About two-thirds of the dogs in U.S. shelters as of June 2014 were housed by tax-funded animal care and control facilities, 22% were housed by open-admission humane societies, and 12% were housed by selective admission no-kill shelters and rescues, according to the annual ANIMALS 24-7 summer survey of shelter dog inventory.
Of the dogs housed in animal care and control facilities, 34% were pit bulls, down from 38% in June 2013. Pit bulls and their recognizable mixes together are about 6% of the U.S. dog population. Of the dogs housed in open admission humane society shelters, 29% were pit bulls, down from 37% in June 2013. But of the dogs housed in selective admission no-kill shelters, 26% were pit bulls, more than six times as many as in June 2013, when the percentage of pit bulls at no-kill shelters was consistent with the trend over the past several decades. Much of the increase appears to reflect significant expansion of the no-kill shelter sector: more no-kills are housing more dogs, including more pit bulls who previously would have been killed at animal care and control and open admission shelters.
Overall, 32% of the U.S. shelter dog inventory as of June 2014 were pit bulls, consistent with findings in every year since 2003. The rapid rise in numbers of pit bulls transferred from animal care and control and open admission shelters to no-kills hints that the volume of pit bulls killed in shelters in 2013-2014 has decreased, but whether this actually occurred will only be known with certaintly when an ongoing ANIMALS 24-7 shelter intake and killing survey is completed.
The Chihuahua population boom seen in the 2012 and 2013 ANIMALS 24-7 shelter dog inventory surveys appears to be receding––slowly. Chihuahuas peaked at 18% of the shelter dog inventory in 2012, after 20 years of steadily increasing intakes, most markedly in California, with several other hotspots in other parts of the country. Chihuahuas were 14% of the shelter dog inventory in 2013, and declined to 12% in 2014. Animal care and control units reported that 11% of their dog inventory were Chihuahuas; Chihuahuas were 14% of the inventory at open admission humane societies; and Chihuahuas were 9% of the inventory at no-kill and selective admission shelters.
Initiated in 1993, the ANIMALS 24-7 annual shelter dog inventory surveys provide data used in combination with several separate surveys to assemble a comprehensive portrait of progress in dog population control.
The ANIMALS 24-7 surveys of shelter intakes and killing and of dogs offered for sale or adoption via classified ads, also initiated in 1993, are still underway, due to be completed soon.
The June 2014 ANIMALS 24-7 dog inventory survey brought responses from a geographically and institutionally representative sampling of 57 sheltering organizations, operating 70 shelters, housing 8,492 dogs––about 3.5% of the total estimated U.S. shelter dog population at any given time.