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How data can help us End Pet Homelessness


Millions of cats and dogs around the world live on the streets or in shelters, without the care and nutrition they need to thrive. At Mars, the world we want tomorrow is one where no pets are homeless. But before we can achieve this, we first need to understand what contributes to this issue in different countries across the world. This is why we teamed up with animal welfare experts and created the first-ever State of Pet Homelessness Index.  

Using data from over 200 global and local sources as well as quantitative research based on attitudinal data, the Index is the first, methodological measure of pet homelessness, currently covering data across 9 countries: the US, UK, India, Mexico, Germany, Russia, South Africa, China, and Greece.   

Every country receives an index score between 0 and 10 (where 10 = no pet homelessness exists) based on data collected across three focus areas.  

The Index model also accounts for country-specific context and identifies the challenges and contributing factors that can help inform initiatives addressing this issue in each of the 9 countries.  

The data also reveals several common challenges across the nine countries:  

  • Pet–friendly housing limitations: 55% of respondents say it is difficult to find dog-friendly rental homes; 44% agree it is difficult to find a rental when you own a cat 
  • Negative perceptions of stray or shelter animals: 50% of prospective owners say they worry about the pet’s history if adopted from a shelter, and 47% worry the pets are emotionally damaged. One in four think that stray animals are more likely to be aggressive 

The Index data also suggests that across the nine countries measured, nearly half (47%) of pet owners have concerns that when life returns to normal post-pandemic, there will be more homeless pets than ever.  Some pet owners also report uncertainty about whether they will be able to provide sustained care for their pets once life goes back to normal, leading to a concern that more pets may be at risk of homelessness.  

Jeffrey Flocken, President, Humane Society International says, “Companion animals are a source of comfort and unwavering affection for us, and we believe they deserve the love and care they need to thrive. I’m hopeful the Index can be used by animal welfare organizations and policymakers, pet professionals, academics and researchers to better understand the scale and factors influencing the issue and to point towards the most impactful interventions. At Humane Society International, we are ultimately aiming to reduce the time companion animals spend in shelters before finding their forever homes and prevent them from being relinquished or abandoned –and this Index will inform our ongoing efforts to do just that.” 

Find out more about the country data, how we built the Index, our partners, and programs helping to make a difference around the world by visiting  


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