Report Highlights: Americans adopted 1.9 million pets in 2020. Though pet adoption statistics indicate that the number of pets adopted is in decline, fostering has become more popular.

  • 1.1 million cats were adopted; 50.4% of them were kittens.
  • 871,296 dogs were adopted; 25.3% of them were puppies.
  • Nationwide adoptions declined 31% year-over-year (YoY) in January 2021.
  • Adoption rates among shelter animals, however, increased 8.9%, due in part to significantly lower shelter intake.
  • The foster pet population increased nearly 19% in 2020.

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Grouped Bar Graph: Annual Change in the Number of Pets Adopted, from 2017 (+14.3% among cats, +8.9% among dogs, +11.5% among all shelter animals) to the  month of 2021 (-21.3% among cats, -19.0% among dogs, and -20.3% among all shelter animals)

Annual Pet Adoption Statistics

The most recent annual data available is from 2020. Starting in March, temporary closings and reduced shelter capacity led to fewer animals entering shelters.

  • 1,923,044 pets were adopted from shelters and rescues in 2020.
  • 1,051,748 million or 54.7% of adopted pets were cats.
  • 530,580 or 50.4% of adopted cats were kittens up to 5 months old.
  • 871,296 or 45.3% of adopted pets were dogs.
  • 220,212 or 25.3% of adopted dogs were puppies up to 5 months old.
  • Adoptions declined 16.0% from 2019 to 2020.
  • Pet Adoption & COVID-19

    COVID-19 had a significant impact on adoption and fostering rates. Statistics may continue to reflect the effects for years.

    • 11 million households adopted a pet from March 13 to December 31, 2020.
    • Among people who adopted, 36% said they adopted to ease depression.
    • Nationwide adoptions declined 24% YoY from March to December 2020.
    • During that period, 31% fewer dogs and 17% fewer cats were adopted.
    • Concurrently, the foster population increased 19%.
    • 17% more dogs and 23% more cats were in foster care.
    • 12% of pets adopted during the pandemic started as fosters.
    • 37% fewer dogs and 29% fewer cats entered shelters YoY.
    Line Graph: Adoption Rates Among Shelter Animals, from 2016 (51.3% of Dogs, 55.0% of cats, and 53.0% of all shelter animals adopted) to the  month of 2021 (52.2% for dogs, 81.4% of cats, and 64.7% of all shelter animals adopted)

    Adopted Pets & Pet Owners

    As adoption becomes more appealing to pet owners, the number of shelter rescues among pets should continue to rise.

    • 43% of all pet cats were adopted from a shelter.
    • 19% of pet dogs were adopted from a shelter.
    • 14% of cat owners report having adopted at least one cat in 2020.
    • 7% provided foster care to a cat from a shelter/rescue/welfare organization.
    • 12% of dog owners report having adopted at least one dog in 2020.
    • 8% provided foster care to a dog from a shelter/rescue/welfare organization.

    For more information about animal shelters, read our report on Animal Shelter Statistics.

    Pet Adoption Costs

    Adopting a pet is significantly less expensive than purchasing one. Small animals, such as birds and rodents, can be adopted for as little as $10.

    • The average adoption fee for a cat younger than one (1) year is $86 and $57 for an adult cat.
    • The average adoption fee for a dog younger than one (1) year is $201 and $120 for an adult dog.
    • The average one-time cost for adopting a cat and purchasing supplies can range from $200 to $1,500.
    • Average one-time expenses for adopting a dog are typically higher, averaging from between $400 to $2,210.
    • By comparison, a purebred dog purchased from a breeder can cost anywhere from $500.00 to $15,000.
    • This does not include tangential costs, such as a pet deposit for rental property (which typically ranges between $120 and $600 annually).
    Initial Cost of Cat or Dog Adoption
    Expense Low-end Cost High-end Cost
    Adoption $30 $680
    Spay/Neuter Free $460
    Vaccinations Free $120
    Microchipping Free $100
    Supplies $200 $750
    License $10 $50
    Total Cost $240 $2,210

    State Pet Adoption Statistics

    Different locales are more conducive to keeping certain pets. Rural communities, for example, tend to keep more dogs than people living in urban centers. In some areas more than others, adoption is crucial to pet owners.

    • In 2020, only six (6) states saw a YoY increase in adoptions.
    • California, Texas, Florida, and Colorado led the nation in the number of pets adopted.
    • Delaware, Colorado, Idaho, and Montana adopted the most pets per capita.
    • Nebraska, Delaware, South Dakota, and North Dakota saw the largest YoY increase in the number of pets adopted.
    • California, New Mexico, Maine, and West Virginia saw the greatest YoY decline in the number of pets adopted.
    • Pet owners in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Washington are most likely to adopt cats.
    • People in the Virgin Islands, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, and Virginia are the most likely to adopt kittens.
    • Pet owners in the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Illinois are most likely to adopt puppies.
    • People in South Dakota, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are least likely to adopt cats or dogs.
    National Map
    Adoptions in 2020
    State Dogs Adopted Cats Adopted
    Alabama 14,390 11,526
    Alaska 1,340 2,492
    Arizona 41,175 28,337
    Arkansas 5,292 5,080
    California 90,156 107,485
    Colorado 32,780 38,594
    Connecticut 3,128 4,316
    Delaware 4,942 6,479
    D.C. 1,662 3,738
    Florida 68,265 87,234
    Georgia 20,961 31,941
    Hawaii 3,729 5,258
    Idaho 9,401 12,566
    Illinois 29,322 28,928
    Indiana 14,303 25,553
    Iowa 8,759 11,378
    Kansas 14,120 13,723
    Kentucky 12,995 16,362
    Louisiana 12,425 13,691
    Maine 3,139 8,196
    Maryland 9,494 16,768
    Massachusetts 7,432 12,836
    Michigan 17,412 27,132
    Minnesota 13,593 19,098
    Mississippi 6,576 5,765
    Missouri 18,801 20,574
    Montana 4,968 7,126
    Nebraska 5,806 8,853
    Nevada 12,486 13,261
    New Hampshire 2,194 5,851
    New Jersey 11,391 16,636
    New Mexico 10,205 9,555
    New York 22,507 41,525
    North Carolina 30,281 34,195
    North Dakota 1,944 2,519
    Ohio 26,164 33,106
    Oklahoma 15,348 11,938
    Oregon 10,748 22,519
    Pennsylvania 19,596 30,573
    Puerto Rico 1,175 466
    Rhode Island 2,300 2,615
    South Carolina 17,181 18,603
    South Dakota 551 869
    Tennessee 22,975 23,765
    Texas 97,095 68,980
    Utah 11,793 15,192
    Vermont 1,249 4,345
    Virginia 30,159 34,404
    Virgin Islands 462 211
    Washington 16,099 39,471
    West Virginia 3,039 4,185
    Wisconsin 16,622 33,528
    Wyoming 1,859 2,407

    Alabama Pet Adoption Statistics

    1.35% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Alabama, where people adopted 25,916 pets from shelters.

    • 11,526 or 44.5% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 5,886 or 51.1% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 14,390 or 55.5% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 3,794 or 26.4% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 14.6% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 189 people in the state.

    Alaska Pet Adoption Statistics

    0.20% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Alaska, where people adopted 3,832 pets from shelters.

    • 2,492 or 65.0% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 881 or 35.4% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 1,340 or 35.0% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 335 or 25.0% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 2.2% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 191 people in the state.

    Arizona Pet Adoption Statistics

    3.61% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Arizona, where people adopted 69,512 pets from shelters.

    • 28,337 or 40.8% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 14,872 or 52.5% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 41,175 or 59.2% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 10,091 or 24.5% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 15.0% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 105 people in the state.

    Arkansas Pet Adoption Statistics

    0.54% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Arkansas, where people adopted 10,372 pets from shelters.

    • 5,080 or 49.0% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 2,438 or 48.0% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 5,292 or 51.0% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 1,427 or 27.0% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 9.6% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 291 people in the state.

    California Pet Adoption Statistics

    10.28% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in California, where people adopted 197,641 pets from shelters.

    • 107,485 or 54.4% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 63,759 or 59.3% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 90,156 or 45.6% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 17,645 or 19.6% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 30.1% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 200 people in the state.

    Colorado Pet Adoption Statistics

    3.71% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Colorado, where people adopted 71,374 pets from shelters.

    • 38,594 or 54.1% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 19,198 or 49.7% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 32,780 or 45.9% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 7,646 or 23.3% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 8.9% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 81 people in the state.

    Connecticut Pet Adoption Statistics

    0.39% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Connecticut, where people adopted 7,444 pets from shelters.

    • 4,316 or 58.0% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 2,271 or 52.6% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 3,128 or 42.0% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 1,361 or 43.5% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 8.0% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 479 people in the state.

    Delaware Pet Adoption Statistics

    0.59% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Delaware, where people adopted 11,421 pets from shelters.

    • 6,479 or 56.7% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 2,766 or 42.7% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 4,942 or 43.3% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 443 or 9.0% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 50.5% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 62 people in the state.

    District of Columbia Pet Adoption Statistics

    0.28% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in D.C., where people adopted 5,400 pets from shelters.

    • 3,738 or 69.2% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 1,778 or 47.6% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 1,662 or 30.8% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 158 or 9.5% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 6.1% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 180 people in the district.

    Florida Pet Adoption Statistics

    8.09% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Florida, where people adopted 155,499 pets from shelters.

    • 87,234 or 56.1% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 49,986 or 57.3% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 68,265 or 43.9% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 11,668 or 17.1% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 16.1% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 138 people in the state.

    Georgia Pet Adoption Statistics

    3.25% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Georgia, where people adopted 62,409 pets from shelters.

    • 31,941 or 51.2% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 16,750 or 52.4% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 30,468 or 48.8% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 7,976 or 26.2% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 15.5% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 170 people in the state.

    Hawaii Pet Adoption Statistics

    0.47% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Hawaii, where people adopted 8,987 pets from shelters.

    • 5,258 or 58.5% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 3,353 or 63.8% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 3,729 or 41.5% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 805 or 21.6% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 7.7% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 158 people in the state.

    Idaho Pet Adoption Statistics

    1.14% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Idaho, where people adopted 21,967 pets from shelters.

    • 12,566 or 57.2% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 6,563 or 52.2% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 9,401 or 42.8% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 1,977 or 21.0% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 14.5% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 81 people in the state.

    Illinois Pet Adoption Statistics

    3.03% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Illinois, where people adopted 58,250 pets from shelters.

    • 28,928 or 49.7% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 12,841 or 44.4% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 29,322 or 50.3% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 12,087 or 41.2% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 3.6% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 218 people in the state.

    Indiana Pet Adoption Statistics

    2.07% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Indiana, where people adopted 39,856 pets from shelters.

    • 25,553 or 64.1% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 11,098 or 43.4% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 14,303 or 35.9% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 2,081 or 14.5% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 22.3% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 169 people in the state.

    Iowa Pet Adoption Statistics

    1.05% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Iowa, where people adopted 20,137 pets from shelters.

    • 11,378 or 56.5% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 4,117 or 36.2% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 8,759 or 43.5% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 1,999 or 22.8% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 0.2% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 157 people in the state.

    Kansas Pet Adoption Statistics

    1.45% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Kansas, where people adopted 27,843 pets from shelters.

    • 13,723 or 49.3% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 7,179 or 52.3% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 14,120 or 50.7% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 4,321 or 30.6% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 9.6% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 105 people in the state.

    Kentucky Pet Adoption Statistics

    1.53% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Kentucky, where people adopted 29,357 pets from shelters.

    • 16,362 or 55.7% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 9,319 or 57.0% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 12,995 or 44.3% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 4,168 or 32.1% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 22.1% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 152 people in the state.

    Louisiana Pet Adoption Statistics

    1.36% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Louisiana, where people adopted 26,116 pets from shelters.

    • 13,691 or 52.4% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 7,810 or 57.0% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 12,425 or 47.6% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 3,565 or 28.7% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 10.9% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 178 people in the state.

    Maine Pet Adoption Statistics

    0.59% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Maine, where people adopted 11,335 pets from shelters.

    • 8,196 or 72.3% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 3,385 or 41.3% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 3,139 or 27.7% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 977 or 31.1% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 27.6% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 119 people in the state.

    Maryland Pet Adoption Statistics

    1.37% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Maryland, where people adopted 26,262 pets from shelters.

    • 16,768 or 63.8% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 7,410 or 44.2% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 9,494 or 36.2% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 1,874 or 19.7% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 17.5% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 230 people in the state.

    Massachusetts Pet Adoption Statistics

    1.05% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Massachusetts, where people adopted 20,268 pets from shelters.

    • 12,836 or 63.3% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 5,365 or 41.8% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 7,432 or 36.7% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 3,071 or 41.3% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 6.4% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 340 people in the state.

    Michigan Pet Adoption Statistics

    2.32% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Michigan, where people adopted 44,544 pets from shelters.

    • 27,132 or 60.9% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 12,799 or 47.2% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 17,412 or 39.1% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 4,675 or 26.8% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 10.8% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 224 people in the state.

    Minnesota Pet Adoption Statistics

    1.70% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Minnesota, where people adopted 32,691 pets from shelters.

    • 19,098 or 58.4% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 8,543 or 44.7% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 13,593 or 41.6% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 4,569 or 33.6% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 18.5% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 173 people in the state.

    Mississippi Pet Adoption Statistics

    0.64% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Mississippi, where people adopted 12,341 pets from shelters.

    • 5,765 or 46.7% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 2,896 or 50.2% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 6,576 or 53.3% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 2,586 or 39.3% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 7.4% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 241 people in the state.

    Missouri Pet Adoption Statistics

    2.05% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Missouri, where people adopted 39,375 pets from shelters.

    • 20,574 or 52.3% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 9,993 or 48.6% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 18,801 or 47.7% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 5,526 or 29.4% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 12.0% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 156 people in the state.

    Montana Pet Adoption Statistics

    0.63% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Montana, where people adopted 12,094 pets from shelters.

    • 7,126 or 58.9% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 3,189 or 44.8% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 4,968 or 41.1% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 1,418 or 28.5% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 15.4% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 88 people in the state.

    Nebraska Pet Adoption Statistics

    0.76% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Nebraska, where people adopted 14,659 pets from shelters.

    • 8,853 or 60.4% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 3,763 or 42.5% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 5,806 or 39.6% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 1,033 or 17.8% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was up 172.7% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 132 people in the state.

    Nevada Pet Adoption Statistics

    1.34% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Nevada, where people adopted 25,747 pets from shelters.

    • 13,261 or 51.5% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 7,009 or 52.9% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 12,486 or 48.5% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 1,770 or 14.2% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 19.9% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 120 people in the state.

    New Hampshire Pet Adoption Statistics

    0.42% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in New Hampshire, where people adopted 8,045 pets from shelters.

    • 5,851 or 72.7% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 2,286 or 39.1% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 2,194 or 27.3% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 615 or 28.0% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 23.8% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 169 people in the state.

    New Jersey Pet Adoption Statistics

    1.46% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in New Jersey, where people adopted 28,027 pets from shelters.

    • 16,636 or 59.4% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 9,536 or 57.3% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 11,391 or 40.6% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 3,210 or 28.2% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 0.7% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 317 people in the state.

    New Mexico Pet Adoption Statistics

    1.03% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in New Mexico, where people adopted 19,760 pets from shelters.

    • 9,555 or 48.4% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 4,516 or 47.3% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 10,205 or 51.6% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 3,337 or 32.7% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 28.1% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 106 people in the state.

    New York Pet Adoption Statistics

    3.33% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in New York, where people adopted 64,032 pets from shelters.

    • 41,525 or 64.9% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 17,045 or 41.0% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 22,507 or 35.1% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 6,438 or 28.6% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 19.1% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 304 people in the state.

    North Carolina Pet Adoption Statistics

    3.35% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in North Carolina, where people adopted 64,476 pets from shelters.

    • 34,195 or 53.0% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 18,084 or 52.9% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 30,281 or 47.0% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 6,247 or 20.6% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 10.4% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 163 people in the state.

    North Dakota Pet Adoption Statistics

    0.23% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in North Dakota, where people adopted 4,463 pets from shelters.

    • 2,519 or 56.4% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 1,008 or 40.0% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 1,944 or 43.6% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 786 or 40.4% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was up 8.5% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 171 people in the state.

    Ohio Pet Adoption Statistics

    3.08% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Ohio, where people adopted 59,270 pets from shelters.

    • 33,106 or 55.9% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 17,529 or 52.9% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 26,164 or 44.1% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 6,919 or 26.4% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 19,2% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 197 people in the state.

    Oklahoma Pet Adoption Statistics

    1.42% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Oklahoma, where people adopted 27,286 pets from shelters.

    • 11,938 or 43.8% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 5,970 or 50.0% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 15,348 or 56.2% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 4,638 or 30.2% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 10.5% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 145 people in the state.

    Oregon Pet Adoption Statistics

    1.73% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Oregon, where people adopted 33,267 pets from shelters.

    • 22,519 or 67.7% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 11,385 or 50.6% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 10,748 or 32.3% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 1,953 or 18.2% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 25.4% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 127 people in the state.

    Pennsylvania Pet Adoption Statistics

    2.61% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Pennsylvania, where people adopted 50,169 pets from shelters.

    • 30,573 or 60.9% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 12,646 or 41.4% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 19,596 or 39.1% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 3,325 or 17.0% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 9.7% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 255 people in the state.

    Puerto Rico Pet Adoption Statistics

    0.09% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Puerto Rico, where people adopted 1,641 pets from shelters.

    • 466 or 28.4% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 293 or 62.9% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 1,175 or 71.6% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 695 or 59.1% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 34.9% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 1,946 people in the territory.

    Rhode Island Pet Adoption Statistics

    0.26% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Rhode Island, where people adopted 4,915 pets from shelters.

    • 2,615 or 53.2% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 1,048 or 40.1% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 2,300 or 46.8% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 947 or 41.2% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was up 7.1% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 216 people in the state.

    South Carolina Pet Adoption Statistics

    1.86% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in South Carolina, where people adopted 35,784 pets from shelters.

    • 18,603 or 52.0% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 11,459 or 61.6% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 17,181 or 48.0% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 5,725 or 33.3% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 21.1% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 144 people in the state.

    South Dakota Pet Adoption Statistics

    0.07% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in South Dakota, where people adopted 1,420 pets from shelters.

    • 869 or 61.2% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 365 or 42.0% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 551 or 38.8% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 120 or 21.8% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was up 26.6% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 623 people in the state.

    Tennessee Pet Adoption Statistics

    2.43% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Tennessee, where people adopted 46,740 pets from shelters.

    • 23,765 or 50.8% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 12,263 or 51.6% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 22,975 or 49.2% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 6,496 or 28.3% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 15.3% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 146 people in the state.

    Texas Pet Adoption Statistics

    8.64% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Texas, where people adopted 166,075 pets from shelters.

    • 68,980 or 41.5% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 36,725 or 53.2% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 97,095 or 58.5% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 26,922 or 27.7% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 20.4% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 175 people in the state.

    Utah Pet Adoption Statistics

    1.40% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Utah, where people adopted 26,985 pets from shelters.

    • 15,192 or 56.3% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 6,47 or 42.6% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 11,793 or 43.7% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 2,458 or 20.8% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 9.9% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 119 people in the state.

    Vermont Pet Adoption Statistics

    0.29% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Vermont, where people adopted 5,594 pets from shelters.

    • 4,345 or 77.7% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 1,834 or 42.2% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 1,249 or 22.3% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 222 or 17.8% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 19.4% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 112 people in the state.

    Virginia Pet Adoption Statistics

    3.36% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Virginia, where people adopted 64,563 pets from shelters.

    • 34,404 or 53.3% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 17,171 or 49.9% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 30,159 or 46.7% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 8,708 or 28.9% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was up 8.1% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 132 people in the state.

    Virgin Islands (U.S.) Pet Adoption Statistics

    0.03% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where people adopted 673 pets from shelters.

    • 211 or 31.4% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 158 or 74.9% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 462 or 68.6% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 307 or 66.5% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 3.4% YoY.

    Washington Pet Adoption Statistics

    2.89% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Washington, where people adopted 55,570 pets from shelters.

    • 39,471 or 71.0% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 17,585 or 44.6% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 16,099 or 29.0% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 3,099 or 19.2% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 26.8% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 137 people in the state.

    West Virginia Pet Adoption Statistics

    0.38% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in West Virginia, where people adopted 7,224 pets from shelters.

    • 4,185 or 57.9% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 2,560 or 61.2% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 3,039 or 42.1% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 697 or 22.9% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 27.2% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 248 people in the state.

    Wisconsin Pet Adoption Statistics

    2.61% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Wisconsin, where people adopted 50,150 pets from shelters.

    • 33,528 or 66.9% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 14,371 or 42.9% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 16,622 or 33.1% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 4,810 or 28.9% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 9.4% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 116 people in the state.

    Wyoming Pet Adoption Statistics

    0.22% of nationwide pet adoptions in 2020 were in Wyoming, where people adopted 4,266 pets from shelters.

    • 2,407 or 56.4% of adopted pets were cats.
    • 1,049 or 43.6% of adopted cats were kittens under 5 months old.
    • 1,859 or 43.6% of adopted pets were dogs.
    • 482 or 25.9% of adopted dogs were puppies under 5 months old.
    • The number of adoptions was down 8.1% YoY.
    • One (1) pet was adopted for every 136 people in the state.
    National Map: Change in Number of Adoptions from 2019 to 2020

    Pet Adoption Reduces Euthanasia

    Logically, if shelter animals are adopted at higher rates, fewer of them will need to be euthanized due to lack of resources.

    • 25% of shelter animals are euthanized.
    • 90% of euthanized animals are adoptable.
    • 10% of dogs born find a permanent home.
    • For more information about shelter animal euthanasia, read our report on Animal Euthanasia Statistics.

      Pet Adoption Fights Unethical Dealers

      Pet adoption not only helps fund animal rescue centers, but it also reduces demand for unethical animal supply chains and commercial breeders that are often called “puppy mills” or “kitten mills.” The desire for a certain breed often motivates buyers.

      • 4 of the 10 most popular dog breeds are also among the dogs found most frequently in shelters.
      • An estimated 25% of dogs in animal shelters are purebred (this cannot be confirmed without genetic testing).
      • Dog breeds most commonly smuggled into the U.S. include Chihuahuas, Poodles, and French Bulldogs.
      • Animal shelters take in specialty animals that include (but are not limited to) sugar gliders, ball pythons, pot belly pigs, sugar gliders, turtles, and fish.
      • Rabbits are the third-most abandoned animals in shelters.
      • The animal smuggling industry generates $20 billion annually, an unknown amount of which comes from exotic pet purchases.
      • Wildlife smuggling is the third-most profitable illegal trade worldwide.
      • A live lear macaw is worth up to $90,000 on the black market.
      • 31 states in the U.S. have little-to-no legislation regarding exotic animals kept as pets.

      Pet Adoption Fights Puppy Mills

      While there is no one official definition of a puppy mill, a U.S. district court defined puppy mills as “dog breeding operation[s] in which the health of the dogs is disregarded in order to maintain a low overhead and maximize profits.”[1]

      • 90% of pet store puppies are born in puppy mills.
      • 4.3 million puppies born in mills each year.
      • 2.6 million mill puppies make it to pet stores and brokers.
      • As many as 1.7 million mill puppies die before they can be sold.
      • Americans adopted 220,212 puppies last year – roughly one-tenth the number of mill puppies sold.
      • 40% of known puppy mills on the Humane Society’s annual Horrible Hundred list are repeat offenders.[2]
      • 53% of HH listed mills are USDA licensed to sell dogs to pet stores.
      • A puppy sold in a pet store generates between $500 and $3,000 in profit for the commercial pet industry.

      Signs of a Puppy Mill

      Some pet owners falsely believe their animals to be rescues. Mill puppies may also be “adopted” through classified ads, online, at flea markets, bizarres, and roadside stands. Seemingly legitimate groups may provide bogus “certifications.””

      • Puppy mill sellers and brokers may attempt to pass off their dog-breeding operations as an animal rescue organization.
      • At least 15% of Horrible Hundred puppy mills are registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC).
      • Legitimate breeders never sell puppies under six (6) weeks old.
      • Real breeders do not use pressure sales tactics.

      Red Flags Online

      Legitimate breeders generally don’t sell their animals online. Unscrupulous breeders will post multiple ads, usually under different names and/or with conflicting information.

      • Google the phone number or other contact information for the person selling the puppy. If they are not a reputable breeder they will likely use multiple advertisements or venues to sell their dogs.
      • Copy+paste text from the breeder’s website into a web browser. If it appears elsewhere on the internet, check to see if it’s on a duplicate site or ad.
      • Check to see if photos of dogs appear elsewhere online. Right click on the image and “search Google for image” to find duplicate ads or stock photos.

      Red Flags in Person

      Any reputable breeder will be able to demonstrate that their dogs do not come from a mill.

      • Insist on meeting the dog or puppy in the home or kennel where they were born and raised. A responsible breeder will gladly answer your questions and arrange for you to meet the puppy more than once to make sure you are compatible.
      • Ask to meet the parents. If the puppies’ mother is not present, or the dog that’s presented as their mother does not interact with the puppies, the puppy likely was not bred there.
      • Note questions the breeder asks. A responsible breeder will likely ask you many questions to be sure you are going to give their puppy a good home. Some will not release their dogs without performing a background check on the would-be purchaser.
      • Request the animal’s full medical history. Do not agree to have them forward this to you later. If a breeder lacks any paperwork or certificates for puppy vaccinations, worming, microchips, or veterinarian check-up, they do not properly care for their animals. If a breeder seems dismissive or unconcerned about any health issues you might see in the puppy or tries to tell you they are typical for that breed of dog, walk away.
      States with the Worst Known Puppy Mills
      State Horrible Hundred Mills Inspection Mandates
      Missouri 21 listed, 10 repeat offenders State inspections reduced (COVID-19)
      Ohio 16 listed, 8 repeat offenders State regularly inspects commercial breeders
      Iowa 11 listed, 3 repeat offenders State regularly inspects commercial breeders
      Pennsylvania 8 listed, 6 repeat offenders State regularly inspects commercial breeders
      Nebraska 8 listed, 6 repeat offenders State regularly inspects commercial breeders
      Kansas 7 listed, 3 repeat offenders State regularly inspects commercial breeders
      New York 7 listed, 4 repeat offenders State regularly inspects commercial breeders
      Indiana 6 listed, 0 repeat offenders State inspects complaints only
      Georgia 5 listed, 3 repeat offenders State regularly inspects commercial breeders
      Illinois 4 listed, 1 repeat offender State inspects complaints only

      Puppy Mill Case Study: The Nebraska Disterhaupts

      Sandhills Kennel in Stuart, Nebraska, is a commercial breeder that has multiple violations with state inspectors. Recently, an inspector could not complete an inspection due to alleged assault by owner Clem L. Disterhaupt. According to the official report: “Inspector was unsafe and had to leave the facility […] Clem grabbed the camera”.[2]

      Citing filthy flooring and no veterinary plan, state inspectors found issues at Sandhills Kennel twice in February 2021. This is not the only Disterhaupt-owned operation with repeated violations. Clem Disterhaupt, Jr owns and operates the unlicensed Ponca Creek Kennels in Spencer, Nebraska. Ponca Creek was officially called “unacceptable” during a January 2021 inspection that found more than 225 dogs and puppies, some sickly and lethargic with open sores.

      Sandhills advertises multiple breeds and designer dogs, which is not typical of legitimate breeders. Included among their breeds are “Bernese Mountain Dogs, Bernadoodles, Sheepadoodles, and Party Poodles!” according to their digital ads. Sandhills is USDA licensed and sells dogs online at PuppyFind.com, a website the Humane Society has repeatedly found to host ads from problem breeders.

      For more information about puppy mills, read our report on Puppy Mill Statistics.

      Sources

  1. Avenson v. Zegart, 577 F. Supp. 958 – Dist. Court, Minnesota 1984
  2. The Humane Society’s Horrible Hundred 2021
  3. Shelter Animals Count Data Dashboards
  4. 24Pet® ShelterWatch Report: COVID-19 Impact
  5. Mars Petcare, Pets in a Pandemic: Better Cities for Pets 2020 Report
  6. Sentient Media, Puppy Mills: Millions of Dogs Suffer Needlessly to Create Pets
  7. CQ Researcher, Wildlife Smuggling
  8. Humane Society, The Business of Dog Smuggling and How it Works
  9. Animal Humane Society, Adoption Fees
  10. U.S. News and World Report, Costs to Consider When Adopting a Pet
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