Over the last decade, millions of dogs and cats have been relocated from one state to another across the United States, helping to solve the overpopulation issue some regions had while finding the pets a forever home in states that have too few.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has largely invested in its “relocation” program over the last five years and so far, the organization has made 200,000 animal moves. “Animal relocation” is a solution not only to meet the demand for dogs, but also to build the capacity to help all animals.
The ASPCA is the largest organization of its kind, and the society worked with the likes of ad hoc bands of volunteers, nonprofits, and shelters like Oktibbeha County Humane Society (OCHS) to move animals around. The number of pets euthanized has drastically declined since 2011, partly thanks to these efforts, and partly because of a growing trend of choosing rescue animals over brand new puppies. In the 1990s, only 10% of dogs came from shelters, and today, that percentage has tripled. From 2009 to 2019, OCHS saw its live-release rate — the number of animals that left alive, divided by the total number that came in through the door — go from 50% to 95%, meaning that 19 pets out of 20 found a home. In 2021, the Mississippi-based shelter sent out 1,842 dogs and 844 cats with nearly two-thirds of them coming from partner organizations. “Transport transformed the lives of these animals, and the people who are dealing with these animals — because now they have some sort of hope,” says Michele Anderson, volunteer at OCHS.