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Dog Shortage? Availability of Shelter Dogs at All-Time Low, Study Finds

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Each year, 2.6 million dogs are adopted.

ORLANDO, FL — The supply of dogs in animal shelters is at an all-time low, even as demand for pet canines increases, according to a new study.

Shelters take in 5.5 million dogs a year, and 2.6 million are adopted, researchers at the College of Veterinary Medicine for Mississippi State found. Another 969,000 are returned to their owners, while 778,000 are transferred and 776,000 are euthanized, a press release from the Pet Leadership Council explains.

“When you consider that it’s estimated as many as 20 million dogs were euthanized a year in the 1970’s, it’s truly astounding to see how effective the efforts of shelters and the responsible pet industry have proven,” said Bob Vetere, chairman of the council. “We believe this new research demonstrating the progress we have made will inspire an increasingly strong demand for and focus on efforts to ensure responsible breeding and opportunity to meet the growing desire for dogs in our country.”

Pet Leadership Council states that the results of the study, coupled with a 2015 survey on sources of where people get their dogs conducted by the Moore Research Group, demonstrate a continued and significant need for responsibly bred dogs.

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According to the Moore study, Americans own roughly 89 million dogs. With the average lifespan of a dog being 11 years, this indicates a need for 8.1 million dogs per year just to maintain current levels of ownership, according to the press release. With 2.6 million dogs being adopted from shelters each year and fewer being transferred or euthanized, that means millions more must come from other sources, the Pet Leadership Council states.

The results were announced this week at the North American Veterinary Community Conference in Orlando. The study was overseen by the Animal Policy Group and funded by the Pet Leadership Council.

The Washington Post notes that the MSU study “suggests that euthanasia estimates by the Humane Society of the United States and the No Kill Advocacy Center, both of which estimate that about 2.5 million animals are killed in shelters each year, may be based in large part on animals other than dogs.”

“This new data from MSU will be especially helpful for shelters to design more specific strategies to continue to reduce the homeless dog population,” said Ed Sayres, Pet Leadership Council consultant and former ASPCA President of 10 years. 

Mike Bober, president of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council and consultant to the Pet Leadership Council, said the new study will “have a significant impact on the national conversation about responsible pet ownership.”

“Without this concrete data as a starting point, it has been all but impossible to discuss solutions because we couldn’t agree on the scope of the problem,” he said. “This data also provides valuable information for those contemplating legislation that impacts the availability of dogs in their communities.”

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State Bill Would Ban Pet Leasing

A few other states already have similar laws.

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A proposed law in Connecticut would ban the practice of pet leasing.

The legislation seeks to outlaw leases in which the new pet owners accept high interest rates and believe they are agreeing to a payment plan, the Connecticut Post reports.

Such agreements open the possibility of the pet being repossessed at a later date, according to the publication.

The state Senate approved the ban last week. The proposed legislation will now be considered in the state House.

Bob Duff, a Democrat serving as Senate majority leader, said: “As a pet owner myself, I could never imagine leasing a pet and then after six or nine months or whatever it is, giving it back. They might actually think they own the pet instead of leasing the pet.”

According to the Post, pet leasing has already been banned in Nevada, California and New York.

The Connecticut proposal would still allow for certain types of pet leases, including “those for breeding purebred dogs, renting show animals or obtaining guide or law enforcement dogs,” according to the Post.

Find out more at the Connecticut Post 

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Chewy to Open $55M Facility, Creating 1,200 Jobs

It’s planning a fulfillment center.

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Chewy, an online pet supply retailer, has selected Rowan County, NC, for its new fulfillment center, with plans to create 1,200 new jobs and invest $55 million.

“Chewy selected North Carolina because from our infrastructure to our workforce, we have everything businesses need to succeed,” said Gov. Roy Cooper. “These new jobs will make a positive impact on Rowan County and the surrounding area.”

The e-commerce company will locate in Salisbury, NC.

Chewy is dually headquartered in Dania Beach, FL, and Boston, MA. It has customer service centers in Dallas, TX, and Hollywood, FL, and eight fulfillment centers around the country.

“We’re excited to expand Chewy’s fulfillment operations to North Carolina, our first in the state and ninth in the country,” said Pete Krilles, vice president, corporate real estate and facilities, for Chewy. “We greatly appreciate the partnership with the City of Salisbury, Rowan County, the Salisbury-Rowan Economic Development Commission, North Carolina Department of Commerce, and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.

“We look forward to making a positive economic contribution to the region with the creation of 1,200 new jobs. In addition to job creation, our new fulfillment center will enhance our delivery network across the southeastern United States, allowing us to better service Chewy customers with even faster delivery times.”

“Companies like Chewy will find success in North Carolina because we have a strong workforce and desirable business climate,” said Secretary of Commerce Anthony M. Copeland. “Pair that with our location and quality of life and you’ve got a winning formula.”

The North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of NC were instrumental in supporting the company’s expansion decision.

A performance-based grant of $166,650 from the One North Carolina Fund will support the creation of 150 of the new jobs, facilitating Chewy’s establishment of the facility in North Carolina. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment. All One NC grants require a matching grant from local governments and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.

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Pet Store Chain Files for Bankruptcy

Its owner died in January.

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Petland Discounts, a chain that operated in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The action follows the January death of the company’s owner, Neil Padron.

The company has closed its stores.

Notices with each of the three states’ labor departments indicated that more than 300 jobs could be lost across 70 store locations.

The bankruptcy petition was filed in New York Eastern Bankruptcy Court.

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Padron started the business in 1965. He died of bladder cancer on Jan. 14.

Details of the bankruptcy case are available here.

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