Did you know that 63 percent of modern American households include pets? That’s an estimated 78 million dogs and 85.8 million cats in homes across the United States. Now, did you know that less than one third of those pets were adopted from a shelter or rescue? An April 2017 survey by Pet Finder and American Humane Society found that there are approximately 5,000 animal shelters and rescues across the United States, all available to serve the nearly 7 million homeless animals that seek refuge from the outside world each year. Unfortunately, less than half of the loving animals found in those places will be adopted and, while the benefits of adopting a shelter pet are well documented, of the 63 percent of American households that include pets, most are purchased through breeders and pet stores.
Each year, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) celebrates National Animal Shelter & Rescue Appreciation Week during the first full week of November, as a way to honor animal shelters, animal rescues, and the dedicated people who work to protect animals. These animal shelters and rescues are vital resources for their communities providing a safe haven for animals, and a great place to adopt a new family pet. They also provide critical services such as investigating cruelty and neglect, reuniting lost pets with their families, teaching kids to car about animals, and providing spay/neuter services to help reduce pet overpopulation.
National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week is a perfect opportunity for you, your family, and your community to become acquainted wit their local shelter and to help homeless pets.
Here are just a few ways to get involved:
- Adopt your next pet from a shelter!
- Become a fan of your local shelter on Facebook or social media.
- Volunteer – helping animals at the shelter can be incredibly rewarding experience.
- Be a responsible pet owner. Keep your pet at home as a member of your family for a lifetime. Spay/neuter your pets, make sure they’re wearing collars and ID tags (to get them home if they become lost), don’t let your pets roam loose. Ask your local shelter what else you can do to be a great pet owner.
- Donate supplies. Shelters are often in need of towels, toys, and other items. Always check with your local shelter first to find out what they need. Request donations from family, friends, and colleagues. You might also want to team up with your child’s school, after-school, or camp to organize an Animal Shelter Drive.
The HSUS is the nation’s strongest advocate for local humane societies. Besides celebrating the valuable service that shelters provide to our nation’s communities through National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week, the HSUS supports shelters and animal rescue groups by providing training programs, hosting the nation’s largest trade and educational show for shelter professionals, and advising shelters on best practices. The HSUS has also partnered with Maddie’s Fund to launch the Shelter Pet Project, the nation’s largest promotion of shelter animal adoption.