Animal shelters usually have a tough time of it- finding funds, dealing with numerous surrenders and the occasional kennel-cough outbreak or other such nuisances. Lately, though, the problems facing the animal shelter world have become much more severe and consistent. Themost troubling result of these increased problems is EUTHANASIA of thousands and thousands of healthy, wonderful animals who are usually in their prime of life. One shelter in Memphis euthanized 13,000 animals of the 18,000 that came through their doors in the year 2009.
The recession has become a significant source of problems for shelters nationwide. The repercussions of the recession are based on different people and their individual actions or reactions to troubling times. There are two groups, in general: the benign and the malignant animal-owners. Many people are losing their homes to foreclosure and are finding themselves with no place to stay or no place to stay with their pets. Very often, these people are forced to surrender their beloved animals to shelters as they have no other choice. These are individuals who would fall into the benign animal-owner group.
Then there are the people who fail to get their cats and dogs neutered and spayed as well as the puppy-mill-owners and generally irresponsible and/or cruel animal-owners. Yes, the malignant group is much bigger and more diverse than the benign group, which is why animal shelters not only find themselves overwhelmed with strays and surrendered animals now, but all the time.
It is stressed over and over again…SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR PETS! But, for some reason, some people still don’t get it. Is it apathy? Lack of knowledge about financial assistance options? No ride to the vet? Whatever it is, the lack of spaying and neutering family animals is epidemic. The bottom line is this: more cats and dogs born…more cats and dogs euthanized. The connection is obvious and clear.
The problem of people dumping pets anywhere and everywhere is a sad but true happening that doesn’t just occur during economic down times. This action is thoughtless and cruel. Enough said.
Puppy mills need to be shut down. No longer is it a matter of instituting better laws pertaining to the management of these dog factories, but rather just a matter of shutting them down period. No more licenses for puppy mil operations should be handed out and it should be made illegal to operate them. This may seem drastic, but the pain that dogs go through because of this out-of-control system of breeding has made such actions necessary. We need to get overpopulation under control in the U.S., and we cannot do that if there are greedy puppy mill owners still out there just feeding the problem. Enough is enough.
While donating to animal shelters and volunteering will definitely help, at this point what needs to be done is to finally draw the line in the sand and say “no more”. In other words, we can no longer keep applying bandages to the tumor that is animal shelter overcrowding and consequent excessive euthanasia. Instead, we need to cut the cancer out by making everyone aware of and able to spay and neuter their pets and we need to outlaw puppy mill operations. The animals have suffered enough for our many mistakes.