Past Results: Florida Shelter Animal Census

Collecting a statistical snapshot of Florida’s animal shelters Shelter cat

How many cats and dogs are admitted to shelters each year in Florida, and what happens to them? 

This is the question that Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida sought to answer with a comprehensive study of the state’s animal shelters and shelter population.


The initial Florida Shelter Animal Census was conducted using data from calendar year 2012, giving each facility a chance to report a common baseline. These statistics were used to produce a statewide report for intake and outcome of shelter animals in Florida.

Some initial findings of the first-ever Florida Shelter Animal Census include…

  • Shelters took in more than 450,000 cats and dogs in 2012
  • Out of the reported shelter intakes, there were more than 225,000 live outcomes
  • More animals were admitted as strays than as owner-surrenders.
  • Dogs were more likely to be adopted, transferred to another agency, or returned to owners than cats.
  • More than twice as many cats were euthanized as dogs.
  • The statewide overall live release rate was 50% (live release/live intake), including 37% for cats and 64% for dogs.

(These statistics are considered preliminary pending further examination)

Initial findings from the 2012 Florida Shelter Animal Census were first reported at the 2013 Best Friends Animal Society National Conference. This presentation included a graphical poster and abstract that explained some of the results.

 Census poster



Out of nearly 150 shelters that were initially contacted, a total of 106 municipal, public/private, and private non-profit facilities submitted data for use in the project.

Florida Shelter Animal Census


green106 public and private facilities submitted shelter data. black20 facilities declined to participate or failed to submit data.