THE CAUSES OF PET OVERPOPULATION
8 million dogs and cats are killed each year in county shelters and humane societies.
These unwanted pets are a result of irresponsible pet owners that allow their pets to
breed and run free creating the problem of pet overpopulation. Many of these lost animals
may end up on the laboratory table. Millions more lose their lives from starvation,
disease, moving vehicles, and owner abuse. Puppies sold in pet shops are raised in
"puppy mills," breeding kennels that house the dogs in cramped and filthy
conditions. Females are bred until their bodies give out and then they are killed. All of
these deaths are preventable.
The message to society is
|The consequences of pet overpopulation are much too tragic
to be simplified. The number of victims - unwanted homeless dogs and cats - is of such
magnitude that it is time that society be made aware of the reality of this tragedy. The
statistics tell the story.
||Eight to ten million dogs and cats are killed in shelters across the
United States every year. These staggering numbers don't include the animals that die on
our roads or from unreported animal abuse. Also not included are the animals that die
after being sold to research laboratories from our shelters. During 1999, animal shelters
in Ohio killed 196,831 dogs and cats. Only a small fraction of these animals are vicious
because of owner mistreatment or illegal intentions
|Only a small fraction are terminally ill or too sick to be
treated. The majority of these dogs and cats are healthy. Many can be treated and behavior
problems eliminated. We are killing adoptable dogs and cats capable of giving and
receiving love for many more years.
We are killing adoptable dogs and cats
capable of giving and receiving love for many more years.
Why are we doing something that we know is wrong?
What are the root
- People acquire cats and dogs from sources that perpetuate overpopulation. They buy from
breeders and pet stores. 5,000 puppy mills breed more than 1/2 million dogs in deplorable
conditions, most of which are shipped to pet stores. By buying from these sources we
perpetuate the market. 25% of the animals in shelters are purebred. When a pet is
purchased, a shelter animal dies.
- Many pet owners who fail to spay and neuter their animals. Whether by intent or neglect,
these dogs and cats reproduce. For every litter born, that many will die in a shelter.
Many of these people are hobby and professional breeders, others are backyard breeders
wanting their children to see the miracle of birth. Perhaps these people need to visit the
killing room of a shelter to watch the tragedy of death.
- People treat pets as disposable commodities. People simply surrender or abandon their
animals instead of taking responsibility for them for their lifetime. Every day people
walk into shelters and surrender animals for reasons as frivolous as the animal not
matching their furniture anymore or we're going on vacation and can't afford to board -
we'll just get another dog when we come home. The number one excuse is moving - the owner
doesn't consider the animal important enough to find animal friendly housing. More excuses
include - behavior problems, not enough time, can't afford, and allergies.
In summary, failure to spay and neuter is the major cause, but how we acquire our dogs
and cats and how long we keep them is also a contributing cause. For every animal killed -
be it a dog, cat, pig, rabbit, or bird - there is a human outside the walls of the shelter
|So if the root
cause is a combination of three, what is the solution?
Don't Breed or Buy - Adopt
Keep Your Pets Safe at Home
Spay and Neuter
And remember - pets are living creatures,
capable of fear, love, pain, loneliness, and joy. They should never be considered
disposable property, for they should be considered members of the family. Every companion
animal must be loved and protected.