It's estimated that 1.5 million pets are put down in shelters each year. Oftentimes, shelters are not required to keep or report statistics on animals surrendered and killed. There is no national database to track these numbers. Some open admission shelters in Georgia take in hundreds of animals a month and must euthanize many for space. Dogs deemed "aggressive", even if only afraid, and injured or sick dogs are not counted in euthanasia numbers. Unregulated puppy mill and backyard breeding puts more pets into an already overwhelmed system.
Many shelters are understaffed, underfunded and lack accountability, leading to a culture that enables the poor treatment of animals. The standards set by local animal control ordinances are often lax or unenforced, and can leave animal control officers unable to intervene. Dogs are left in squalid conditions and in imminent danger based on the discretion of officers in the field. In counties without their own open admission shelters, countless animals are dumped. Dumped dogs face the danger of starvation, disease and injury and many reproduce. No owner is held accountable for the abuse, the public safety risk and the cost to the county.
Officials spend millions in taxpayer dollars on new shelters to house unwanted animals. Backyard breeding and unaltered stray dogs cause extreme overpopulation in Georgia. Neglected and improperly contained dogs lead to attacks on other pets and people. Feral and free roaming cats decimate wildlife and spread diseases like rabies when left unvaccinated. Pet owners who do not properly care for, train or contain their pets impact the whole community. There is a direct correlation of animal abuse and crime, and a neglected animal at a home is often linked to child abuse there also.