Last updated: 24 Nov, 2020
Published on: 21 Oct, 2020
The numbers: pets killed in pounds
What we can estimate from the current data:
100,000 pets killed in pounds annually include:
60,000 cats+ (this number is currently being re-estimated upward)
These estimates are derived from the following published studies investigating data available on the pound and shelter intake in Australia:
Chua D, Rand J, Morton J. Surrendered and Stray Dogs in Australia-Estimation of Numbers Entering Municipal Pounds, Shelters and Rescue Groups and Their Outcomes. Read it here.
Rand, Jacquie & Mortlock, Miranda. (2013). The Unwanted Dog and Cat Problem in Australia An estimation of pound and shelter admissions and outcomes. Read it here.
Accurate data is crucially important for understanding the issues surrounding animal management in Australia, but accurate recording and reporting of pets entering and leaving council pounds and shelters is not mandated in most states.
This makes it incredibly difficult for those working in the animal welfare sector to comprehensively assess the needs or effectiveness of programs aimed at supporting vulnerable pets in our communities.
Although some councils are apprehensive about transparency and accountability, others have seen transparency create an engaged and a united community working together for improved community-wide animal welfare - better data, better outcomes.
What’s happening in data 2020?
Dr Diane Chua is currently undertaking research to gauge the numbers of unowned and surrendered cats and kittens entering the pound and rescue system in Australia with PetRescue providing insights on previously unrecorded cat intake data by Australian rescue group members.
PetRescue has joined Mars Petcare Australia in lobbying the Government to mandate council pound data reporting with a goal of improving data collection and availability and increase transparency and accountability.
Other useful data sources
NSW Pound Data report 19/20 (NSW is the only state that gathers and reports pound data annually)
RSPCA Annual reports by state (available on RSPCA state websites)
Image credits: Benjamin and Chloe from Precious Paws Animal Rescue