Merritt Clifton, Editor at Animal People recently shared some pertinent information about the number of pit bulls in shelters and their ultimate disposition. I think it bears repeating because it refutes the idea that "BSL" is somehow to blame for all the pit bull deaths.
The current U.S. pit bull population is about 3.2 million, and it has been about three million for about 10 years now, according to the annual ANIMAL PEOPLE surveys of classified ads offering dogs for sale or adoption. About one million pit bulls per year enter animal shelters, about two-thirds surrendered by their keepers, most of the rest impounded for dangerous behavior. Most of these dogs have already been through three homes -- their birth home, the home that bought them, and a subsequent pass-along home, before they arrive at shelters.
An average of just over 900,000 pit bulls per year over the past 10 years have been killed in shelters after flunking behavioral screening, with a peak of 967,000, a low of 835,000, and 910,000 killed last year. This is about 60% of all the dogs killed in U.S. shelters today, up from about 50% in 2003. The average age of pit bulls killed in animal shelters is about 18 months. So what we have at any given time is a third of the pit bull population having not yet reached maturity, a third (at most) in homes they will still occupy at the end of the year, and a third flunking out of homes and being killed -- which translates into a 50% failure rate among adult dogs in homes each & every year. Among all other dog breeds combined, about 5% enter shelters each year.
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