Stray Dog Intake Sees Significant Surge: Alarming Increase in Shelter Admissions Raises Concerns

Over the past two years, the influx of stray dogs into shelters has experienced a substantial surge. The data from January to May 2023 demonstrates a 10% escalation in stray dog intake compared to 2022, and an alarming increase of 30% in contrast to 2021. Fortunately, cats have witnessed a modest decline of 1% in the number of strays admitted, when compared to 2022, according to Shelter Animals Count (SAC) Industry Trends Dashboard.

Shockingly, only approximately 10% of animals brought to shelters in the past three years have been successfully reunited with their owners.

Ensuring that pets, particularly dogs, are kept away from overcrowded shelters has become a matter of utmost importance. Shelters nationwide continue to grapple with challenges.

During this period, dog intake has surged by 7% in comparison to the corresponding timeframe of the previous year. Furthermore, there has been a 3.3% increase in the number of canines entering shelters when compared to those leaving, intensifying the persistent crisis of overcrowding.

“Summer marks the peak season for shelter intakes – with the onset of kitten season, a surge in puppy arrivals, and the distress caused by fireworks and other summertime festivities leading pets to flee in fear,” stated Stephanie Filer, Executive Director of Shelter Animals Count.

“It’s a recipe for potential disaster. With shelters now grappling with an excess of animals for the third consecutive year and limited adoption rates, particularly for dogs, many face the daunting task of making difficult decisions to manage limited space. This underscores the need to prioritize keeping our canine companions safe and secure within our homes and away from overwhelmed shelters.”

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Even with the utmost caution, pets may still escape, making it essential to be prepared. Here are valuable tips to help ensure that pets remain safe and prevent their admission to shelters:

Microchip your pet and ensure they wear a collar displaying identification information, including your phone number. This facilitates a quick reunion if they become lost. Local shelters often provide microchips at a reduced cost. Ensure that tags are up to date and that the microchip information is current with the veterinarian or shelter that administered it.

Maintain current photos of your pet, capturing them from various angles. These images can be utilized to create flyers and shared on local neighborhood apps and lost pet pages in case your pet goes missing.

If your pet goes missing, initiate a search in your immediate vicinity promptly. Carry a leash or carrier and keep your cellphone with you to stay reachable while searching.

Contact your local shelter or visit their website to learn how to file a lost pet report. Many animal control officers endeavor to reunite pets with their owners within the neighborhood, avoiding unnecessary shelter admissions.

Check local social media pages and neighborhood apps and post a photo of your lost pet. These resources are extremely helpful for posting lost and found pets in real-time. Many happy reunions have occurred quickly because of the power of social media.

Visit the shelter the first day if possible, and at least every other day to look for your pet in person. People’s perception of breed and description can vary, so relying on someone who doesn’t know your pet to find it in the shelter may not be effective. 

Create posters with a clear photo of your pet, with a brief description and a cell number. Place the flyers around your neighborhood and at any local businesses.

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Don’t give up! Lost pets have been found weeks, months or even years after they’ve been lost.

If you find a lost pet, try to find their owners by walking the neighborhood and checking neighborhood apps/social media groups before taking them to a shelter. Many pets are reunited with their owners within minutes or hours without ever leaving the neighborhood.