HSUS estimates that public and private animal control programs cost the nation as much as $500 million a year. Much of this expense is required for the feeding and care of unwanted animals during the 5 to 10 days they are held for adoption, killing the 80% that are not adopted or redeemed, and disposing of the carcasses. The result is both an unconscionable waste of life and a needless drain on public and private money.
A large part of the blame for people undertaking pet ownership without having made a total commitment to the animal lies with the pet industry, which relies heavily on impulse buying to sell animals. Pet shops, especially chain operations, promote puppies and kittens as successfully as the auto industry promotes new cars. Americans are just as likely to walk out of a pet shop with a kitten or puppy they aren't willing or able to care for as they are to drive home in a new car they can't afford. Local humane societies and municipal animal control departments must share the blame, because many of them conduct such irresponsible adoption programs that animals are placed with people unfit to be pet owners.
"Special Report on Controlling America's Pet Population" (1975). Special Reports. 11.