chief executive officer of Best Friends Animal Society said. "Like people, pets are unique individuals. Their special characteristics create the bonds with us, as humans and animal lovers. This makes the fact that so many lose their lives each day in shelters almost unthinkable. Best Friends wants to rally the support of Americans, because if we take simple steps together, we can save them all."

Misconceptions about Shelters Persist

While three quarters of Americans (74 percent) acknowledge that shelters provide proper care for animals, those surveyed cite other factors as the biggest contributors to the death rate at shelters. These include:

  • Shelter resources and budget  (45 percent)
  • Lack of adopters (40 percent)
  • Lack of shelter space (32 percent)

Yet most Americas seem unable to connect the need for more involvement with these shelters with the ability to help save these animals. Only 32 percent say they donated money to animal welfare, and just 15 percent say they adopted a pet in the last year.

Progress in Ending Homeless Pet Problem

Despite these challenges, Best Friends, its partners around the country and many other animal welfare organizations have dramatically reduced the number of animals killed in shelters. Thirty years ago, when Best Friends was founded, approximately 17 million pets died in shelters each year.  Today that number is down to about 4 million, thanks to the continued hard work of animal welfare groups, including Best Friends, partnerships with local municipalities and, innovative programs that encourage pet adoption and provide low‐cost spay‐neuter services.

How to Help Save Them All

Helping animals in shelters is simpler than most pet lovers think. There are many ways to get involved:

  • Donate: Donations and grants fund life‐saving programs for pets in need. Donating as little as $25 to Best Friends Animal can help.
  • Adopt: Adoptions get animals out of shelters and into homes. Remind friends looking for a family pet that animals in shelters make wonderful pets.
  • Spay/neuter: Spaying and neutering means fewer animals entering shelters and improves your pet's health and behavior. Many shelters around the country provide free or reduced prices for these important services.
  • Volunteer: Volunteering powers the "no‐kill" movement. Find a shelter in your area and donate your time to this worthwhile effort.
  • Spread the word: Amplify the urgent message of pet homelessness and educate family and friends on these startling statistics. Help increase awareness by showing your support on Facebook or Twitter.

Today, Best Friends is also encouraging consumers to share their commitments to help end the killing of animals in shelters through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google Plus, or their favorite social channel using the hashtag #SaveThemAll.

To become a part of the Save Them All™ movement and make a huge impact on the quality of life for homeless pets everywhere, visit www.bestfriends.org/SAVE.

About Best Friends Animal Society

Best Friends Animal Society® is the only national animal welfare organization focused exclusively on ending the killing of dogs and cats in America's shelters. An authority and leader in the no‐kill movement since its founding in 1984, Best Friends runs the nation's largest no‐kill sanctuary for companion animals, as well as life‐saving programs in partnership with rescue groups and shelters across the country. Since its founding, Best Friends has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from 17 million per year to about 4 million. Best Friends has the knowledge, technical expertise and on‐the‐ground network to end the killing and Save Them All.

Survey Methodology

Best Friends Animal Society, in partnership with Ketchum Global Research & Analytics and Braun Research, conducted a phone survey of 1,007 adults 18 and older in the U.S. The survey was fielded August 9 through August 16, 2013.

Results are reported at the 95 percent confidence level, and have a margin of error of +/‐3.1%. Data have been weighted to adjust for variation in the sample relating to geographic region, sex, race, Hispanic origin, marital status, age, education and the number of adults in the household.  The statistical weights were designed and applied from the United States Census Bureau statistics.

Oversamples were surveyed in Los Angeles (202 respondents), New York City (202 respondents) and Salt Lake City (201 respondents).


About Best Friends Animal Society

Best Friends Animal Society is a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters in 2025. Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer in the no-kill movement and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from an estimated 17 million per year to 415,000 last year. Best Friends runs lifesaving programs across the country, as well as the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary. Working collaboratively with a network of more than 4,700 animal welfare and shelter partners, and community members nationwide, Best Friends is working to Save Them All®. For more information, visit bestfriends.org