Aug 30, 2023 - Things to Do

Euthanasia on the rise amid overcrowding at Charlotte animal shelters

Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

So far in 2023, CMPD’s Animal Care & Control euthanized 877 dogs and cats, per the center’s data.

That’s as of Aug. 21. On top of that, the shelter had an additional 91 owner-requested euthanasias — which refers to when pet owners bring animals into the shelter because they can’t afford to take them to the vet to be euthanized.

  • The number of euthanasias at the shelter this year is up from 824 during the same period last year and 575 in 2021, per AC&C.

Why it matters: Charlotte mirrors a national trend. Animal intakes at both public and private shelters nationwide are expected to reach a three-year high this year, and adoptions or returns to owners are not keeping pace, Axios’ Carrie Shepherd reported.

  • Nationally, about 51,000 dogs were euthanized from January to July 2023, a 37% increase from 2022, when about 37,000 dogs were euthanized during that same period, according to the Shelter Animals Count database (SAC).

State of play: Nationally, more dogs than cats are coming into shelters in many major cities, driven largely by an increase in strays, according to SAC. In Charlotte, the number of stray dogs coming in hasn’t slowed since 2021, Axios Charlotte’s Alex Sands reported this spring.

  • A pause in spay and neuter surgeries during pandemic restrictions is also increasing the animal population in some cities.
  • What’s more, summer is the AC&C’s busiest time of year. It’s “kitten season,” when litters are born at higher rates.
  • This year, adoption rates have plunged, as the Charlotte Ledger reported recently.

What they’re saying: In response to a speaker asking about shelter overcrowding at a recent city council meeting, Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles said that the city is in “the advanced planning stages for a new AC&C shelter facility,” Queen City Nerve reported.

  • Plans for the facility will come in front of council soon, the outlet reported.

Between the lines: The current situation at Charlotte’s animal shelters is a far cry from 2020, which was “the best year for pet adoptions in the shelter’s history,” Alex wrote. People were staying home more, and they were eager for companionship.

  • That year, the shelter achieved “no-kill” status, meaning it had an animal save rate of 90%. The center hasn’t achieved the status since.
  • AC&C is also currently renovating its building and has had 50 fewer kennels since June.

The big picture: Charlotte’s pet population has soared since then just as the human population has. Kennel space continues to dwindle, which is why CMPD’s AC&C has implored the community to consider adopting or fostering cats and dogs.

Photo courtesy of CMPD’s Animal Care & Control


Data: Shelter Animals Count; Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

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