The issue of pet overpopulation

Pet overpopulation is a people problem and not an animal problem. And, as thinking, feeling people, the solution starts with us people and an appointment at the spay/neuter clinic. It continues, but does not end, with care, compassion and the same unconditional love that our pets give us.

“The biggest contribution to pet overpopulation is people not spaying and neutering their pets,” says Bretta Nelson, PR manager for AHS. “That’s the only effective solution. If people don’t spay and neuter their pets, the [euthanasia] rates go up.”

 As animal lovers say, adopt, don’t shop—every pet bought denies a home to one in a shelter.

We read about and often witness these tragedies daily: people who abandon their pets; colonies of feral cats left to scrounge for themselves and their offspring; families leaving litters of puppies and kittens dumped..abandoned..; puppies for sale in pet stores and by backyard breeders online or through personal ads, with potential owners unaware that they’re purchasing offspring of ill, overbred mothers living in conditions in which you wouldn’t house felons. All of these pets are victims of or contributors to pet overpopulation.

Virtually all puppies sold at pets stores come from puppy mills, where dogs live miserably in tiny cages with little or no opportunity to exercise, play or socialize. Although there are many responsible breeders, there are far more irresponsible ones who are breeding for profit without regard for good health and temperament or the pet overpopulation problem.

While acquiring a puppy, kitten or adult animal from a friend, neighbor or Internet ad might seem innocent enough, in reality you are contributing to the pet overpopulation problem by creating demand for irresponsible breeding or enabling owners to have a convenient, guilt-free and often profitable outlet for disposing of unwanted pets. In many cases, these people will go on to become repeat offenders, engaging in a continuous cycle of irresponsible breeding or pet acquisition and disposal because they know they can easily find a new home for the animal(s).The majority of pets acquired this way are not spayed or neutered, which also perpetuates the cycle of overpopulation. The only way to break this cycle is to choose not to participate in it.

By choosing to adopt, you will not only save a life, but you will also ensure that your adoption fee is going to help the next unwanted pet that comes in the door of that shelter. The adoption fees at most shelters include spaying or neutering, vaccinations, microchipping, deworming etc.

What you can do to combat pet overpopulation:

*Always spay and neuter your pets.

*Always adopt your pets from a legitimate shelter or nonprofit rescue group.

* Consider all the responsibilities and consequences of pet ownership before deciding to get a pet and always make a lifetime commitment to your pet.

*Educate your children, friends, family members and co-workers about pet overpopulation, adoption and the importance of spaying and neutering.