More than 2.7 million cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters annually. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. 

Stray animal statistics can be hard to believe, but it’s worth knowing what happens behind the curtain.

We’ll break it all down for you to see the real side of street life for animals. 

Little Known Facts About Homeless Animals 

  • Abandoned animal stats report that the number of US stray animals reaches 70 million.
  • According to the Humane Society, 6–8 million cats and dogs go into shelters each year.
  • 5500 stray dogs are put to rest each day.
  • Only 2% of cats and 17% of dogs in shelters return to their pet parents. 
  • Of the massive population in shelters, just 3–4 million stray animals get adopted. 
  • Shelters euthanize 2.7 million animals due to lack of space. 

But there are more homeless animal statistics you should be aware of. 

What Is the Actual Number of Stray Animals?

It’s challenging to figure out precisely how many animals live on the streets. So, our best bet would be to learn more facts about homeless animals. 

1. 6.5 Million Animals Are Taken Into US Shelters Annually

(Source: ASPCA)

  • Out of these, 3.3 million are dogs, and 3.2 million are cats. 
  • Around 50% of the shelter animals are adopted, but 20–30% get euthanized.
  • 87% of animals in underserved communities are neither spayed nor neutered.
  • 77% of that 87% have never been to a vet.

The effort to put all animals in a loving home is overwhelming. But why are stray animal statistics so high? 

Well, here’s one possibility.

2. One Female Dog Can Give Birth to 12–18 Puppies a Year

(Source: Humane Society)

  • Around 67,000 puppies can be born from a single female dog and her offspring in six years.
  • Shelters spay or neuter only 10% of animals.
  • 5500 dogs are euthanized each day. 

And these are just the stray dogs facts. When we turn the page to check the cats, the numbers get even higher. 

3. A Cat Can Have 20–27 Kittens Annually

(Source: Cat Cave Co)

  • Street cats in the US are estimated to reach 30–40 million.
  • Only 2% of stray cats are spayed or neutered.
  • Each year, about 80% of the newly-born kittens come from community or stray cats.

Animals are delightful companions, but their street population is out of control. And owners who abandon their pets make matters worse. 

The Consequences of High Stray Animal Statistics

If you think that the growing numbers of stray animal stats in 2022 have nothing to do with you, think again. We’re already facing the aftermath. 

Dangerous Diseases Are Spreading

Viruses like rabies get transferred from animals to humans through saliva in bites. Remember that the leading theory on the coronavirus’s initial spread is that it came from a bat. 

Sadly, many street animals end up dying from infections and diseases that are preventable. 

4. 40,000–70,000 People Die From Rabies Each Year

(Source: WHO)

  • 99% of human rabies cases are linked to rabid dog exposure. 
  • There are over 100 diseases a human can catch from an animal. 
  • Over 60 million people in the US have a T. gondii. infection from ingesting cat feces accidentally.

Such diseases contribute to the rising animal neglect stats. But governments have a hard time dealing with all the stray cats and dogs. Sadly, many street animals end up dying from infections and diseases that are preventable. 

Fatal Human Attacks

Most dog bites don’t need medical care, but does that mean you’re safe? 

5. Between 2005–2019, 521 People in the US Died From a Dog Bite Injury

(Source: Dogs Bite)

  • Pit bulls and Rottweilers are responsible for 76% of these deaths.
  • According to dog bite statistics, 4.5 million Americans are victims every year.
  • 800,000 of the attacked people needed medical care.

Sometimes people who are bitten may choose to self-medicate. But it’s best to check with a doctor. After all, you can get tetanus or rabies from a dog bite, and proper wound cleaning significantly lowers the chances.

Dog Attack Victims by Age 

Historically, facts about homeless dogs show that canines have mostly bitten children. They’re easy prey since they don’t know how to protect themselves. That’s why it’s crucial to accompany your kids to parks or around the neighborhood. 

6. In 2019, 27% of Dog Bite Victims Were Children Under 9 Years Old

(Source: Dogs Bite)

  • About 75% of the canine attacks over children consisted of bites on the child’s face.
  • In the US, adults suffered 69% of the fatal dog bites in 2019. 
  • About 20% of all dog bite cases came from canines known to the victim and not from a stray animal.

Dog Attacks by Breed

Undeniably, some dogs are more aggressive than others. Can you guess which breed is the most common attacker, according to stray animals facts?

7. Over 30 Dog Breeds Are Associated With Dog Bite Fatalities

(Source: AAHA)

  • Pit Bulls are at fault for the highest number of reported bites — 22%. Next are the mixed breeds at 21.2%, followed by German shepherds with 17.8%.
  • Over 13 years in the US, Pit Bulls killed 248 people
  • The Kangal breed has the strongest bite by pound per square inch — 743 PSI. 

That said, the german shepherd pitbull mix breed is prone to inflict the most severe damage per bite when compared to any other mixed breed.

Most dog attacks happen because someone provoked the canine. 

Fatal Animal Attacks

Stray animals are not only in cities. Animal statistics show that they also attack goats, cows, calves, horses, and chickens on farms.

8. In 2016, Dogs Killed 15,000 Sheep in the UK. 

(Source: Wilderness Society)

  • UK farmers lose 30–40 sheep in every attack.
  • In a 2017 survey, about 24% of owners attested that their dogs chased livestock.
  • About 29% of people who owned a dog that chased animals sought help, but 43% didn’t think it was an issue.

Dog attacks are a problem for farmers, and the losses they suffer cost a lot. That said, humanity has a more pressing concern than that. 

The Extinction Of Small Animals

The number of endangered species is rising, and stray animals are the main contributors.

9. Stray Cats Have Contributed to the Extinction of 63 Species Globally 

(Source: American Bird Conservancy)

Stray animal statistics in the US stated that:

  • In 2013, cats killed between 1.3 to 3.7 billion birds.
  • Felines have also been linked to the death of 6.3 to 22.3 billion mammals annually, including mice, shrew, squirrels, and rabbits.

Stray cats are perceived as invasive animals that prey on any vulnerable species. If you’re worried about your pets, one solution is to invest in an odor eliminator, hiding your animal’s scent and detouring strays..

In 2013, cats killed between 1.3 to 3.7 billion birds

What Can You Do to Lower the High Stray Animal Statistics?

As you can see from the rising stray animal statistics, we need solutions and fast. If this exponential rise keeps growing, we’ll have a multi-billion problem on our hands in a few years.  

Here are a few suggestions that might seem small but can trigger a significant change. 

Encourage Pet Adoption

If more people got their pets from shelters and rescue centers, the problem with strays would be easier to deal with. 

According to animal adoption statistics, less than half of the cats and dogs in shelters find new homes.

10. People Adopt 3.2 Million Animals From Shelters Annually

(Source: APPA)

  • In the US, 23% of dogs and 31% of cats as pets came from animal shelters.
  • Between 2015–2018, people took in only 6% of stray dogs and 27% of street cats.
  • 47% of dogs and 42% of cats are rehomed. 

The stray animal statistics worldwide could improve if more people step up and adopt a pet. That way, more than 70 million animals will have a place to call home and someone to care for them. 

11. In 2019, 49.6% of Shelter Intakes Were Strays

(Source: Pawlytics)

  • By 2021, that number dropped to 46.8%. While it may not seem like much, these numbers increase each year but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more people took in strays as pets.
  • In general, shelter intake numbers decreased by 23.7% between 2019–2021.
  • We know euthanasia is par for the course in animal shelters but things are improving with live outcomes increasing from 85% in 2019 to 89.3% in 2021. 

While shelters try their best, there are other options when it comes to decreasing stray animal population statistics.


Another successful method for dealing with the growing population of homeless cats is TNR. In short, it means that the animal is caught humanely, sterilized, and returned to their dwellings.

12. In 2015, TNR Reduced the Number of Dying Cats by 82%

(Source: Best Friends Animal Society)

  • San Antonio municipal shelter reduced the rate at which cats were killed by 65% compared to 2011.
  • Baltimore increased the number of saved cats from 65.3% in 2011 to 81.1% in 2015.
  • In 2015, dying cats in Columbus decreased by 80% compared to 2013.
  • Philadelphia saved 75.1% of cats in 2015 — 10% more than in 2013.

The TNR trend to lower animal euthanasia statistics has been embraced in many cities, and it seems to be working. Imagine how many animals we can save if more locations join the initiative. 

The TNR trend to lower animal euthanasia statistics has been embraced in many cities, and it seems to be working

Support Local Animal Shelters

The stray animal shelter statistics will also take a turn for the better if individuals do more to help the organizations. Many of them are run by animal enthusiasts and non-governmental institutions that often need funding to improve the lives of stray dogs and cats.

Consider donating money, food, dog vitamins, or even some of your time to care for the animals in shelters.

13. There Are 3500 US Brick and Mortar Animal Refuge Centres

(Source: Humane Society)

  •  40% of low-income Americans give their pets to shelters.
  • In some parts of the US, cats make up to 75% of all animals in shelters.  
  • Humane organizations spent $3 billion every year. 

If you can’t keep your pet, it’s better to drop it off at a shelter. By doing so, you’ll reduce disease spreading, uncontrolled reproduction, and even the animal’s death. 

Similarly, when you come across a stray cat or dog, consider taking it to the nearest shelter. If each of us makes an effort, we have the power to lower the stray animal statistics. 

But if you need more reasons to help, check how many animals die each year. 

Animal Euthanasia Statistics 

Organizations struggle to keep up with the growing population of animals. But is euthanasia the best way to act?

14. In 2008, 3.7 Million Animals Were Put to Rest

(Source: International Society For Animal Rights)

  • 56% of dogs that enter animal shelters are euthanized.
  • 71% of cats are put to rest since no one comes to claim them.
  • Only 15.8% of dogs and 2% of cats in shelters go back to their pet parents.

Even though the numbers are too overwhelming, we don’t have many solutions to deal with the rising pet population statistics. 

Companion Animal Overpopulation Statistics

Domesticated animals are on the increase, leaving a large proportion of animals homeless, euthanized, or in shelters. 

15. 47% of Pups Need Rehoming Because of Behavioral Issues

(Source: ASPCA)

  • Between 1995–2015, over 65,000 emotional support animals were registered.  While that may seem like a lot, that number increased by 200% between 2015–2019. Most are self-prescribed, creating a big problem for actual service animals.
  • 47% of service dogs have encountered an issue with other pups. Training a service dog costs upwards of $25,000 where they learn not to respond. While emotional support animals without training will react to outward stimuli
  • Unfortunately, when incidents like this happen the emotional support animal is often abandoned or handed over to a shelter, simply adding to abandoned animals stats. 

The cost is also enormous, you are responsible for any damage your animal causes if they aren’t a support animal.

Wrap up

70 million homeless pets roam the streets every day and face the danger of getting killed by people, traffic, and diseases. 

The good news is anyone can contribute to the efforts of local animal shelters. You can adopt a pet, take a stray to the vet to get it spayed or neutered, or even support the nearest shelter by volunteering. We should all work together to reduce the stray animal statistics and find more homes for street cats and dogs.


How many animals are rescued each year?

Around 4.1 million animals get adopted each year from US shelters. Of those, two million are dogs and 2.1 million are cats. 

What percentage of people have taken in stray animals as pets?

Between 2019–2020, 36% of all dogs and 43% of cats were from shelters. Additionally, 5% of dogs and 21% were strays. 

How many dogs are abandoned each year?

Unfortunately, the exact number isn’t known but the Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t helped. For example in 2021, New York City animal centers took in 1,393 animals in a single month. That’s double the usual numbers. 

How many stray cats are there in the world?

Estimates suggest there are close to 600 million cats worldwide. In 2018, humans kept only 272 million cats as pets. We will never know the true number since most strays are unregistered. But we know the number is staggeringly high and growing.


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