North Carolina

More dogs, cats killed in NC shelters last year than in every state but two, study says

North Carolina had one of the highest numbers of cats and dogs killed at shelters last year, a study found.

In 2018, 246,000 cats and dogs entered shelters in the state, 167,000 were saved and 55,900 were killed, a study by Best Friends Animal Society found.

This put North Carolina behind only California and Texas in terms of the number of animals killed, the study said.

In Texas, 661,000 cats and dogs entered shelters and 114,000 were killed, and in California 715,000 entered shelters and 111,000 were killed, the study said.

The total number of cats and dogs killed in the country last year was 733,000, according to the study, meaning North Carolina accounted for about 7.6% of those kills.

Researchers conducted the study by collecting data from shelters, government websites, coalitions at the state and local level, and Freedom of Information Act requests, according to a release.

To find the number of cats and dogs killed in the shelters, researchers used the sum of it’s “non-live outcomes,” including animals that died in care, were lost in care or were “shelter deaths,” according to organization’s website.

They then subtracted 10% of the total cat and dog intake from that number to account for the “no-kill benchmark of a 90% save rate,” the website said.

This means that an estimated 10% of animals killed are presumed to have been euthanized for humane reasons, the website said.

Using this data, Best Friends Animal Society created the “community life-saving dashboard,” which shows data on animal shelters in each state and at the community level, the release said. The tool also allows people to look at data for individual shelters.

Best Friends Animal Society is an “animal welfare organization” that works to end the “killing of cats and dogs” in animal shelters across the country, the release said.

It also operates the country’s largest “no-kill sanctuary for companion animals,” the release said.

The life-saving dashboard shows that North Carolina had 39 “no-kill communities” but mostly communities that were “not yet no kill.”

These “no kill communities” are those that “embrace and promote” a “collective responsibility” for the well-being of pets in the community and in shelters, value life-saving actions for animals and reserve euthanasia to end the suffering of an animal or for cases where an animal is unsafe to rehabilitate or place in a community, the study said.

“We know animal lovers want to support their local shelters and to save their pets. By using national animal shelter data, we hope to inspire community action that will truly have an impact and help us achieve our goal of no-kill by 2025,” Julie Castle CEO of Best Friends Animal Society said in the release.

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Bailey Aldridge is a reporter covering real-time news in North and South Carolina. She has a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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