Pet Overpopulation Improvements
by [email protected]
Time was when there was an estimated 20
million cats and dogs being killed in this country's animal shelters.
Now it is estimated to be between 5 and 7 million. This should prove to
anyone that it can be done, so we need to strive a little harder to come
to zero population growth, and no shelter deaths of adoptable animals
across this country.
There is one main way to achieve zero
population growth, and that's through spaying/neutering. We need a
stronger push to reach those that haven't gotten the message.
Statistically, most dogs and cats do not come from breeders or from
shelters, but from the public -- the friends, relatives and neighbors
who procrastinated until it was too late, or who wanted their children
to experience "the miracle of birth", or who thought their dog deserved
to have the "joy of sex" or the "joy of motherhood". Unfortunately
though, it is the breeders and the shelters who act as examples to those
members of the procrastinating public. If shelters don't alter prior to
adoption, and breeders don't alter prior to sale, then why should "the
guy next door" do it?
We MUST not only spay/neuter dogs and
cats for their own health, and because of the overpopulation problem,
but also as an example to those who don't think altering their own pet
will make that much of a difference. We must stop leaving it to the
"other guy" to do, and take the responsibility ourselves. Whoever has
possession of the animal "RIGHT NOW" must be the one to spay/neuter and
not leave it to the next guardians to do.
Cost should not be the factor that keeps
a breeder or shelter from altering. Both breeders and shelters can
easily pass the cost on to the new guardian. Doing so will save money in
the future by eliminating expensive health problems, and eliminating
offspring that have to be cared for.
Age should not be a factor, as more and
more veterinarians are opting for early age spaying and neutering. Even
veterinary associations accept and recommend early spay/neuter. Never
again will it be acceptable to give the excuse that "I didn't know the
animal was old enough to get pregnant".
Though reducing the overpopulation
problem will solve many sheltering woes, until we reach that point where
shelters are only used as temporary holding facilities for those rare
animals that are lost, giving their guardians time to rush to the
shelter to find them, we should also be striving to improve the lot of
animals that are in those shelters. Stopping pound seizure (the
relinquishment of animals to research) should be a major priority. And,
while we are on our way to no-kill status across the nation, we should
do everything possible to make shelter euthanasia as humane as possible.
That means no more decompression chambers, and no more carbon monoxide
(gas chambers). If it must be done, then intravenous injection by a
qualified veterinary specialist should be the only acceptable method.
For the love that cats and dogs give us,
we owe them no less. People have caused this problem, and people can
solve it. Let's stop making excuses and just DO IT.
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