3 Problems Facing Animal Shelters

Animal shelters have many challenges facing them in their quest to unite abandoned animals with good homes. Battling people’s preconceived notions about rescue pets, public ignorance over curbing animal overpopulation, lack of centralized funding for these non-profit shelters, and the staggering number of animals all contribute to a veritable host of problems to surmount. One of the best ways to help shelters combat this issue is to raise public awareness, and spread information about the difficulties faced in providing such a valuable service.

With that in mind, here are three of the major problems facing animal shelters today.

1. A lack of public awareness

One of the highest priority problems for animal shelters is a lack of public awareness, both in how to handle their pets to prevent overpopulation and in the valuable services shelters provide in placing animals in good homes. According to the ASPCA, 34% of dogs are purchased from breeders, while only 23% of dogs are obtained from animal shelters. There is also difficulty in getting people to properly spay/neuter their pets, which can lead to animal overpopulation. This is why so often humane societies and animal shelters will hold charity events and “showcase days;” not only does this encourage people to adopt an animal but it also raises public awareness of the great work humane societies do.

2. Funding is hard to come by

Running an animal shelter is difficult; you have to balance the desire to help as many animals as you can against the need to run profitably in order to keep your doors open. Compounding this issue is that there is little federal or subsidized funding available for humane societies, meaning many of the non-profits have to make hard decisions in how many animals they can help, how much staff they can maintain, and how effective they can be. As a result, donations are always gratefully accepted. Whether it be by giving needed items, monetary donations, or even just giving some of your free time as a volunteer, there are many ways animal shelters help alleviate their financial burdens.

3. There are too many pets needing space

Approximately 6.5 million animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year. This absolutely staggering number of animals means that, as much as they want to find good homes for each, it can be quite challenging to do so. For “no kill” shelters, this means that unless they can consistently find homes for their animals (a trying task during even the best of times), they can run out of room to take animals. This means that every year, animals that are otherwise perfectly healthy have to be put down. According to an interview with Darla Proctor, a shelter director in Ringold, Georgia, roughly 50% of the dogs that come to the shelter each year need to be euthanized. This problem will only grow as the animal population continues to rise, so make sure to let anyone thinking about purchasing a pet know about the benefits to adopting. This is a problem that will not go away unless we all pitch in and do our part to help, as best we can!

How would you help fix these problems, or have you already helped? Let us know in the comments below!


  • Petsearcher

    Unfortunately, nonprofit pet adoption agencies fail to properly respond to interested parties, many of whom could provide healthy, safe and loving homes to dogs and cats. I’ve applied, but failed to be notified yet of the pets I’m interested in. Some just disappear off the page. I’m sure they are busy, but it’s a turn off and has made me consider purchasing a pedigree instead.

  • Starla Meredith

    With thanks! Valuable information!

  • Bill

    do you know where to find the best animal shelters in South Florida?