Euthanasia Statistics

There are several ways to characterize the undeniable fact that uncountable and unwanted dogs and cats, puppies and kittens, are euthanized annually in the United States by shelters and other humane organizations: sad, disgusting, ghastly, horrendous, sickening, appalling, uncivilized, barbaric, horrific, and more. Words alone, of course, cannot begin to adequately describe the true nature and extent of the killing rooms.

Largely, the euthanasia phenomenon is attributable to the seemingly intractable problem of dog and cat overpopulation. Killing healthy dogs and cats, puppies and kittens, is a loathsome business, but apparently still very necessary in the United States today.

We have used the word “uncountable” because no one knows, or perhaps can know, how many dogs and cats are actually euthanized annually, even by shelters.

ISAR believes that as a matter of policy the public would be well-served—both for informational and activism purposes—if there were at least some knowledgeable figures available on a state level of how many dogs and cats were euthanized annually.

Among other reasons, the numbers are bound to be shocking—and that knowledge could, in turn, lead activists to work even harder to promote spay/neuter, adoption, and other policies aimed at reducing the unwanted population.

Model Euthanasia Statistics Statute

A bill providing for the compiling of certain information relating to the activities of public and private animal shelters, for additional duties of the Attorney General, and for penalties.

The legislature finds as follows:

(1) That there is today in this state a serious problem of dog and cat overpopulation which has consequences for the public fisc, health, safety, welfare and environment.

(2) That the problem is dealt with principally by public and private animal shelters.

(3) That a principal method by which those shelters deal with the problem of dog and cat overpopulation is by euthanizing the unwanted animals.

(4) That the euthanizing of large numbers of unwanted dogs and cats annually causes public fiscal, health, safety, welfare, and environmental problems which the legislature may from time to time wish to address in legislation.

(5) That at present there are no reliable statistics of how many unwanted dogs and cats public and private shelters in this state euthanize annually, and thus no concrete data upon which the legislature can base any legislative conclusions it may wish to draw in order to deal with the public fiscal, health, safety, welfare, environmental, and other issues presented by the euthanasia of unwanted dogs and cats.

The legislature of the State of __________hereby enacts the following Euthanasia Statistics Statute:

Section 1. Definitions.

The following words and phrases when used in this act shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

“Animal shelter” and “operator of animal shelter.” The term includes all shelters operated in whole or in part for dogs and cats and all public and private agencies, organizations and associations operating animal shelters, regardless of source of funds and whether for profit or not for profit.

“Office.” The Office of Attorney General.

“Reported year.” The calendar year for which a report is made under Section 2.

Section 2. Reporting requirements.

a) Content—All animal shelter operators shall for each calendar, no later than April 1 of the following year, render a written report to the Office. This report shall include all of the following:

(1) The number of dogs, by breed, on hand as of January 1 of the reported year.

(2) The number of dogs, by breed, on hand as of 11:59 p.m. on December 31 of the reported year.

(3) The number of cats, by breed, on hand as of January 1 of the reported year.

(4) The number of cats, by breed, on hand as of 11:59 p.m. on December 31 of the reported year.

(5) The number of dogs redeemed by their owners and not returned during the reported year.

(6) The number of cats redeemed by their owners and not returned during the reported year.

(7) The number of dogs redeemed by their owners and returned during the reported year.

(8) The number of cats redeemed by their owners and returned during the reported year.

(9) The number of dogs adopted and not returned during the reported year.

(10) The number of cats adopted and not returned during the reported year.

(11) The number of dogs adopted and returned during the reported year.

(12) The number of cats adopted and returned during the reported year.

(13) The number of dogs euthanized during the reported year.

(14) The number of cats euthanized during the reported year.

(15) The number of dogs transferred or otherwise provided to dealers and the number of dogs transferred or otherwise provided to laboratories and biological supply houses during the reported year.

(16) The number of cats transferred or otherwise provided to dealers and the number of cats transferred or otherwise provided to laboratories and biological supply houses during the reported year.

(17) The number of dogs which have escaped, died naturally, or were subject to other disposition which shall be specified.

(18) The number of cats which have escaped, died naturally, or were subject to other disposition which shall be specified.

(19) The amount of public funds and the amount of private funds, and the sources thereof, which were expended in support of the activities which were the subject of the report.

b) Method of euthanasia. — The report shall specify the method of euthanasia and the manner of disposition of the remains.

c) Form. — The Office shall develop and provide a standard reporting form. The form shall include a statement that the maker of the report certifies it to be true and correct.

d) Fee. — The office may charge a reasonable fee to cover the cost of collecting and processing the reports, which shall be available in print and online.

Section 3. Compilation.

The Office shall compile the reports on a statewide and on a county-by county basis. Reports shall be maintained by the Office for at least ten years. Reports made under this statute shall be public records and shall be open to public inspection, and access to said report shall not be denied pursuit to any exemption in this state’s Freedom of Information Act or similar law.

Section 4. Penalties

a) Failure to file.–Failure to file a report under this statute constitutes [here include appropriate punishment under the jurisdiction’s criminal laws].

b) False statement. — Any person who knowingly submits a false or fraudulent report or who supplies false or fraudulent information in a report commits [here include appropriate punishment under the jurisdiction’s criminal laws].

Section 5. Rules and regulations.

The Office of Attorney General shall promulgate rules and regulations to administer and enforce this Statute.

Section 6. Effective date.

This statute shall take effect immediately upon being duly approved in accordance with law.

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Lest there be any question about the constitutionality of spay/neuter legislation in general, and the foregoing statute in particular, it can quickly be laid to rest. The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States gives the states (and thus political subdivisions like counties, cities, towns and villages) the power to enact virtually any laws they wish that are reasonably related to the public health, safety and welfare.