Georgia Faces Challenge of High Pet Euthanasia Rates Despite Shelter Efforts

A recent report from Best Friends Animal Society sheds light on Georgia’s struggle with high pet euthanasia rates, ranking the state fifth nationally for the number of pets killed in shelters. In 2023 alone, approximately 19,330 cats and dogs were euthanized across the state, reflecting a persistent issue within Georgia’s shelter system.

Comparatively, Texas reported the highest euthanasia numbers, highlighting a regional trend in the South. Despite efforts by some shelters, only 69 out of 165 in Georgia are designated as no-kill shelters, where at least 90% of animals leave alive, barring extreme medical or behavioral issues necessitating euthanasia.

Regina Burrows of Best Friends Animal Society emphasized their ambitious goal to end shelter euthanasia by 2025, advocating for increased adoption rates as a critical solution. Burrows pointed out that redirecting a small fraction of the projected seven million people seeking pets in the next year to adoption rather than purchasing from breeders or pet stores could significantly narrow the lifesaving gap.

The report also highlighted a concerning trend where shelter intakes have risen while adoption rates have plateaued. Many prospective pet owners continue to choose commercial sources over shelters, contributing to the ongoing challenge.

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Addressing these trends requires concerted efforts in public education, promoting adoption, and supporting no-kill initiatives. By encouraging more individuals to adopt from shelters and expanding no-kill practices statewide, Georgia can work towards reducing euthanasia rates and providing better outcomes for shelter animals.

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