Every year, 6.5 million animals enter U.S. animal shelters - 3.3 million dogs and 3.2 million cats. Currently, some 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized every year (670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats). Even though that may seem like a shockingly large figure, it actually represents a sharp decline on the number of animals
euthanized a decade ago. Back in 2012, the total figure was 2.6 million while in 2009, it was 3.7 million.
Today's rate is also a far cry from the 1970s when the number of cats and dogs euthanized in the U.S. stood at over 20 million. The decline comes as the number of cats and dogs in the U.S. climbed from some 64 million in the 70s to over 160 million today. Reasons for the drastic decline in euthanasia include successful spay and neuter campaigns as well as a more general societal change in attitudes towards pets.