The problem of overcrowded animal shelters is a common one in the U.S., but there are also shelters that occasionally have too few cats or dogs to adopt out.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' MAP program, which stands for Moving Animals Places, works to solve that imbalance.

The first national program of its kind makes it easier for participating shelters to contact one another and organize relocations that will move pets to locations where they're more likely to be adopted.

The free, interactive database launched in July 2013; since then, 347 shelters in 47 states and Puerto Rico have registered.

Early data shows that at least 362 dogs and 12 cats have been moved through MAP, but the ASPCA says it's still too early to get exact numbers because not all moves have been reported.

Sandy Monterose, senior director of ASPCA community initiatives, says relocating pets from overcrowded shelters saves them from euthanasia.

"It is a supply and demand issue," she told The Associated Press. "If you had a store and you had extra widgets at one store, and people were buying up widgets at another store, wouldn't you move your widgets?"

Shelters can join MAP by filling out an online questionnaire about vaccination and spay-and-neuter policies and any transportation equipment they have available.

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Laura Moss writes about a variety of topics with a focus on animals, science, language and culture. But she mostly writes about cats.

Saving more shelter animals with a MAP
ASPCA program is lowering euthanasia rates by helping shelters move pets to locations where they're most likely to be adopted.