Dog management in the United States has evolved considerably over the last 40 years. This review analyzes available data from the last 30 to 40 years to identify national and local trends. In 1973, The Humane Society of the US (The HSUS) estimated that about 13.5 million animals (64 dogs and cats per 1000 people) were euthanized in the US (about 20% of the pet population) and about 25% of the dog population was still roaming the streets. Intake and euthanasia numbers (national and state level) declined rapidly in the 1970s due to a number of factors, including the implementation of shelter sterilization policies, changes in sterilization practices by private veterinarians and the passage of local ordinances implementing differential licensing fees for intact and sterilized pets. By the mid-1980s, shelter intake had declined by about 50% (The HSUS estimated 7.6–10 million animals euthanized in 1985). Data collected by PetPoint over the past eight years indicate that adoptions increased in the last decade and may have become an additional driver affecting recent euthanasia declines across the US. We suspect that sterilizations, now part of the standard veterinary care, and the level of control of pet dogs exercised by pet owners (roaming dogs are now mostly absent in many US communities) played an important part in the cultural shift in the US, in which a larger proportion of families now regard their pet dogs as “family members”.
Rowan, A.; Kartal, T. Dog Population & Dog Sheltering Trends in the United States of America. Animals 2018, 8, 68.