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8 Things You Didn’t Know About Rescue Animals

8 Things You Didn’t Know About Rescue Animals


Whether they’re strays, lost, abused, or their human companions just couldn’t take care of them, millions of pets end up in shelters each and every year. Some are adopted by loving new families — but some don’t meet such a kind fate. Click through to read some interesting, and, yes, heartbreaking, facts about shelter animals.

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1. Pets that End up in Shelters are More Likely to Be Euthanized than Adopted. Cats are more likely than dogs to be euthanized.

2. Most Shelter Pets Haven’t Been Spayed or Neutered. Only 10% of pets have already been fixed — even though the cost of the procedure is less costly than taking care of a puppy for a year. Also, 1/3 of dogs and nearly 1/2 of cats that are given up have never been to a vet.

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3. 1 out of every 20 Dogs and Cats Will End up in a Shelter Every Year. There are about 160 million pet dogs and cats in the United States — one is taken to a shelter about every 8 seconds.

4. Most Pets Were Not Adopted From Animal Shelters. Only about 30% of pets come from animal shelters — most of the rest are either purchased from a breeder or a pet store.

Also Check Out: 5 Incredible Things Dogs Sense About You


5. Not Every Pet Comes from a Terrible Situation. There are thousands of terrible, disgusting stories of animal abuse out there, of course. But the truth is, not every pet ends up in a shelter because of abuse. In fact, the top reasons pets are put in shelters are because their human companion is moving, or they are having problems with their landlord.

6. Most Shelter Animals are Not Purebreds. People love their purebreds — and don’t often look for them in animal shelters. However, estimates for the percentages of purebred dogs and cats in animal shelters range between 10% and 25%. Mutts are great, too!

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7. Adult Cats are Often Euthanized to Make Room for Kittens. Many shelters see kittens as more “adoptable” — and, with limited space, senior and adult cats are often the first sacrificed.

8. Less than a 1/4 of Lost Dogs Are Returned. If they are reunited with their human companions, it’s most likely because they have tags or a microchip.

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Read more: Adoptable pets, Animal Rights, Behavior & Communication, Cats, Community, Community Service, Do Good, Dogs, Fun, Humor & Inspiration, Less Common Pets, Life, Make a Difference, Pets, , , ,

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Katie Waldeck

Katie is a freelance writer focused on pets, food and women’s issues. A Chicago native and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Katie now lives in Oakland, California.


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2:36AM PDT on Sep 17, 2014


2:18AM PDT on Sep 17, 2014

I've learned one thing from adopting a cat from a certified rescue shelter: they are so freakin' LOVING!!!! 4 years now and my cat follows me everywhere, paws my face and pulls me in for a cuddle, meows all the time.... love him :)

6:41PM PDT on Mar 31, 2014

I would say, rather than pointing out that most shelter dogs and cats are not purebred, which I think everyone knows, it should instead be emphasized that:

1. There ARE purebred dogs and cats in shelters. Many people think you can only get mutts and alley cats there.

2. There are breed-specific rescues for pretty much any breed of dog you can name, and even some cat breeds. Many of these rescues can be found online and are willing to use a travel network to help get an animal to you if you are the right home for it. My ferret rescue relayed ferrets from Ottawa to Halifax for adoption!

3. You can put in a breed request at more general shelters. With larger shelters, that means your request goes farther than one location, too.

4. Those mutts and alley cats can still be healthy, beautiful, loving companions.

3:13PM PDT on Mar 18, 2014

I cannot understand why anybody who dislikes or cannot be bothered with animals brings one into their home.

Some years ago, I lived next to a woman who had this beautiful Border Collie. I felt so sorry for it because she never took her out for a walk although the dog did sometimes escape.

One day, this woman came to my door. "I am moving," she said, and I can't take the dog with me. If you don't take her she will just have to be set loose on the street.

Well, what could I do?

So Gemma joined our household. Gemma seemed to have a very prominent rib cage and, in our ignorance, we thought she was deformed.
We took her to the vet for a check up and he told us she was pregnant and extremely emaciated. Her ribcage was not huge. It was the rest of her was too skinny. Her coat was so thick and long we could not tell. He advised us on what to give her to build her up especially as the pups were not far away from being born.

She was a lovely girl, a bit dim for a Border Collie but so loving. We had her for 16 years.

9:10PM PDT on Mar 17, 2014

That is quite shocking, Karen F when you stated that:

"The cat I had before I took from a woman who was going to have him put down because her bloody boyfriend didn't like cats! What a heartless bi**h!"

I can't imagine most people wanting to have the cat that they shared good times with put down to suit the whims of a boyfriend (or girlfriend). Certainly it was a heartless act, especially if the cat was going to be put to sleep, aka as killed. If a boy/girl friend doesn't like the pet or pets that one has, they are not a suitable person to be going out with if one has to go to the extreme of putting down a pet. The person choosing to put down the pet are not suitable to have any pets in the future if they give one up for the convenience of a relationship. If one takes on having a pet, then it is supposed to be a life long commitment, certainly not having the pet discarded like garbage if one is having a new relationship.

9:00PM PDT on Mar 17, 2014

Interesting facts to be aware of. Certainly the more No Kill Shelters, the better.

8:46PM PDT on Mar 17, 2014

Thank you for the information.

1:59PM PST on Mar 7, 2014

the pattern is - not neutered, not chipped, no long term commitment. Probably got the pet as a giveaway from another person who did not have their dog or cat neutered/spayed. and probably as a treat for son or daughters birthday. Can't really afford to have it desexed or chipped. another litter to give away, and so the vicious cycle continues.
A neighbour of mine recently had a kitten who got very sick. I told her it badly needed to go to the vet. She said she couldn't afford it and that " it's only a cat, hey!"
I convinced her to let me take him on, I would get him looked after. Sadly it was too late.
He couldn't be saved. He's now buried in my back yard. I feel I let him down and I still cry for the poor little fellow.
Animals are not toys - for Christmas, birthdays or any time.

1:44PM PST on Mar 7, 2014

Thanks for sharing!!

1:34PM PST on Feb 11, 2014


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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