NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — In 2021, over 98,000 homeless animals were taken into Louisiana animal shelters. Out of those thousands of animals, 76,879 were saved according to Best Friends Animal Society.

On June 7, the animal welfare organization released the sixth annual pet lifesaving dataset, which gives a national overview of the number of dogs and cats that enter and exit shelters in a given year. 

According to the information released, 78% of the animals that entered Louisiana shelters were saved, despite the increased intake of animals.

The organization stated that some of the shelters in Louisiana stepped up during some of the most challenging times.

According to data released by Best Friends Animal Society, Lafayette Animal Shelter & Care Center, St. Tammany Parish Department of Animal Services, and Lafourche Parish Animal Shelter all reached a no-kill status in 2021, with respective save rates of 93.2%, 92.9%, and 90%, while Tangipahoa Parish Animal Services reached a save rate of 81.3%, an increase of more than 40% from 2020. 

“These four shelters prove that saving dogs and cats is possible even during the most challenging of times,” said Lee Ann Shenefiel, south-central regional director at Best Friends Animal Society. “It’s our hope that other shelters in Louisiana will adopt similar lifesaving programs so they can save as many dogs and cats as possible in the future.”  

Although there was some improvement, the data showed that nationally for the first time in five years, U.S. shelter systems are seeing a setback in lifesaving according to the animal welfare organization.

Best Friends’ data showed the animal shelter crisis in America.

The data showed that in 2021, the number of dogs and cats killed in U.S. shelters increased from 347,000 to 355,000 due to staffing shortages and limited hours, decreased in-person volunteers, reduced adoption events, and pet care support.

“The responsibility of saving pets’ lives should not rest solely on shelters and those in animal welfare, but on entire communities including community members, government leaders, shelters, and other animal welfare groups,” said Julie Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society. 

The organization encourages people to adopt from a shelter or rescue group, spay or neuter their pets, foster, volunteer, or donate to help resolve the issue.

To help or learn more, click here.