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Understanding Shelter Data:

Puppy/Kitten Intake Comparisons

Since Proactive Animal Sheltering focuses on spay/neuter to humanely reduce cat and dog overpopulation, the trends of the number of puppies/kittens entering shelters helps guage the success of spay/neuter efforts.  If this number increases, it tells us that more puppies and kittens are being born and presented to shelters.  Successful spay/neuter efforts should show a decline as fewer dogs and cats are able to reproduce.

The following is data obtained from the required annual shelter reports by calendar year for animal shelters in the state of Michigan.  Each state varies in the data required to be reported or if data is even required.  Since Michigan requires this information, we are using it for the purpose of illustration.  

                                         2017                                2018                                2019


Yearly Intake                                      

Puppies                      11,525 (29%)                     13,066 (29%)                  12,816 (27%)

Kittens                        27,742 (71%)                     31,906 (71%)                  34,838 (73%)

Total                            39,267 (100%)                   44,972 (100%)                47,654 (100%)

Total Puppies/Kittens to

Total Dog/Cat Intake*         31%                                  33%                                 34% 

*Adjusted for shelters with small intake numbers (20 or less) and veterinary clinics that are gegistered shelters.

What This Means

This comparison shows that the total number of puppies/kittens entering Michigan shelters has increased annually.   The percentage of puppies/kittens to dogs/cats taken in at Michigan shelters has increased slightly over the comparison years.  Combine this with the increasing numbers of dogs/cats entering these shelters annually and we can see clearly not enough spay/neuter is being done to even hold homeless dogs/cats numbers steady.

In 2019, puppy intake actually decreased.  (Note:  the Dog Law of 1919 requires that any dog/puppy presented to a shelter must be taken in.  Shelters, however, are not required to take in cats.)

Actual kitten intake numbers have increased annually.  And the number of kittens being taken to Michigan shelters is easily double the number of puppies for the same years.  

While efforts to spay/neuter more dogs needs to increase, the bigger issue is cats.  Kittens make up over 70% annually of the number of total puppies/kittens in intake.  Many shelters in Michigan are so overwhelmed with the number of cats and kittens that are being brought in that they have had to limit cat intake.  What happens when a shelter is not taking in cats?  Too often, they are abandoned on the streets, UNFIXED, to fend for themselves.  These are community cats.  And this is why we say any focus on spay/neuter must include community cats!  We MUST focus more on spay/neuter to reverse this.

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