Rescuing a Dog from a Shelter is Better for Society

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Updated: Mar 31, 2023
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34% of pet owners obtained their pets from breeders, and 23% obtained them from an animal shelter or humane Society (ASPCA). Those numbers need to change. The rate of how many pets are obtained from shelters needs to be much higher in comparison to the number of pets obtained through breeders. Rescuing a dog from a shelter, rather than buying a full breed, is better for Society as a whole. There are many numbers to back up why adopting is the better option when buying a dog. Also, many effects are caused by getting dogs that are not spayed or neutered from breeders, as well as the overpopulation of dogs which then leads to many euthanizations. There are also a lot of potential struggles that come along with trying to adopt. That is changing, though. There are steps that can be taken to fix these issues. These effects, caused by buying full breeds, are not small. They are completely detrimental to Society as a whole.

Since 2011 the number of euthanizations that have taken place has drastically lowered (ASPCA). Due to more advertisements and social media, which influence so many people, the truth about pet adoption and breeding has been brought to light. Sadly, there are no “…animal care and control agencies…uniformly required to keep statistics on the number of animals taken in, adopted, and euthanized or reclaimed” (American Humane Society). That means all of the statistics that are used are approximate estimations and are not ever pinpointed. Although many shelters take the extra steps to keep track of these things, not all shelters do, which skews all statistics that have been collected. It is possible to gather a general idea, or close number, of these things tough with just a small amount of research.

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“5 in 10 dogs…in shelters are euthanized simply because there is no one to adopt them” (Humane Society for Shelter Pets). That is 50% of dogs who have no choice but to die because there is no one to adopt them because those people who could have potentially done so bought a full breed instead. By those people buying full breeds, which 25% of all full breeds end up in shelters (Human Society for Shelter Pets), they take away the life and opportunities for many other shelter dogs. “The number of dogs and cats euthanized in U.S. shelters annually has declined…” from 2.6 million in 2011 to 1.5 million today (ASPCA). The bright side of all of these issues with adopting is that the number of negative outcomes has drastically lowered. If Society keeps up to date on the current issues having to do with pet adoption, the problem of overpopulation leading to euthanizing could almost completely go away. Even though approximately 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted (ASPCA), too many dogs get euthanized.

Cost also can have a part in choosing whether or not to adopt. “Buying a pet can easily cost $500 to$1,000 or more. Adoption costs range from $50 to $200” (Best Friends). The adoption cost includes them being spayed/neutered, boarding, and initial grooming. While the full breed price is just simply for the dog, not all of the other things are required to take the dog home safely. Getting a potentially mixed-breed dog would make the most sense if money was a part of one’s decision-making process. Full breeds also come along with other health issues that mixed breeds don’t. These issues come with a price, though. For example, Germain Sheppard’s that are full-bred often have very bad hip problems.

Where mixed breeds of Germain Sheppards could not have any hip problems at all, medical issues, like hip problems, can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars to correct and could potentially lead to the premature death of a said dog. Many owners of dogs like this, Germain Sheppard’s, are not willing to pay all of the money required to care for them as these problems arise when the dog gets older. They are unable to take the steps needed to extend its life. This leads to many dogs being put down as they say, really, they mean euthanized prematurely. This problem could have been eliminated entirely if the ones who bought the full breed had gotten a mixed breed. They would have had a lower starting cost to obtain the dog and would have had lower maintenance costs later in their lives.

“The average cost of basic food, supplies, medical care, and training for a dog is $400 to $700 annually” (Petfinder). Those prices, on top of the $500-1,000 (Best Friends) to take home the full breed, adds up to $900 to $1,700 in the first year of owning the pet. Those numbers do not take into count the spay or neuter operation cost either. While the upkeep cost added to the $50 to $200 (Best Friends) of a rescue only adds up to $450 to $900 in the first year, those prices reflect the operation cost of spaying or neutering as well. The most cost-effective and ethical decision to make when obtaining a dog is to adopt. By doing so, you will be helping to solve the overpopulation problem that is occurring in shelters everywhere, including saving yourself some extra cash.

Along with buying these full breeds, most of them are not spayed or neutered. Dogs are made to mate, and if the not spayed or neutered dog gets loose from their owner, it could easily mate with another dog in the area that is not fixed as well. They can get pregnant without you even knowing or without that being the owners’ Intentions. Most of the stories that I have heard that is the case where the dog got out and came back and was pregnant. By an owner not taking the proper precautionary steps and not having enough room for 6-8 new puppies. Those puppies can be either left out for the streets by their owners, which they will then end up dead or in the shelter, or they will just be taken to the shelter by those owners.

Either way, the unplanned puppies will end up in the shelter with no home. Spaying or neutering your dog is a very easy fix, as American Humane says, “American Humane supports the establishment and operation of low-cost spay/neuter clinics.” They also say, “The reduction in cost motivates those who cannot and those who will not pay the full cost for the operation and has proven successful in reducing euthanasia rates in communities across the nation” (American Humane). All of that being said, full breed dog or rescue one needs to always make sure their dogs are spayed or neutered.

Having a dog that is not spayed or neutered leads to the overpopulation of dogs, which is reflected in shelters. Every shelter has a limit as to how many dogs they can hold. Those spots fill up fast when liters of puppies are brought in every day because they were found in someone’s neighborhood. Dogs do not always show that they are pregnant, and without the owners knowing they have been impregnated, they may think nothing of it. For instance, say someone owns a dog named Lucy, who is three years old and done growing. Lucy’s owners’ neighbors have a male dog named Rex. Neither Lucy nor Rex has been spayed or neutered, and they often are outside together at the same time. Without Either of the dog’s owners knowing they mated, Lucy is now pregnant with a litter of puppies. Lucy’s owners noticed nothing, and when Lucy was outside one day, she gave birth and now these puppies are outside.

Since Lucy had just given birth, she spent more time outside with her puppies to nurse them and her owners had no suspicions. Lucy’s puppies were found by some officers one day when Lucy was not with them, and now her whole liter had been taken to the pound. A simple, not intentional mistake came from the owners of Rex and Lucy not choosing to spay or neuter their dogs. Every litter is about 6-8 puppies, so if this instance happens three times a day, that is 24 puppy spots that have been taken away from a single shelter. Hunt says, “The only answer is to spay and neuter. Pet overpopulation is an overwhelming problem, and the only way to stop it is by reducing population… Society’s answer (to reducing population) has been to reduce population on the back end – i.e., killing” (Hunt).

Due to many breeders over-breeding their dogs and not finding homes for them all, these access dogs are turned into shelters. Having all of these new, full-breed dogs turned in causes an overpopulation of dogs. According to, “25% of dogs that enter local shelters are purebred,” and “Only 10% of the animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered,” many of which were from breeders. That 10% could have created up to 3 or 4 liters of 6-8 puppies each, which would just raise the overpopulation rate. All of these new puppies are coming in the lead to 56% of all dogs which enter a shelter being euthanized (American Humane). Not only do unexpected liters enter the shelter every day, but lost pets that have gotten away from their owners as well. 6% of the animals that enter shelters come in as stays. Of that 6%, 620,000 are returned to their owners (ASPCA). That means 15.8% are successfully returned to their owners (American Humane)

American Humane offers solutions to help reduce the euthanasia number. Those things include making sure your pet has identification tags, keeping the license for them up to date, putting temporary tags on when moving, and also considering getting them microchipped. All of these precautionary measures do come with a price tag, but they could help to keep your dog out of the shelter and better ensure that they will be returned to you if they are taken to the shelter. On average, “2.4 adoptable dogs are euthanized every year – that’s a life every 13 seconds” (Hunt). Taking the proper steps of spaying and neutering your pets and keeping all of their required paperwork and tags up to date will help to save many lives by reducing the overpopulation of dogs in animal shelters. By reducing the overpopulation of dogs in shelters, fewer social expectations are placed on people to get a dog even when people aren’t ready for one.

Adopting a dog is not always the easiest task to complete. Unreasonable requests are made by adoption agencies, at times, for someone to simply adopt a dog. Washington states a relatable story for this struggle which is as follows. “Bershadker and his family wanted an adult dog that was good with kids and other animals. An ASPCA staff member in Texas found a perfect match,’ he recalled — but even then, Bershadker had to travel to Texas to interview with the group before adopting Tarzan, a Labrador mix, in 2016” (Washington Post).

This is just one of many examples of an unreasonable request made to simply adopt a dog. Though this may commonly be an excuse as to why someone wouldn’t adopt a pet, it is very avoidable. Many organizations like ASPCA are pushing for open adoption policy which takes down the huddle some may have to jump over. The philosophy they justify open adoption with is, “most people are good people, particularly people who are walking into a shelter or a rescue group to save a life” (Washington Post).

As a society, many things can be done to solve this problem, which includes doing our research, opening our hearts, and opening our homes. Doing your research entails choosing the best dog for you and your family and one that will work best for your lifestyle. Opening our hearts means that we need to take more chances on the shelter dogs because they need you to love more than full breeds need. And opening our homes means being patient with your new dog in their adjustment into your home. Many times, people who do adopt end up returning the dog soon after due to a lack of patience.

Along with the steps taken by those newly obtaining dogs, those who already own a dog can help as well. Taking extra precautionary steps to ensure your dog stays safe and will be returned to you if lost is one. Another is to make sure your pet is spayed or neutered. By taking these steps as a community, we can keep more dogs out of shelters and keep them in our homes.

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There are many reasons why purchasing a rescue dog is better than purchasing a full-breed dog. Purchasing a rescue dog helps to decrease the overpopulation in shelters. Many other factors of buying a full-breed dog increase the amount of overpopulation in shelters, not spayed or neutered dogs, and wrongful overbreeding of dogs for personal profit. Also, purchasing a full breed instead of a rescue takes away the opportunity of lowering the overpopulation in shelters.

So, in conclusion, the best thing for Society is to adopt a dog. By keeping up with your current pet’s needs and taking all the precautionary measures, fewer dogs will be entering the shelter. Also, simply making a choice to adopt instead of buying a full breed will tremendously help aid in lowering the euthanasia numbers. Ensuring your dog is also spayed or neutered as well, whether or not it is a shelter dog or a full breed, will keep more dogs out of the shelters. Keeping as many dogs out of the shelter as possible lessens the social responsibility of owning a dog that some may not truly be ready for.

Works Cited

  1. American Humane Society. “Animal Shelter Euthanasia.” 25 August 2016,,
  2. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “Shelter Intake and Surrender”, Accessed 9 February 2019,
  3., “Reasons to Adopt a Pet.”, Accessed 10 February 2019,
  4. Greenwood, Arin “Millions of dogs need homes. Why is it sometimes hard to adopt one?” 2, February 2018,,
  5. Hunt, Heather. “The Ugly Truth About Animal Shelters.”, 5 June 2019,
  6. Humane Society for shelter pets. “Facts and Statistics about Pet Shelters.” Humane Society for Shelter Pets Accessed 3 February 2019,
  7. Petfinder. “Facts About Animal Sheltering.”, Accessed 3 February 2019,
  8. Svatava Vitulová, et al. “Behaviour of Dogs Adopted from an Animal Shelter.” Acta Veterinaria Brno, Vol 87, Iss 2, Pp 155-163 (2018), no. 2, 2018, p. 155. EBSCOhost, doi:10.2754/avb201887020155.

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Rescuing a Dog from a Shelter is Better for Society. (2023, Mar 31). Retrieved from