Pet Overpopulation


  • Number of cats and dogs entering shelters each year: 6–8 million (HSUS estimate)
  • Number of cats and dogs euthanized by shelters each year: 3–4 million (HSUS estimate)
  • Number of cats and dogs adopted from shelters each year: 3–4 million (HSUS estimate)
  • Number of cats and dogs reclaimed by owners from shelters each year: Between 600,000 and 750,000—30% of dogs and 2–5% of cats entering shelters (HSUS estimate)
  • Number of animal shelters in the United States: Between 4,000 and 6,000 (HSUS estimate)
  • Percentage of dogs in shelters who are purebred: 25% (HSUS estimate)
  • Average number of litters a fertile cat can produce in one year: 3
  • Average number of kittens in a feline litter: 4–6
  • In seven years, one female cat and her offspring can theoretically produce 420,000 cats.
  • Average number of litters a fertile dog can produce in one year: 2
  • Average number of puppies in a canine litter: 6–10
  • In six years, one female dog and her offspring can theoretically produce 67,000 dogs.


  • There are approximately 65 million owned dogs in the United States.
  • Thirty-nine percent of U.S. households (or 40.6 million) own at least one dog.
  • Most owners (65%) own one dog.
  • Twenty-three percent of owners own two dogs.
  • Twelve percent of owners own three or more dogs.
  • On average, owners have almost two dogs (1.6).
  • Slightly more male dogs are owned than female dogs.
  • Eighteen percent of owned dogs were adopted from an animal shelter.
  • Dog owners spend an average of $213 on veterinary related expenses every year.
  • Seventy-two percent of owned dogs are spayed or neutered.


  • There are approximately 77.6 million owned cats in the United States.
  • Thirty-four percent of U.S. households (or 35.4 million) own at least one cat.
  • One half of cat-owning households (51%) own one cat; the remaining own two or more.
  • On average, owners have two cats (2.2).
  • Slightly more female cats are owned than male cats.
  • Sixteen percent of owned cats were adopted from an animal shelter.
  • Cat owners spend an average of $113 on veterinary related expenses every year.
  • Eighty-four percent of owned cats are spayed or neutered.
  • It costs U.S. taxpayers an estimated $2 billion each year to round up, house, kill, and dispose of homeless animals. (USA Today)
  • Over 56% of dogs and puppies entering shelters are killed based on reports from over 1,055 facilities across America. (National Counsel on Pet Population Study)
  • An estimated 5 million cats and dogs are killed in shelters each year. That means that one animal is euthanized every six and one half seconds. (The Humane Society of the United States)
  • Millions more are abandoned, only to suffer from illness or injury before dying. (Doris Day Animal League)
  • On average, it costs approximately $100 to capture, house, feed, and eventually kill a homeless animal—a cost that ultimately comes out of our pocket. Low cost spay/neuter services are far below that amount. (Doris Day Animal League)
  • The cost of having a pregnant female can be much higher than the cost of spaying Seven dogs & cats are born every day for each person born in the U.S. Of those, only 1 in 5 puppies and kittens stay in their original home for their natural lifetime. The remaining 4 are abandoned to the streets or end up at a shelter (The Humane Society of the United States)
  • Each day 10,000 humans are born in the U.S. and each day 70,000 puppies and kittens are born. As long as these birth rates exist, there will never be enough homes for all the animals (Spay USA)


  • Spay or neuter your companion animal!
  • Sponsor a spay or neuter for your friend’s or relative’s companion animal.

Ask your pet’s veterinarian about spay/neuter surgeries or click here for a listing of low-cost veterinary service providers.


Your male dog smells a female in heat and repeatedly digs and jumps out of the yard…

  • Repairs to damaged fence and lawn$150
  • Cost to raise height of chain link fence 2 feet$50

Your male dog gets picked up by animal control as a stray, he is held for three days…

  • Impound fee and 3-day Board fee$75

Live in Los Angeles? Fines for having an unsterilized cat or dog over four months start at $100

Your female dog goes into heat—all over your new rug. Or, your sexually mature male cat decides to mark your living room as his territory…

  • Carpet cleaning$100

Your male dog gets into territorial fights with other dogs…

  • Vet bills to repair torn ear$200

Your female cat goes into heat, and tears out your screen door to meet the boys…

  • New door$150

Your female dog accidentally gets pregnant and has 6 puppies…

  • Vet fees for complications$500
  • Supplies, vaccines and de-worming for puppies$300
  • Advertisement and placement fees$100
  • Medical treatment for you when she bites to protect puppies$75

Like 60% of all unneutered dogs, your male dog suffers from a painfully enlarged prostate, and succumbs to prostate cancer…

  • Veterinary care for prostate disease$200

During his lifetime your male dog impregnated 50 neighborhood dogs, each of which produced litters of 6 puppies. Of all his pups, 70% will eventually be housed in shelters and euthanized, simply because there aren’t enough homes for them. This costs millions in tax dollars.

You just had your animal altered and paid between $80–$160. Congratulations! You just saved thousands of lives, and possibly over $2,000.
* Statistics were obtained from the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA)

Please note, articles in the Animal Resource Library are for reference only, and are not meant to diagnose or treat any medical or behavioral issues your pet may be experiencing.