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Animal Euthanizations Sees Sharp Decline Nationwide

By c.r. bauman    July 11, 2011 at 12:23PM / (2) comments

In 40 years, the number of euthanized dogs and cats in the U.S. has declined from 20 million to 4 million per year -- an 80 percent drop in unfortunate animals being "put down." For the campaigns of change championed, this is a story of success.

The decline can somewhat be attributed to aggressive rescue campaigns finding more people and places for pets through adoption, but more through the increase in spaying and neutering pets.

The message for population control has gone beyond a statement delivered by Bob Barker moments before The Price is Right’s credits roll. States, counties, and cities enacting laws mandating the spaying or neutering of animals in states like Rhode Island and cities like Los Angeles. Private and public shelters as well as rescue clinics have donated money, time, space and care to performing the procedures at lower-cost and greater convenience.
Stephen Zawistowski, science adviser for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recalled having the only dog on the street to be spayed 50 years ago, "She had an incision that must have been a foot long and was sewn up with what looked like piano wire." Now animal sterilization can be performed through a two-inch incision with self-absorbing sutures or chemically even.

The 80 percent drop in the amount of animals being euthanized each year comes even as the pet population nearly tripled. In 1970, there were about 62 million companion pets and today there are about 170 million, Zawistowski explained.

With 4 million animals having been put to death this year, pet population is certainly still an issue, though scientific advancements have been made and new methods are being considered.

In 2003, for example, the FDA approved a sterilant for male dogs which should be expected for use throughout the United States sometime in the next year.


Image: Geoff Stearns / via Flickr

Source: PawPrintPost

Comments  2

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  • spay/neuter
    07/20/2011 12:13pm

    So are we saying that ALL dogs and cats should be spayed or neutered? Do have figures or statistics on how many dogs and cats are spayed/neutered? Are there any risks, short or long term involved with spay/neuter? I only ask, because I've heard from friends and clients that they have lost pets, or had pets with serious issues after surgery...including seizures, and more frequently, incontinence.

  • s/n
    08/28/2011 10:55pm

    If you can get Animal Rights interests to acknowledge the steady drop in euthanasias at all, they would no doubt assure you that s/n is responsible for that drop.

    The fact that incontinence apparently *is* very common among s/n dogs, and that inability to housebreak a dog is a not unusual reason for euthanasia is something they don't want to look at, much less acknowledge. And of course, it's not the only negative outcome of s/n, either - particularly not juvenile s/n.

    It seems that s/n may also be adversely affecting temperment - another frequent reason for killing. And since juvenile s/n also tends to have negative outcomes on skeletal and structural issues, breeders may be taking a hit for a lot of unsoundness which is actually due to the s/n of puppies, not to 'careless' breeding.

    So it's great news that the kill rates seem to be going down. All we have to do now is get the point across that abandoning juvenile s/n at least would probably drop those kill rates farther and faster, which I'm sure all animal lovers would love to see. I sure would.

    If we spread the word now, perhaps this good news could be even better news to come, eh?