Pooch Power: How Illinois Dog Adoption Ranks Among States

Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

There are already 69 million dog owners in America, and that number is on the rise. During the height of the pandemic, between March 2020 and May 2021, one in five U.S. households welcomed a dog or a cat. In Illinois, just under half (48.6% to be exact) of all homes already have a pet, with 32% of those housing a canine resident.

But with “adopt, don’t shop” becoming the unofficial rallying cry of prospective dog owners, we’re wondering how the state ranks among the best for dog adoption.

Here at IllinoisBet.com we took a pause from reviewing Illinois sports betting apps to find out. First, we consulted RescueMe.org to put together a list of all the dog rescue groups and adoption agencies in the United States, which we then sorted by state. Next, we used this info to rank all the U.S. states based upon the number of rescue organizations per square mile.

Here are the results:

States with Most Dog Rescues per Square Mile

RankState# Dog Rescue GroupsRescues per Sq. Mile
1Rhode Island920.059551165
3New Jersey3480.039896453
7New Hampshire1090.011658801
11North Carolina4580.00850998
16New York4050.007423704
17South Carolina2340.007307821
23West Virginia1120.004622361

Illinois In Top Half For Dog Adoption

By our metrics, Illinois rates as the 22nd best state for dog ownership, according to the RescueMe.org research.

While the country’s four smallest states top the list in our per capita-based system, Illinoisans should nevertheless feel proud to sit within the top half of our dog adoption rankings. State residents opened their homes to 29,322 needy dogs in 2020.

But one lucky Illinois pup captured national attention after she was adopted in 2021. Wiggles, a 14-year-old pitbull mix, spent over a decade in a Godfrey dog shelter before finding her fur-ever home with a St. Louis couple.

That’s the kind of heartwarming story that makes animal lovers want to open their heart, and home, to a new furry family member.

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Jeff Parker

Jeff Parker is an entertainment writer for IllinoisBet.com. A writer for film, television and the internet, Jeff is a life long movie buff, with an actual Masters Degree in Popular Culture. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he works full time as documentary filmmaker and producer.

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