Animal Humane Society position on pet population

The quantity of companion animals is disproportionate to the number of homes available for them in some parts of the country. This is a situation that has produced suffering for displaced animals, many of which are euthanized in our nation’s shelters.

This problem exists in part due to indiscriminate breeding practices that result in puppies and kittens as well as a lack of access to affordable spay and neuter services. An equally important factor is the number of adult animals surrendered. Unexpected life changes and situations where people are unprepared, unable or unwilling to handle the challenges of pet ownership result in their surrender to shelters.

Decreasing the number of pets entering shelters and preventing random births requires a multi-faceted approach, including:

  1. Spay/Neuter: Sterilization is an essential part of the solution. All dogs, cats and rabbits placed by animal welfare organizations must be spayed or neutered prior to placement. AHS supports the practice of prepubescent spaying and neutering of kittens and puppies. We support programs that provide education and incentives to the public to spay or neuter their companion animals.
  2. Behavior and Training, Education: Training and pet behavior programs for people and their pets contribute to reducing the quantity of animals brought to shelters. Research suggests that education of pet owners improves the human-animal relationship which, in turn, increases the likelihood of a life-long home.
  3. Transport: Transport provides valuable opportunities for animals to move from overpopulated areas with limited options for placement to communities with high demand for adoption to facilitate placement and significantly reduce euthanasia related to population issues.


For caring, compassionate advice and resources to address all your animal concerns.

Contact the Pet Helpline