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Pet Overpopulation and You

Pet Overpopulation and You

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Published by Allison Sachs
A ten page essay.
A ten page essay.

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Published by: Allison Sachs on Jan 10, 2013
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Pet Overpopulation

If Snow is such a wonderful cat, why h a s n ’t s h e b e e n adopted yet?

And You

One hundred animals come through this shelter in a month, each with a distinct personality, each with unique story.  Some go fast, such as puppies and kittens.  Some stay longer: older animals, for example. After talking to the shelter worker, it is clear that most people who visit the shelter do not want to play with an older animal, and the workers there often take on the duty themselves to give equal love and care to every animal there (Collins). The shelter is a branch of The Humane Society of The Tennessee Valley.  Some of the more striking animals at this shelter are Sandberg, a feisty polydactyl cat; Goldie, a kitten with the poise of a geisha; Snow, a cat that only wants to be petted; and Elroy, a powerfully built chocolate Standard Poodle. Snow gives a first impression of a pristine ivory coat, keen gold-flecked jade eyes, lithe and confidant bearing.  Fascinated by the swishing, tinkling cat toy in front of her eyes, she also shows her playful side.  Snow bats the toy, and it swings back to her.   She strikes it again.   When they toy swings back once more, Snow brings the toy towards her chest with both paws and bites it.   Such a feline is easily capable of striding into the coldest of hearts and falling asleep in a warm kitty ball. If Snow is such a wonderful cat, why hasnʼt she been adopted too. Thereʼs that warm kitty ball! yet?  For that matter, why hasnʼt such a rare dog as a chocolate Standard Poodle been adopted?    Snow, and other pets like her are lost in the sheer number of animals that need a home.   An estimated 6-8 Million animals
Snow shows off her lazy side,


Ten reasons to spay or neuter your pet: 1) Your female pet will live a

There are too many animals with the ability to reproduce without control.   Having a watch dog that is more aggressive is another reason.  Some want to keep the option of breeding their beloved animal open. bring more dogs and cats into the world that cannot be taken care of.   That a pet is purebred presents a barrier to a few. The no-kill revolution may be seen as a solution to the overpopulation problem. no-kill shelters can only hold a limited number of animals before having to turn pets away. healthier life. et al. only 79% of them spayed or neutered all of their pets (Sachs. this is Elroy the Poodle.).   Sadly. However. many people donʼt have the time. some people think they cannot afford it. Finally. many of which have distinct and lovable personalities just like those encountered at the HSTV (Dracker). 95% felt that spaying and neutering pets was an important means of population control (Sachs. Some people think their animals will get fat and lazy. That is why both the American Veterinary Medical Society The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to animals support early spaying and neutering. and.  Thankfully.  A certain faction of people think that a dog or cat will be healthier and happier if she has a litter before she is spayed. none of which are legitimate in a majority of cases. if a home cannot be found for the animal in a certain time period.  Some people think their pets personality will change. a few feel otherwise. finally.  Commercial breeders contribute a fair share of Shown in the play yard. Not spaying and neutering is the number one cause of pet overpopulation. In a survey of random people.An estimated 6-8 million animals enter animal shelters in the united states each year. half of those animals are euthanized. or that they can make a lot of money off selling puppies and kittens. Pet overpopulation and control has been an issue people have had to deal with since animals have been domesticated. because they want another animal just like it.  While most feel it is a right and proper means of controlling animal population. Miller) Many people feel strongly on the issue of spaying or neutering animals.   While shelters that do not practice euthanasia are seen as desirable over those that do. et al. 2) Neutering provides major health benefits for .  The HSTV does not practice euthanasia. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– longer. There are various reasons why. this is not enough to eradicate the issue. These pets who are denied shelter at the no-kill shelters are often left on the streets or brought to another shelter that practices euthanasia. (AVMA.   All of these reasons. However. the animal shelter that fosters Snow and Elroy is a no-kill shelter.). enter animal shelters in the United States each year (Dracker). but in reality. there is one reason that spaying and neutering household pets is not enough. which he shares periodically with his mates.

The likelihood of two Standard Poodles.  While it is not as great a factor as human negligence. 4)Your male dog won't . but the owner of the said male is not forced to feel the consequences of their decision not to neuter. somewhere.   He may have changed homes a few times.  The same is true of Gaga. Approximately 25% of shelter animals are purebred (US Pet). i t ’s n o t their problem? 1 3 2 1) Jackson. as well as another puppy that has been born. The only thing they have to deal with is the annoyance of pesky Why should t h ey. for example. a Cocker Spaniel. is slim to none. 3) This is the mop formerly known as Gaga. If one feels the need to forgo altering a pet. He needs a home and some loving. not spaying or neutering.   Every animal someone buys from a breeder equates one less shelter animal given a home. a Corgi wondering if I will be his new owner. 3) Your spayed female won't go into heat. breeders do affect the population of animals. they will have a personal problem on their hands with the birth of the puppies. Timmy.   Someone. sometime in the past bred two Poodles to have Elroy. 2) The HSTVʼs bigger dogs enjoying a bit of free time. both brown enough to produce all-brown offspring.e. because frequently pet owners will spay their females but refuse to neuter their males. but males do not have the same birthing capabilities. but he ended up in a shelter. and Pip the Chihuahua.   Take.animals to pounds and shelters. a Schnoodle. The males then are allowed roam the streets and impregnate as many females who are not spayed as they wish.   All these animals currently live together at the Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley. This follows the thought that if their females have puppies. the responsibility of an owner to keep that animal away from strays or neighborhood pets is very important.   –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– your male. i. Some people think they cannot afford to spay or neuter their animal. Elroy. This is a contributing cause of animal overpopulation.

making it difficult for them to integrate into human society. They are still in a wild state of mind. However. as both types occupy human-inhabited areas. Although speculation on the number of feral dogs varies greatly. there are estimates of between 60 to 100 million feral cats in the US (US Pet). The rate of growth of companion animals. This leads to numerous problems for both the animals and for people. Before this transition. with approximately 800. Feral animals react differently than their domestic counterparts. as they are simply acting as they naturally would. the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was placed in charge of animal control. Before the ASPCA was given control. Domestication is the process of taming an animal to human control. In New York in 1894. such as cats and dogs. The animals themselves cannot be faulted for the behavior. These animals who were so dependent upon human care tend to flock to populated areas in small groups to scavenge for food. They were caged and thrown into the East River to drown (Dracker). would they live to be adopted? shelters operated with corrupt and inhumane practices. The uncontrolled rise in the animal population has correlated with an increase in the number of dog bites.000 requiring medical treatment (Centers). has reached unmanageable numbers in recent history. and therefore were known to steal animals from peoplesʼ yards (Dracker). the result is usually the animal attacking the –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– want to roam away from home. When domesticated animals are abandoned by people and left to fend for themselves they become feral. There are almost 5 million dog bites yearly. or revert to a more wild state. finding strays homes remains a difficult task.5 million dogs and 93 million cats owned in the United States.   It is difficult for people to differentiate between a feral animal and a domesticated one. the city One of a litter of six. People are used to being able to interact with and control dogs at will. to be adopted out because heʼs sick. So when unsuspecting people attempt to interact with a feral animal. There are currently estimated to be 77. stray dogs were not given the opportunity to find a new home. all the while ignorant or careless to the fact that they are contributing to this problem. Although shelter ethics have improved exponentially.neighborhood strays and irritation with the animals that infiltrate their yard. Fudge has to wait If this litter werenʼt in a no-kill shelter. defending their territory at all costs. For example. the city dog catchers were paid by the dog. 5) Your neutered male will be much better .

surviving mostly off of scraps scavenged from trash. A select few are lucky enough to belong to an owner that comes looking for it. The rest are passed out to various shelters to be taken care of. The animals are often malnourished as well.   In order to combat the problems posed to both humans and the animals themselves.person to defend from the intrusion. animal control and shelter programs have been created. Lulu is lonely Dachshund at HSTV. facilitate the spread of disease among animals. Instead of looking to the cause of the problem and finding solutions. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– behaved. Some of these diseases. One of the main duties of animal control officers is capturing stray animals. 7) Your . fleas. between animals and humans. Poor and crowded living conditions of strays. She is young and has a good chance rash with intense itching. These animals are taken to pounds to be dealt with. They become covered in ticks. The Human Society of the United States estimates that shelters admit approximately 6 to 8 million animals a year. society continues to look at these cases as independent and bothersome occurrences of an animalʼs wild nature. a severe This kitten is called Goldie. and mange. 6) Your neutered male will be much better behaved. such as sarcoptic scabies. are communicable of finding a home soon. There is no federal animal control program. combined with the fleas and ticks. Roughly a third of the animals are euthanized due to their temperament or for health reasons. Living on the fringes of human society is not healthy for stray animals. but most regions in the United States have programs funded from local governments. These shelters attempt to adopt out the animals they house to people seeking pets. Roughly a third of the animals are euthanized due to their temperament or for health reasons. Many animals are unfairly put down every year due to this.

8) Spaying and neutering your . therefore the problem calls for a more active form of population control. yet they are forced to kill over half the ones that they try to help.  It is not feasible or humane to euthanize the more than 100 million stray animals that currently are on the streets. Of these. Euthanasia is the process of killing while minimizing pain and suffering. This is still preferable to earlier methods of animal population control. such as the killing of animals on sight mandates given in the past. However. The euthanasia rate of shelters has remained consistent. or that become too expensive to provide shelter for. just as Abbey Collins of the HSUS said. It is often carried out by an injection with a lethal substance. it all boils down to one important question: what can we do about it? The simplest answer to a complex issue. but the population of stray animals has increased. Shelters are only able to help a small number of stray animals in comparison to how many are out there. This method is used by shelters on animals that they are unable to find homes for. or is he jus fluffy? When we look at the issue as well as its causes and effects. it is easy to place blame on irresponsible breeders and owners and a system without much power in the situation. but it only affects animals that find their way into shelters. The importance of this action is perhaps the most crucial when looking to reduce the –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– neutered male will be much better behaved. The small number of shelters and animal rights organizations are not capable of performing such a monumental feat.The simplest answer to a complex issue is to increase the spay and neuter rate among pets. about half are adopted out or reclaimed by owners and the other half are euthanized. Sandberg is a polydactyl cat that is rather fat.  The solution does not lie with euthanizing animals after they have already been captured. Euthanasia has unfortunately become the preferred method of controlling shelter populations. “Spaying and Neutering! Definitely!”.

Along with the procrastinating attitude of pet owners. When it comes to spaying and neutering.number of stray animals and overpopulated animal shelters. Encouraging people to consider the commitment they are making when they adopt or buy a pet is a critical factor in reducing the number of stray animals and unwanted pets. This is the problem that creates pets that crowd shelters. shelters become more crowded. and the cycle continues. Will you take him has a possibility of home and give him something to be excited getting loose. there is a risk that he or she may add to this growing problem. Awareness of this issue is necessary. creating more animals that arenʼt spayed or neutered. or are euthanized. If animals are taken to a shelter. many people do not consider the long-term commitment of owning a pet. A popular theme a m o n g irresponsible pet owners is the idea of “disposable” pets. or about? is allowed to be on the streets. Educating owners passionately and effectively on the previously discussed effects of their decision not to spay or neuter could have a dramatic effect. Every pet that hasnʼt been spayed or neutered has a chance of compounding the problem. Abandoned pets are left to roam the streets and reproduce. Why people donʼt currently spay their pets is another important aspect that must be examined to properly induce change that could save many pets lives. Through an increased awareness about the issue. Frequently. change could come about. 9) Your pet doesn't need to have a litter . that comes with having a pet. live unfortunate and often short lives on the streets. So. A popular theme among irresponsible pet owners is the idea of “disposable” pets. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– pet is good for the community. and this compounds the problem. Many people abandon their pets or take them to a shelter when they move. Any time your pet his breedʼs natural disposition. Jackson is a Corgi mix who isnʼt a boisterous as spaying or neutering never happens. many people decide to wait a little while. In this aspect. a large part in solving this problem is appealing to reason and asking if potential Who cars if he has an underbite? Harry is pet owners are ready for the long-term commitment cute and deserves a home. many pet owners are affected by indifference along with misconceptions about the cost of spaying and neutering that greatly influence the number of spayed and neutered animals.

Many people are also unaware of newer. Most pet owners know that when they walk into a veterinary clinic to have their pet treated. 10) Spaying and . –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– for your children to learn about the miracle of birth. mobile clinics specializing purely in spay and neuter services for a very low or nonexistent price. Along with that negative aspect of buying from a breeder or pet shop. This ensures that all animals that pass through shelters will not reproduce and potentially create more unwanted pets. pets sold by breeders are often the product of inbreeding. do not have this policy. Supplementary to the irresponsible ownerʼs attitude. meaning that when they adopt pets out to people.Adopting from shelters rather than pet shops or breeders also provides an improvement to the issue. Breeders. people would be ready and Many people are also unaware of newer. affordable ways to have their pet spayed or neutered. there is a large chance that they will walk out with a hefty bill as well. The prevalence of “spay stations”. affordable ways to have their pet spayed or neutered. But accompanying the growing issue are affordable alternatives to the traditional ways of having your pet spayed or neutered. leading to their abandonment or the dumping of these sick animals onto shelters. the animals must be spayed or neutered. causing severe health problems. has greatly increased in recent years. If people were aware of the low cost and timely manner in which these procedures are performed. Many shelters follow a mandatory spay or neuter policy. If we can educate the public on accessible ways contribute to the movement to decrease overpopulation. it could bring a drastic improvement on the overpopulation front. on the other hand. Miracle searches the room for a proper candidate for her new owner. these pets are not wanted by the owners who buy them.

This Problem is growing and will only get worse. Many animals are euthanized or become feral and fearful of people as a result of being left to the streets to adopt the hard life of a stray. . The overpopulation of domestic animals is a large and eminent problem facing our society today. a remarkable decrease in the numbers of strays and shelter animals could be achieved. pet shops and breeders. as this problem is growing and will only get worse through time. people as well as animals. Through informed owners and responsible owner practices. We must move to enact change. willing to do their part in helping the fix problem. Overpopulation must be stopped. and it is in every pet ownerʼs hands to do their part and provide the change that can eliminate overpopulation. Contributing factors include: irresponsible owner attitudes. Older models tend to be a bit of a harder sell. and overcrowded shelters. Kittens are adopted out quickly. lack of spaying and neutering. Over time many factors have led to this issue becoming as widespread as it is. and indifference to the problem has only resulted in overpopulation compounding itself. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– neutering helps fight pet overpopulation.

net/pet-adoptions/images/pet-adoptions.jpg Black Puppy Final Page http://farm1.com/149/404964824_577f5cc6a8.net/images/1174536_pretty_girl.flickr.static.Photo Credits Golden Retriever and Green Eyed Cat Page One http://www.jpg?v=0 Remaining images All captioned images taken by Allison Sachs at the Adopt-a-pet location of the Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– .pet-net.howtotrainmydog.jpg Brown Puppy Page Four http://www.

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