By Claire Stevens
According to the Humane Society of America, four million dogs and cats are euthanized each year in U.S. shelters. That is equal to one dog or cat every eight seconds. Pet overpopulation is the biggest culprit for the millions of dogs and cats that must be put down every day. The positive aspect of the problem is that any person can contribute towards helping homeless cats and dogs find homes and reducing overpopulation. One way to help is by word of mouth. For example, next time a friend or family member is looking to add a dog or cat to their home, recommend that they check out a local animal shelter, instead of buying from a pet store or breeder. If they are concerned about not finding a pure bred pet, the county animal shelters and the local Humane Society may still have the specific dog or cat they are seeking.
This past summer, I visited the Miami-Dade county animal services, and they have several hundred dogs and cats, from which I spotted more than a few puppies and pure breeds. Of course, there were many mixed-breeds, who also make wonderful pets. Aside from animal shelters and the Humane Society, there are many rescue organizations, which offer foster and adoption services for many specific dog and cat breeds. Most of these rescue organizations are non-profit, and they usually rely on volunteers and online donations to cover the financial costs of providing food, shelter, and health care services for their rescued dogs or cats.
Anyone can help reduce overpopulation of our furry friends by doing the following: educate friends and family about the problems of pet overpopulation and how they can help. Go online and donate to a local animal shelter or to a rescue organization that rescues your favorite dog or cat breed. Perhaps you know someone who may want a dog or cat, but he or she is unsure about the long-term commitment. Well, fostering is a short term and inexpensive way to nurture a rescued pet back to health before a permanent home is found. Lastly, if you want to adopt a dog or cat, please look at places other than a breeder and a pet store. Pet overpopulation is not a politically divisive issue, nor does it apply to a certain social class or race. It’s a problem all of us can help solve together, even if it is one short conversation, one small donation. One person can make the biggest difference to a dog or cat.