Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | May 26, 2008

Pet Statistics and Homeless Pets


Hi Pet Column readers, my name is Zeus. I was given this name before arriving at the Second Chance shelter so the staff is uncertain why I was named after a Greek god of the skies and weather, although I do have a very sunny personality. I am also an astute mathematician and I wanted to share some calculations with you about dogs and cats in this country.

With the help of sources such as the Humane Society of the United States and the Pet Population Council I have determined that there are an estimated 63% of U.S homes that house a pet (71.1 million homes). Compared with the 30-40% of households with children, pets clearly dominate the field of the innocent and loveable household beings. Furthermore, the Rocky Mountain States, reputed to be filled with people who prioritize quality lifestyles, have the highest incidence of dog ownership.

Another interesting statistic is that there are more cats (88.4 million) occupying less households (38.4 million) than dogs (74.8 million), even though they can be found in more households (44.8 million) than cats. In other words, those who have cats tend to have more of them than those who have dogs. This is significant because I believe that dogs enjoy the company of dogs as much as cats enjoy other cats and I encourage all households to consider bringing an additional dog into the home to create an equilibrium of dogs and cats spreading love on the planet.

Now the bad numbers: shelters receive 6-8 million unwanted and stray animals each year and 3-4 million are euthanized each year. The good news is that for the first time since these figures have been tracked there are roughly an equal number of pets adopted from shelters as euthanized. This is a welcome change since just a decade or so ago when 17 million pets were being euthanized annually.

However, with only 20% of animals in homes coming from shelters it is obvious that we can improve upon these figures. Particularly given the national average of 12.5 animals euthanized per 1,000 people nationwide. If only 12.5 people of every 1,000 adopted a pet across the nation 3-4 million animal lives will be saved this year!

The other figure I have estimated, with the help of a couple brainy Tufts University grads, is that there are only an average of 1.13 animal shelters per 100,000 people. The importance of this statistic relates to the great need for community members to support their local animal shelters because they are responsible for the animal welfare needs of a huge amount of people and pets.

In closing, from the financial perspective, housing unwanted animals costs taxpayers and animal welfare organizations like Second Chance Humane Society billions of dollars each year, but I have come up with a calculation to solve this problem:

Spay/neuter your pet + adopt a pet from your local shelter + keep your pets for their lifetimes =No more homeless pets + billions of extra dollars that can be used for building….dog parks!  I have shared this equation with the other dogs here at the shelter and they have commended me for my genius. I hope to meet you soon.

Zeus is a loveable, fabulous- natured Border Collie mix almost a year of age. He is an active dog and would love a place with room to run and play with people and other dogs. His name suggests he is superior to the other shelter dogs, but he considers himself the same, with the exception of his mathematical genius.

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet or learn about SCHS Spay/Neuter Vouchers, Volunteer & Foster Care and other Programs. Visit to see our adoptable pets. Responses to Pet Columns can be sent to:




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