Massachusetts Has an 80.86% Save Rate for Shelter Pets; Ranks 36 in Country for Shelter Pet Deaths

Best Friends Animal Society has released its 2020 pet lifesaving findings, which gives a national overview of the number of dogs and cats that enter shelters each year in the United States, and the number of dogs and cats  that  are leaving  those shelters  alive.

Of the 35,149 dogs and cats that entered Massachusetts shelters in 2019, 28,420 found positive placements, for a total state save rate of 80.86%. Only 11.27% of Massachusetts shelters are no-kill (a state is considered to be no-kill when every brick-and-mortar shelter serving and/or located within the state has a save rate of 90% or higher). Some 2,780 dogs and cats remain to be saved in the shelters that are not yet no-kill.

“We are seeing  continued  momentum  and progress  towards the  goal  of ending the killing of dogs and cats in U.S. shelters by the year 2025, with the overall number of pets being killed  in the U.S.  continuing to go down and the number of shelters that are no-kill going up,” said Julie Castle, chief executive officer, Best Friends Animal Society.

Best Friends also released  an inaugural  state-by-state ranking of this data and Massachusetts is #36 in the country for shelter pet deaths.

The year-over-year data also shows that the number of dogs and cats killed annually  nationally has  dropped from  about  733,000  to 625,000  (or about 1,700 killed per day). Across the U.S., about 5.4 million dogs and cats entered shelters in 2019, and 4.2 million were saved making the national save rate 79.02% (2018 was 76.6%).

Castle continued, “For the past several years,  Best Friends and progressive shelters nationwide have been changing the way they  do business  and the way they relate to their communities:   simplifying adoption policies and requirements;  building out community pet fostering programs;  implementing  trap, neuter, return (TNR) programs  for community cats;  passing  more  pet-friendly  legislation  to combat the retail sale of puppy mill  dogs  and  breed discrimination;  advocating for more pet-inclusive housing,  and removing barriers for the public to help pets with the use of technology. And it is making a difference.”

Over the past three years, Best Friends has spearheaded a first-of-its-kind extensive data collection process that involved coordinated outreach to every shelter in America followed by additional research, data analysis, and technology development. To create the most comprehensive data set on animal welfare ever published, Best Friends collected data directly from shelters, state and local coalitions, government websites, and even FOIA requests. The Best Friends 2020 dataset (consisting of statistics collected during 2019) of U.S. shelters has a total net intake of 5,360,060 animals representing 4,850 known shelters. Of this intake total, 92% of the data is based on collected information from 3,608 brick and mortar shelters. The remaining 8% is estimated to cover the uncollected shelters and their respective counties.

“Best Friends has always believed that anyone can help homeless pets. You  don’t  need a rescue label, special credentials or permission to help save animals. Individual community members are the no-kill movement’s greatest resource. Putting this data directly into the hands of the public allows individual community members and advocates like the members of our 2025 Action Team  to gain  a better understanding of exactly which shelters and types of pets are most in need of help and helps to connect them to those shelters,” Castle added.

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