The consequences of unwanted pets reaches into our homes, neighborhoods, shelters, rescues, local and national governments. And until it touches our collective heart and consciousness, it will continue spreading its heartbreaking result: Euthanasia.
We respond to this disease with denial, much like any other terminal illness. To protest its existence doesn’t dissolve it. To ignore it does not stop it. Our only hope is to become aware of its dangers, yield to knowledge that will slow its advance, and to be responsible: choose and act in ways to prevent and eliminate the issue.
Another contributing factor to the number of discarded animals is that owners are surrendering their pets to shelters for a variety of reasons. The “We’ll try it and if it doesn’t work out … ” mentality when bringing a pet into a home is placing that animal at risk. Much more commitment is required, and it BEGINS with considering the appropriate pet for the family.
The ‘throw-away’ society we’ve become seems at odds with giving much-needed thought to buying the right breed or selecting the right shelter pet. Due consideration must be given to the pet’s size, breed temperament, grooming, obedience classes, vet visits, expenses and future changes to family dynamics (divorce, adding children, other pets, etc). Not preparing for these can result in dysfunctional pet ownership that ultimately leads to surrendering pets to shelters or outright abandonment.
To the desired end that homeless pets and euthanasia will soon be past issues, the following information is of interest:
Irresponsible ownership populates shelters with millions of abandoned dogs and cats each year….
Approximately 56% of dogs and puppies entering shelters are killed, based on reports from 1,038 facilities across America. Source: National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy – Shelter Statistics Survey
Approximately 71% of cats and kittens entering shelters are killed, based on reports from 1,038 facilities across America. Source: National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy – Shelter Statistics Survey
An estimated 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters each year. It is estimated that millions more are abandoned, only to suffer from illness or injury before dying. Source: No Kill Advocacy Center
While prices vary considerably, many humane societies and municipal animal control departments offer low-cost spay/neuter services. And while the cost of surgery may seem high initially, it’s a real bargain when compared with the cost of raising a litter of puppies or kittens. Spaying and neutering also saves taxpayer dollars.
1. National Council on Pet Population
2. No Kill Advocacy Center