Animal shelters that take in the most dogs and cats in every state
From animals found as strays, surrendered by owners unable to care for them, or rescued from unsafe living conditions, the statistics on homeless pets in the United States are staggering. According to Best Friends Animal Society, which runs the largest no-kill sanctuary for animals in the nation, about 5.3 million cats and dogs end up in shelters across the country every year. Of those, 4.1 million are adopted and about 733,000 are euthanized. While those numbers are lower than in previous years, many shelters still operate at full capacity regularly, and animal rescue organizations continue to work tirelessly to reduce the number of homeless animals, as well as provide community outreach and assistance to pets in need.
Most adoption facility fees include spay/neuter procedures and basic vaccines, and some shelters offer reduced fees or free adoptions of senior pets or animals considered more difficult to adopt. People unable to adopt may contribute by donating to their local humane society, fostering, or volunteering their time to assist with the daily care of shelter pets. Many shelters operate as nonprofits, relying on help and donations from their communities to continue their mission to save homeless pets.
Using statistics and information collected by Best Friends Animal Society, Stacker has created a list of the no-kill animal shelters that took in the most animals in every state in 2018. Best Friends Animal Society's database is the culmination of a two-year effort involving outreach to every shelter in America, extensive research, data analysis, and technology development. The facilities on this list are dedicated to helping homeless pets find their new families, and they not only provide adoption and fostering services, but also offer community resources, such as discounts on spaying and neutering; training classes; and education. The information collected is from Best Friends Animal Society’s dashboard, which consists of self-reported information provided to the society using its save-rate calculation.
Here, check out which shelter takes in the most animals in your state.
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Alaska: Juneau Animal Rescue
- Pets taken in (2018): 590
Located in Alaska’s capital city, Juneau, Animal Rescue took in nearly 600 animals in 2018. Adoptions include spay/neutering, microchip, deworming, vaccines, and training information. Contact information for adoptions or donating to the shelter can be found at www.juneauanimalrescue.org.
Alabama: City of Huntsville Animal Services
- Pets taken in (2018): 5,160
Huntsville Animal Services is a city-run shelter, taking in upwards of 10 animals a day on a regular basis. During peak housing times, the shelter often offers adoption specials with minimal or no fees. All adoptions include spay/neuter, rabies vaccine, and a city pet license. Information on adoption and foster services can be found at www.huntsvilleal.gov.
Arkansas: Cabot Animal Shelter
- Pets taken in (2018): 3,162
Arkansas’ Cabot Animal Shelter took in just over 3,100 pets in 2018. Of those, the shelter maintains a “live release” (adoption/foster) rate of about 97% to 99%, only euthanizing when health issues require it or overcrowding at the shelter exceeds the number it can house humanely. Information on adoption and fostering can be found on the Cabot website.
Arizona: Maricopa County Animal Care and Control
- Pets taken in (2018): 28,376
Maricopa County Animal Care and Control, which has offices in Phoenix and Mesa, took in more than 28,000 pets in 2018. In addition to adoption and foster services, the organization offers low-cost vaccine clinics, spaying and neutering, and pet licensing. For the past two years, Maricopa County has joined forces with the Phoenix Police Department for the “Police and Paws” adoption event, during which officers help walk dogs and get them ready for adoption. Activities include games, vendors, and a kissing booth of an adoptable dog. Adoption fees are waived for dogs adopted during the event.
California: San Jose Animal Care And Services
- Pets taken in (2018): 16,825
San Jose Animal Care and Services not only takes in dogs and cats, but also small animals like rabbits and guinea pigs. Adoption fees can vary from $5 to $135, based on type of animal, adoptability, and age. All fees include spay/neuter, microchipping, and a one-year pet license. More information is available at www.sanjoseanimals.com.
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Colorado: Humane Society of Boulder Valley
- Pets taken in (2018): 6,097
Since its founding in 1902, the Humane Society of Boulder Valley has taken in thousands of pets each year, with an open-admission policy that provides care to any animal brought to the shelter. Adoption fees vary depending on age, size, behavior, and health, and each adoption includes a new collar, microchip, spay/neuter, vaccines, and a free exam by local participating veterinary clinics. Adoption information can be found at www.boulderhumane.org.
Connecticut: Danbury Animal Welfare Society, Inc.
- Pets taken in (2018): 693
Connecticut’s Danbury Animal Welfare Society (DAWS) took in nearly 700 animals in 2018, the majority of which were adopted out that same year. Located in Bethel, Connecticut, they also host an annual fundraiser “Walk for Animals,” now in its 30th year, with proceeds going toward programs and services for the shelter. For more information on their adoption services and programs, go to www.daws.org.
Delaware: Brandywine Valley SPCA
- Pets taken in (2018): 8,006
The Brandywine Valley SPCA, which has shelters in New Castle and Georgetown, Delaware, as well as in Pennsylvania, provides care for several thousand animals each year. In addition to adoptions, the shelters offer low-cost spay and neuter clinics, vaccines, food assistance, and pet boarding. In January 2019, Brandywine opened its Animal Rescue Center in Georgetown, an 11,500-square-foot facility with room for up to 250 animals. For more information on Brandywine SPCA, go to www.bvspca.org.
Florida: Jacksonville Humane Society
- Pets taken in (2018): 8,865
The Jacksonville Humane Society is a nonprofit, no-kill shelter, and took in close to 9,000 animals in 2018. Adoption fees include spaying or neutering, vaccines, microchips, and heartworm testing. The shelter hosts a yearly “Toast to the Animals” fundraiser featuring live music, food, a silent auction, and a raffle for prizes, with the proceeds going toward veterinary care for shelter pets, as well as help for animals in life-threatening situations. Information on the shelter and adoptions can be found at www.jaxhumane.org.
Georgia: Atlanta Humane Society
- Pets taken in (2018): 11,554
In addition to its main location in Atlanta, the Atlanta Humane Society has offices in the cities of Alpharetta and Duluth. All three facilities have pet adoption centers, and the Atlanta location also has a veterinary center. Adoption fees vary, and there is a special “Plus One” adoption service in which adoption fees for a highly adoptable pet include the option to take a harder-to-adopt animal, as well. Information on all three offices can be found at www.atlantahumane.org
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