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Sheltered pets are dying; Why animal shelters are crowded

With the second-highest kill rate in the US, North Carolina and the rest of the country faces an overcrowding problem in animal shelters, with several euthanization procedures, eliminating the majority of their held creatures in order to make space for other incoming animals. 

The Problem of the Economy

North Carolina, along with five other US states, has been responsible for more than 50 percent of animal shelter deaths as of 2022, with approximately 37,000 animals lost. Despite the issue lying primarily in these states, the problem has flipped to a national level. Many believe this overcrowding issue lies at the root of the matter, which is that fewer people are taking on the responsibility of adopting pets this year.

Turning to foster homes, shelters, and more, the rate of animals being taken into these organizations compared to the number of animals being adopted is significant. According to Washington Post, 35 percent of pet owners admitted they were worried to own a pet in the current state of the economy by last September. The statistics reveal continually increasing inflation rates are what keep animals from being adopted, thus leading to overcrowded shelters.

Covid After-effects and Expenses

There is also reasoning that the post-omicron surge has led to a significant strain on these shelters. With total staff being cut by 88 percent, a 57 percent hour cut, and a drop in the number of volunteers, shelters are forced to limit the number of animals they can take in. This has also led to a reduction in pet care support as well as adoption events. 

As inflation maintains its grip on households across the country, it also puts its foot down on household economies. Meanwhile, according to the ASPCA, pet upkeep requires the purchase of supplies, food, toys, and medical costs that range between $500 to $1000 out of a family’s budget. Veterinarian bills are even more demanding, going into thousands of dollars to increase the debt of a pet owner. 

After the influx of pet adoptions during the pandemic, the country is now left with 53 percent more stray dogs than were seen last year, in 2022. The amount of people giving up their animals due to the harsh blows from the economy has increased by 31 percent, according to co-executive director at ACCT Philly open-intake shelter, Sarah Barnett.

How You Can Help!

To access a method to counter this ‘kill-solution’ issue, you can visit the Best Friends Animal Society website, a national community-based organization dedicated to shifting the animal welfare movement away from the killing of animals in American shelters by 2025. Best Friends has assisted in reducing the number of animals killed within shelters significantly and has managed to save over 16.5 million animal lives.

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Tags: animals shelters strays euthanization full shelters overcrowded pet problem


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