Animal People July/August 2009
DogsBite.org - The latest issue of Animal People News, which projects 2009 shelter killings based on 2006-2008 data1, reports that a decade of "adoption focus" has failed to reduce these deaths, with the decade's average at 4.5, right where it was in 1999. The data shows that campaigns designed to reduce shelter killing chiefly by increasing adoption, instead of preventing the births of cats and dogs most likely to enter shelters and be killed, have been ineffective.
Among the unadoptables in 2009, based on the 2006-2008 figures, will be about 1.8 million cats, believed to be mostly feral, and as many as 967,300 pit bulls. Of the 1,663,167 shelter dogs projected to be euthanized in 2009, pit bulls account for 58%. The increased pit bull killing rate, it was 50% in 2007, exists despite the fact that pit bulls are not more than 5% of the total U.S. dog population, according to the article, and that serious efforts have been taken to reduce this rate.
Pit Bulls Killed at Similar Rate as Steers
"Of the total U.S. pit bull population of circa 3.5 million, about a third arrive at a shelter in any given year, at an average age of about 18 months. This is the same average age and rate, relative to their number on farms, at which steers go to slaughter.
Two-thirds to 80% of the pit bulls entering shelters are surrendered by their keepers. Most of the rest are impounded, either for behavior or as victims of abuse and neglect." ANIMAL PEOPLE July/August 2009
Cities with Pit Bull Laws (BSL) Kill Fewer
Page 10 of the article shows a regional breakdown of shelter killing during the 3-year period. A side bar chart titled, "The Effect of Breed-Specific ByLaws on City Pit Bull Terrier Killing Rates" is also included. As seen in the chart, the City of Denver, which bans new pit bulls, also euthanizes the fewest pit bulls. While the national average of pit bulls euthanized per 1,000 human residents is 3.15, the rate in Denver is only .14. Of the city's total shelter killing, pit bulls accounted for 3%.
The City of Cincinnati, which also bans new pit bulls, shows a pit bull euthanization rate that is less than half of the national average 1.34. As noted in the article, pit bulls made up a much smaller part of total shelter killing in Cincinnati (10%) than in Milwaukee (18%) or Indianapolis (17%), two cities of similar demographic profile. Lastly, the chart includes San Francisco data pre-BSL (43%) and post-BSL (29%), a 14% drop after the 2006 enactment of a pit bull sterilization law.
01/15/09: Stop Creating New Pit Bulls So That We Can Stop Killing Them
09/14/08: Flashback: S.F. Pit Bull Sterilization Law Has Successful Results