Most Significant Annual Decrease in Animal Shelter Deaths, Best Friends 2021 Pet Lifesaving Dataset

Best Friends Animal Society (Best Friends), a leading animal welfare organization recently RELEASED it’s 2021 annual pet lifesaving dataset which shows a 44.5 percent year-over-year reduction in dogs and cats killed in the nation’s shelters. Approximately 347,000 cats and dogs were killed in 2020 versus 625,000 in 2019. This represents the largest yearly reduction to date.


  • About 4.26 million cats and dogs entered shelters in 2020 compared to about 5.4 million in 2019.
  • The top 15 states that killed the most dogs and cats in 2020 were, in order: Texas, California, North Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Oklahoma, Illinois, Michigan, Hawaii, Indiana, South Carolina, Kentucky, and Virginia. These states make up more than 75% of the nation’s killing.