Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Dogs, Cats, and Numbers

Since this is both Adopt a Shelter Dog Month (ASPCA) and World Statistics Day, let's look at some numbers.

In March, the Census Bureau released the Where Are the Animal Companions? infographic below. Seattle is just above average among cities in percentage of households with at least one pet.

infographic ranks metro areas by percent of households with pets

An accompanying press release explained that the American Housing Survey asked about pets for emergency preparedness.

If you've been around Seattle awhile, you might have heard that we have more dogs than kids. Gene Balk, the Seattle Times's "FYI Guy" (and news librarian) checked the stats and discovered In Seattle, it’s cats, dogs and kids — in that order (Feb. 1, 2013). To see other interesting local stats, browse the paper's data page.

Gathering and reporting statistics requires some thought about what you're counting and how you're counting it. Many animal welfare groups now follow the Asilomar Accords (2004),  "which include a set of Guiding Principles, standardized definitions, a statistics table for tracking shelter populations and a formula for determining shelter live release rates." Here are recent reports for the Seattle Humane Society (which includes King County) and Seattle Animal Shelter.

Pets are big business. According to PetfoodIndustry.com's chart below, we US pet owners spent over $20 billion on food and about $15 billion on vet care last year.

bar chart showing food, supplies, vet care, live animal purchases, and pet services

At the other end of the pet, Seattle Public Utilities provides some sobering stats about pet waste. Bottom line: bag it!

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