(WGHP) — North Carolina ranked third for the fourth year in a row in a national survey conducted by the Best Friends Animal Society designed to show how many animals die each year in shelters.

201,876 dogs and cats entered North Carolina shelters in 2021, and 154,688 were saved. That means the state has an aggregate save rate of 76.6%.

NC is listed as high priority along with Florida and Alabama.

Only 31.5% of state animal shelters ranked above the 90% benchmark last year.

For NC to be considered a no-kill state by the BFAS, animal shelters would have needed to meet the 90% benchmark, meaning 28,790 more healthy or treatable animals would have to have been saved in NC.

New Hampshire and Delaware were the only states that met the no-kill criteria, while California and Texas are listed as top priority.

Animal shelters in the US are seeing a setback in how many pets are saved for the first time in five years, according to the BFAS.

In 2021, the number of dogs and cats killed in US shelters went up from 347,000 to 355,000.

The reasons were partly due to staffing shortages that resulted in limited hours, fewer in-person volunteers, reduced adoption events and pet care support.