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Massive Drop in Adoption Threatens to Spike Dog Euthanasia in the U.S.

MSPCA-Angell Aims to Place 2,500 Dogs into New Homes by End of Summer

BOSTON, Mass., May 31, 2023 – An unfolding crisis driven by a steep drop in adopters, economic instability, and a nationwide veterinary staff shortage has resulted in an overpopulation of dogs living in U.S. shelters that are now at high-risk of euthanasia, according to the MSPCA-Angell.

According to Shelter Animals Count, which tracks animal shelter data across the country, dog euthanasia jumped 39% last year—from 93,697 in 2021 to 129,850 in 2022—and early data from this year suggest the upward trend is continuing.

In response, the MSPCA has announced an ambitious goal of placing 2,500 dogs—a mix of local stray and surrendered dogs, as well as those who will be transported to Massachusetts—into adoptive homes by the fall through a series of special adoption events, the first of which is scheduled for the second week of June.

For the MSPCA’s adoption campaign to be successful, the 142 dogs already bunking down in the organization’s adoption centers in Boston, Methuen, Salem, and Centerville on Cape Cod need to be placed in homes as soon as possible.

Placing Local Dogs in Loving Homes to Make Room for New Arrivals

“We’re already taking in 10% more dogs in 2023 versus the same period last year because of an increase in owner surrenders, and we must find creative solutions to ensure these pets have a safe place to go,” said Mike Keiley, MSPCA-Angell director of adoption centers and programs.

“This crisis is even forcing many shelters that receive transported pets to pause those relocations because they are at or over capacity,” he added.

Keiley believes that the trends impacting euthanasia in the last two years have carried forward into 2023.  “Without action from the MSPCA and others, as many as 150,000 dogs—or more—could be at risk this year.”

Sounding the Alarm: Adopters Needed Now!

The MSPCA’s dog-specific housing is currently at 90% capacity, which, according to Keiley, means it is imperative to identify local adopters as quickly as possible.

“We’ll be holding a series of special dog adoption events throughout the summer to encourage people to adopt at a time when adoptions tend to slow down,” he said.

The MSPCA expects to hold three dog-specific adoption events across all four adoption centers throughout June, July and August.  More details about the events can be found at

“It’s critical that we’re able to find homes for the dogs in our care so we can help  partner shelters save more dogs who would otherwise face euthanasia,” added Keiley.

Those who would like to donate to help offset the cost of caring for the more than 140 dogs currently in the MSPCA’s care and help the organization transport more dogs to Massachusetts may do so at