Further gains against pet overpopulation
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 1993:
Continuing to refine the data on pound and shelter admissions and
euthanasias as more complete state statistics become available, Phil Arkow of the
Humane Society of Pike’s Peak has revised his estimate of the current U.S. euthanasia
toll, reported here in June, upward slightly to 5.7 million dogs and cats per year. This is
still the lowest total ever discovered––and reflects the most thorough research. Arkow’s
estimate is based on the 1991 totals, the most recent available in most instances, from
California (717,000); Colorado (69,766); Iowa (48,653); Massachusetts (79,500);
Maryland (90,000); New Jersey (75,263); Oregon (79,713); Texas (597,591); and
Washington (109,274). Together, these nine states include more than a third of the U.S.
human population, and are demographically almost identical to the U.S. as a whole.
While the 1991 estimate isn’t likely to change much, even with input from the
remaining states, 1992 Washington statistics reported by the Progressive Animal Welfare
Society show pound and shelter admissions declined 8.5%, to 165,786, while the number
of dogs and cats euthanized fell 7.6%, to 101,579. The improvement could result from
the publicity surrounding the King County anti-pet overpopulation ordinance adopted in
early 1992, and may not be matched by gains elsewhere. If the improvement is a national
trend, however, and if it continues, the national euthanasia total for 1992 may have been
circa 5.3 million, and the number euthanized this year could dip below five million. The
euthanasia numbers could rapidly rise again, however, if either the present rate of neuter-
ing declines or––perhaps in response to rabies panics––more animal control agencies are
obliged to start picking up and euthanizing feral cats, over which most presently have no
jurisdiction. There are an estimated 35 million feral cats in the U.S.