Florida Animal Sheltering
Trends in Lifesaving

Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida is frequently asked, “How many cats and dogs are admitted to shelters each year and what happens to them?”

To answer this question, the program periodically conducts a statewide census of animals that pass through more than 150 animal shelters across the state.

2019 Florida Shelter Animal Census Results

149 of the 153 shelters known to be operating in Florida submitted data for shelter intakes and outcomes in 2019. This represents an estimated 97% of all shelters and 99% of all sheltered animals in the state. Data was submitted by shelters in 63 of Florida’s 67 counties.

2019 map of contributing shelters to the Florida Animal Shelter Census
A total of 153 animal shelters were known to be operating in Florida in 2019. Of these, 149 submitted data for the Florida Shelter Animal Census.
  • A total of 400,498 cats and dogs were admitted to Florida shelters in 2019.
  • Free-roaming/stray cats and dogs comprised more than half of all intakes.
  • Live outcomes were achieved for 81% of animals brought into Florida shelters. This number rose to 84% if 12,645 animals brought to shelters specifically for euthanasia services were not included – a jump of 27% since 2013.
  • Adoptions (63%) were the main avenue for live outcomes, followed by transfers to other groups (17%), return to owner (11%), and return to field (8%).
  • Dog euthanasia has decreased 71% and cat euthanasia has decreased 69% since 2013.
  • Disparities between cats and dogs identified in the first statewide Shelter Animal Census in 2013 persisted in 2019:
    • Shelter intake of cats remains stubbornly high, whereas intake for dogs has steadily decreased.
    • Live outcomes for cats (76%) still lag behind that for dogs (90%), but the gap is narrowing.
    • More than twice as many cats are euthanized compared to dogs.
  • Click on the links below to review data aggregated for all reporting shelters in each county.
2019 Live Intake into Florida Shelters by Species


Total Live Release Rate 2019
Total Shelter Euthanasia Rate 2019
Total Live Intake and Euthanasia By Florida County 2019

Help for Shelters

Thanks to a generous grant from Maddie’s Fund in partnership with the Million Cat Challenge, the Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida can provide pro-bono consultations to help shelters identify opportunities to boost lifesaving and public services without increasing costs. Shelters can apply for anything from a video chat about a specific topic to a full-blown top-to-bottom on-site shelter assessment.


Contact Us

Please contact Keegan Spera, Outreach & Data Specialist, at keegan.spera@ufl.edu.


Frequently Asked Questions

Does my animal welfare organization qualify as a shelter?

  • The Florida Shelter Animal Census defines a shelter as a continuously occupied “brick and mortar” physical facility that houses cats and dogs temporarily for the purposes of animal control and protection. Common examples include shelters operated by municipalities, humane societies, and SPCAs, but can also include private businesses. Foster-based animal rescue organizations and sanctuaries with a permanent population are not included in the Florida Shelter Animal Census.

Are Florida animal shelters required to release shelter data upon request?

What shelter data is required for the Florida Animal Shelter Census?

  • The census includes canine and feline intake and outcome data for Calendar Year 2019 (January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019) using the Shelter Animals Count Basic Data Matrix.

Can I run a shelter software report to provide shelter data?

I already report data in Shelter Animals Count. Do I need to complete the census as well?

  • If your shelter is enrolled in Shelter Animals Count (SAC) and is a member of the Florida Shelter Data Coalition—University of Florida, your data entered in SAC will be carried over to the Florida Shelter Animal Census automatically. You will still need to complete census information about this year’s research topic (cat management), since this information is not available in SAC.

How do I enroll my shelter in the Shelter Animals Count Florida Shelter Data Coalition?

What if I don’t have data, or what if it is incomplete?

Is there a deadline for submitting shelter data?

  • The deadline for completing the census was April 15, 2020. Contact Keegan Spera if you missed the deadline or have data corrections to make.

Submit 2019 Data For Your Shelter

Thank you for contributing to the Florida Shelter Animal Census. This census consists of two parts that will be used to record an accurate snapshot of shelter animal dynamics during 2019 in the state of Florida.

Part 1: Shelter Description

  • A few questions to identify your shelter (name, etc.).
  • Each year we pick a topic for a deeper look. Last year we asked about shelter animal importation/exportation to and from other states. This year, we are looking at cat management. You will see a few questions that relate to FeLV, FIV, and TNR.

Part 2: Shelter Intake and Outcome Data for calendar year 2019 (January 1-December 31, 2019).

  • Click here to download the Basic Data Matrix. This worksheet will help you gather your shelter animal data before entering it in the online form.
  • Please make sure to save your Basic Data Matrix with the label “Your Shelter Name 2019 Basic Data Matrix” before emailing it.
  • You can email it directly to keegan.spera@ufl.edu.
  • Shelters that use Shelter Animals Count (SAC) can submit data through the Shelter Animals Count Florida Shelter Data Coalition—University of Florida..
    • If you are in Shelter Animals Count but are not in the Florida Shelter Data Coalition—University of Florida or are unsure, please email keegan.spera@ufl.edu and she will send an invitation.