Do Dog Pounds Still Exist? – What to Know in 2022

Do dog pounds still exist? With so many animal rescue organizations, it’s hard to imagine they’re still around.

According to recent statistics, there are, reportedly, over 3,500 dog pounds, or “kill shelters” in the United States alone.

So, what exactly is a dog pound, and why do they still exist? Let’s take a closer look.

Dog Pounds and What They Do

A dog pound is where lost or homeless dogs go when they're surrendered or picked up from the streets.
A dog pound is where lost or homeless dogs go when they’re surrendered by their owners or picked up from the streets.

A dog pound is a shelter for dogs without owners and temporarily houses stray, homeless, or abandoned dogs.

The term “dog pound” can also be used to refer to the animal control department of a municipality.

In the past, dog pounds were often simply large fenced-in areas where dogs were kept until they were either claimed by their owners or are euthanized.

Today, most animal control departments now operate as shelters, more typically known as adoption centers.

These centers provide temporary homes for homeless animals and they work to find them permanent homes through adoption programs.

Some may offer other services, such as microchipping and spaying/neutering.

Read our related article, Do All Shelters Spay and Neuter? to learn more about this procedure.

Animals Found at Dog Pounds

While most dog pounds focus on dogs, some will also take in cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and other small mammals.

The animals at a dog pound are typically divided into two groups: those available for adoption and those not.

Adoptable Animals

The animals available for adoption have typically been vaccinated, spayed or neutered, and microchipped.

Adoptable pets may also come with a pet history report.

Read More: Fake Rescue Channels. Here’s how to spot fake dog rescue videos.

Unadoptable Animals

On the other hand, the animals not available for adoption typically have behavior issues or health problems that make them unsuitable for homes.

As a result, they typically spend their lives at the pound or are euthanized.

Dog pounds still exist today but are not as common as they once were.

With the rise of animal shelters and animal rescue organizations, many pounds have closed their doors for good.

Read our related article, Do Animal Shelters Kill Dogs? for more information on euthanasia and when it’s performed.

Benefits of Dog Pounds

While dog pounds, or kill shelters, do practice euthanasia, they also offer a variety of benefits, including:

The chance for Adoption

Dog pounds take strays off of the streets and work to find them forever homes.

Stray dogs can not only live a life of hunger and desperation, but they can also wreak havoc on communities in packs.

Pounds help to alleviate this problem.

Read More: Can You Get a Free Dog at a Shelter? Shelter dogs aren’t free. Here are the fees you’ll pay!

Spaying And Neutering

Most dog pounds offer spaying and neutering services at reduced rates.

It helps reduce the number of unwanted puppies born yearly, further decreasing the need for euthanasia. 

Affordable Vaccination

Many dog pounds also offer affordable vaccinations for adopters.

This helps ensure that all adopters can get their new pets vaccinated against common diseases, protecting both the pet and the community. 

As you can see, dog pounds do offer services to both dogs and the people in their communities.

If you are considering getting a dog, check your local pound first!

Watch this video to see some happy dogs get adopted into their forever homes:

Read More: Do Animal Shelters Give Free Shots? Pounds may offer free or low-cost vaccines to the public. Learn more!


Dog pounds do still exist, but they’re not precisely what you may be picturing.

A dog pound today is more likely to be an animal shelter or humane society that takes in stray and surrendered dogs.

The good news is that these organizations work diligently to find new homes for adoptable animals.

So, if you’re looking to add a furry friend to your family check out your local animal shelter!

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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