The ASPCA estimates that there are currently about 13,600 independently operating animal shelters throughout the United States.
Why so many?
Every year, 5 - 7 MILLION cats and dogs enter our nation's shelters. That's like saying that one cat or dog enters a shelter somewhere in America about every 6 seconds. 24 hours a day. 365 days a year.
Some of these shelters are "no-kill", where pets will be cared for no matter how long it takes to find them a home. Others are not.
Of the 5 - 7 million cats and dogs that enter American shelters every year, about half are lucky enough to be adopted into loving new homes. The other half, sadly, are euthanized "for space," to provide an empty cage to the next dogs or cats unfortunate enough to find themselves homeless. As difficult as it may be to imagine, even precious, cuddly puppies and kittens regularly find themselves among the unfortunate 50% who never find homes.
Having your pets spayed or neutered "nips the problem in the bud" by preventing puppies and kittens from being born unexpected, unintended, and unwanted in the first place.