Are animal shelters still euthanizing healthy animals?

Tracy Carbone
Granola BarrPhoto byTracy Carbone

The answer is, sadly, yes. In December 2022, a healthy, three-month old puppy was accidentally euthanized in California. One puppy made the headlines but in 2021 in the U.S., 355,000 animals were purposefully euthanized.

I’m fortunate to live in Ventura County, California where all the animal shelters are designated as no-kill. The two Ventura County Animal Services (VCAS) shelters, located in Camarillo and Simi Valley, can house 440 pets collectively, more if there’s an emergency situation. Neighboring Los Angeles (city) became a no-kill haven in 2021. L.A. boasts a 90% save rate as compared to 2012 when the rate was only 56%. Collectively, the United States has a 79% save rate. For a shelter to qualify, at least 90% of animals who enter must be saved. The 10% is often accounted for by humane euthanasia when an animal is too sick to comfortably survive or has uncorrectable behavioral issues that could present a danger.

For much of the rest of California though, and throughout the country, kill shelters are prevalent. Funding isn’t available to house all the homeless pets. Per currently, only Delaware and New Hampshire are no-kill states, though individual counties and cities in states may have a no-kill status.

No-kill-2025, or No-kill is a collaboration between shelters and their community. In 2016, “nearly 1.5 million cats and dogs were being killed in America’s shelters because shelters didn’t have the community support or the resources they needed to save them. In 2016, Best Friends committed to change that by 2025.” While incredible progress has been made, they need help. Their website contains link to view data from your state and ways you can help make this goal a reality.

Clicking California on the interactive map, of the 241 shelters, 111 are designated no-kill. The state has an 82% save rate. A list of current no-kill shelters in California can be found here. Many shelters are boutique shelters popping up in local malls, rescuing, fostering, and training animals from various kill and no-kill shelters to ensure they find suitable, compatible, permanent homes.

In 2019, a California law went into effect banning “pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits from mass-breeding operations. The Pet Rescue and Adoption Act, signed in 2017 by Gov. Jerry Brown” was created to “crack down on ‘puppy mills’ and ‘kitten factories.’” In this state, you will only find rescue dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores, which drives down the amount that end up in kill or non-kill shelters.
Scruffy dogPhoto byTracy Carbone

If you want to adopt, please consider your local shelter. Check out Dogs in Danger. This sad contents of this site are a wake- up call, showing dogs in kill shelters who are at the end of their time, if not adopted quickly. Having your pet spayed or neutered will prevent future overcrowding. Let’s work together to make sure they have homes. A dog is about the best friend you can ever have.
Best friendsPhoto byTracy Carbone

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I'm a California based writer, blogger, and painter who strives to post local and national articles to inspire and engage my readers.

Simi Valley, CA

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