Beagle mix dog smiling for the camera.

This month, researchers at the College of Veterinary Medicine for Mississippi State University (MSU) revealed that the availability of dogs in animal shelters is at an all-time low. The study, which was developed to determine the number of dogs entering shelters and what happens to them, indicates that the overall demand for dogs has increased dramatically, ultimately lowering the number of homeless canines.

According to findings:

  • Shelters take in 5.5 million dogs
  • 2.6 million are adopted
  • 969,000 are returned to their owners
  • 778,000 are transferred
  • 776,000 are euthanized

This final number has dropped drastically since the 1970’s, when an estimated 20 million dogs were euthanized each year – but there’s still a long way to go.

Ed Sayres, PLC Consultant and former ASPCA President of 10 years claims that “this new data from MSU will be especially helpful for shelters to design more specific strategies to continue to reduce the homeless dog population.”

The study was overseen by the Animal Policy Group and funded by the Pet Leadership Council, an organization comprised of pet industry leaders, animal welfare advocates, veterinarians, and academia.


Animal Wellness is North America's top natural health and lifestyle magazine for dogs and cats, with a readership of over one million every year. AW features articles by some of the most renowned experts in the pet industry, with topics ranging from diet and health related issues, to articles on training, fitness and emotional well being.