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How Long Do Animal Shelters Keep Animals Before Putting Them to Sleep?

By Deidra Smith | Updated September 26, 2017

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Each day hundreds of dogs and cats are left behind in shelters by owners who are certain the pets will be adopted. Few people realize how many pets are euthanized daily and even fewer realize how little time animals spend in shelters before they are put down.

Time in Shelter

Mother and daughter looking at dog in animal shelter kennel

The time that animals spend in shelters before being euthanized depends on the type of shelter the animal is in, the area where the shelter is located and the condition or behavior of the animal.

5-Day Stay

Blank Daily Organizer

While it is only a recommendation, the Humane Society of the United States suggests that all pets be held in a shelter for at least five days.

Changing Rules

Shelter Kitten

When caught in financial difficulties, many shelters are forced to decrease the time animals have before they are put down. Some money-tight shelters implement 3-day rules, euthanizing the animal on the fourth day of its shelter stay.

No-Kill Shelters

I, Sad Chihuahua

No-kill shelters keep animals indefinitely unless they are too ill to be treated or have an overly aggressive nature.

Save a Life

Bella

Time is limited for any animal in a shelter, unless the shelter is a no-kill one. If left unadopted, any animal will be put down eventually.

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Author

Deidra Smith began writing professionally in the summer of 2010. Aside from writing for Demand Studios, she writes the newsletter for a local nonprofit

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