Massachusetts had 89% save-rate for shelter dogs, cats in 2021

Massachusetts has an 89% save rate for shelter dogs and cats, making the state number 13 for the nation in terms of being considered “no-kill.”

Best Friends Animal Society, a leading animal welfare organization released its sixth annual pet lifesaving dataset last week, which gives a national overview of the number of dogs and cats entering and exiting shelters in a given year.

Tyrone is a shelter dog who was saved eight years ago.  Photo Courtesy

In 2021, 22,218 dogs and cats entered Massachusetts shelters and 19,743 were saved, giving the state an aggregate save rate of 89%.

That’s up from 84% in 2020.

More:Numbers on saved shelter dogs, cats for 2021

In 2021, 62% of state shelters measured above the 90% benchmark in Massachusetts. Those that were below it needed to save 689 more healthy or treatable animals to make Massachusetts no-kill – a state is considered to be no-kill when every brick-and-mortar shelter serving and/or located within the state has a save rate of 90% or higher.

Evie was adopted five years ago from Schultz Guest House in Dedham.  Photo Courtesy

In 2020, 25,575 dogs and cats entered Massachusetts shelters and 23,228 were saved, giving the state an aggregate save rate of 84%. In the same year, an estimated 21% of state shelters measured above the 90% benchmark.

Tied for number one on the no-kill list are Delaware and New Hampshire, which “didn’t kill any animals last year,” according to Best Friends.

More:Best Friends Animal Society videos on YouTube

The number two state is Rhode Island and number three is North Dakota.

Massachusetts did well last year compared to the country collectively. The data showed that nationally for the first time in five years, US shelter systems are seeing a setback in lifesaving.

Sally was adopted from Standish Humane Society in Duxbury.  Photo Courtesy

In 2021, the number of dogs and cats killed in US shelters increased from 347,000 to 355,000 and was especially stark when compared to the dramatic lifesaving efforts seen throughout the previous year. The reasons were partly due to staffing shortages that limited hours, increased in-person volunteers, reduced adoption events and pet care support. As overall lifesaving stalls, Best Friends’ data shows the animal shelter crisis in America growing with increasing intakes and waning adoptions.

More:A setback in lifesaving and what it means

“Despite all of the hardships in 2021, Massachusetts was committed to saving the lives of shelter pets in need,” said Audrey Lodato, senior strategist – East Region, Best Friends Animal Society. “We know shelters, community members and government officials are dedicated to sustaining lifesaving and taking the state over the no-kill finish line.”

Sophie, adopted 10 years ago from Standish Humane Society in Duxbury, enjoys spending time in her little kitty house.  Photo Courtesy

Individuals can help save lives by choosing to adopt from a shelter or rescue group, spay or neuter their pets, foster, volunteer, donate, and support and advocate for community cats through trap-neuter-vaccinate-return (TNVR) and shelter-run TNVR programming.

For the past six years, Best Friends has spearheaded a one-of-a-kind extensive data collection process that involved coordinated outreach to every shelter in America followed by additional research, data analysis, and technology development. The dataset is the most comprehensive on US sheltered animals, and is based on data collected directly from shelters, state and local coalitions, government websites, and FOIA requests. From this, 94% of the animal intake in US shelters is known, 6% is estimated.

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