IN THE STATE – The state of Florida has the 4th highest number of pet deaths in shelters in the country, according to data compiled by Best Friends Animal Society, a leading animal welfare organization.
Best Friends reports that 24,289 dogs and cats needlessly died in public shelters in 2020. However, these shelters were able to save 6,000 more dogs and cats last year than in 2019.
This is the sixth annual pet rescue report released by the organization working to end the slaughter of dogs and cats in U.S. shelters by 2025.
Their latest report gives a nationwide snapshot of the number of dogs and cats entering and leaving shelters over the past year. It also includes a ranking based on the number of animals killed in shelters in each state.
Texas is ranked # 1 for animal shelter deaths, followed by California, North Carolina, and then Florida.
âFlorida has many animal shelter agencies that do a terrific job within their local communities,â said Tiffany Deaton, Eastern Region Strategist, Best Friends Animal Society. âThey have implemented best practices to save animals in their care and keep animals out of shelters and with their families when possible. If we can take what we’ve learned from these model agencies and share that knowledge and resources with other communities and shelters in Florida, we can make the Sunshine State a safe place for animals in shelters.
Best Friends measures shelter rescue with a metric called “save rate.”
About 10 percent of pets that enter shelters have medical or behavioral circumstances that warrant humane euthanasia, rather than killing for other reasons, such as lack of space.
In 2020, 283,942 dogs and cats entered shelters in Florida and 234,681 were rescued, giving the state an overall save rate of 82.65%.
A savings rate of 90% is the nationally recognized benchmark for being classified as a âno-killâ state.
Check out the county-by-county breakdown of pet shelters in Florida here – https://ww2.bestfriends.org/no-kill-2025/animal-shelter-statistics/florida?%3Alinktarget=_self&%3Aembed=yes
Nationally, approximately 347,000 cats and dogs were killed in U.S. shelters in 2020, up from 625,000 in 2019.
Ironically, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a positive impact. Many shelters have had to partially close or reduce their services. Communities and individuals have filled this gap by volunteering, adopting foster families and adopting them. As a result, fewer pets have entered shelters and more lives have been saved.
âThe progress this year has been exceptional,â said Castle. âIt is crucial that we build on this momentum to keep pets out of shelters and into the loving homes to which they belong. This is how we will arrive at the no-kill.
For more information, visit – bestfriends.org.