Animal Shelters Find Homes for Many More Dogs than Euthanized

The number of dogs euthanized in Colorado in 2013 was small as compared to the number of dogs that shelters adopted out or returned to their owners, according to the “K9-Confidential” inquiry by Rocky Mountain PBS I-News and 9News.

In 2013, shelters found homes for almost 53,000 dogs and returned close to another 24,000 to their owners.

Still, euthanasia occurs.

The animal shelter serving El Paso County and its cities euthanized more than one pit bull a day last year, making it the most euthanized breed along the Front Range, according to the report.

The two news organizations analyzed dog euthanasia cases from 2013 at the major shelters along the Front Range. Taken together, these cases accounted for about 4,800 of the 7,000 dogs euthanized statewide.

Pit bulls stood out as a breed for euthanasia, accounting for 766 of the Front Range cases. More than half of those, 445, took place at the Humane Society of Pikes Peak. . They totaled about 40 percent of all of the about 1,100 dogs put down at the shelter last year.

Jan Smith, director of the shelter, said a combination of factors account for the high numbers.

“They’re a very popular breed here in El Paso County, so we see a large influx of those animals coming in,” Smith said. In addition, the county’s population tends to be transient leading to a large number of stray animals, she said, adding that pit bulls are harder to place with families than other breeds taken in by the shelter.

“We are outraged about the number of animals we have to euthanize every year,” Smith said. “We’re working proactively to try to get these dogs into homes.”


Jeremy Jojola of 9News contributed to  this report. To see the full K9 Confidential project click here.

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