Each year, millions of animals are killed in shelters. They are put to death because they are unhealthy, uncared for and unwanted. I look at my own cats and realize that it is basically just the luck of the draw that they have safe and loving homes...they could have easily been a statistic. Something has to be done about the animals, but first we must understand the causes of the problem. I believe there are two main reasons: animals that aren't being spayed or neutered and puppy mills.
Spaying and neutering
Some people don't realize how important it is to spay or neuter their pets. Statistics show that
one female cat can produce to 370,092 kittens in seven years, and one female dog can
produce 67,000 puppies in six years. It's obvious why we have such an animal over population!
In addition to reducing the number of animals killed a year, spaying and neutering has many
advantages. It increases an animal's life expectancy, reduces various medical problems,
reduces the animal's tendency to roam, spray and fight, and can even make training easier and more successful. Some claim that spaying and neutering is 'unnatural'. We've got to realize that we've domesticated these animals, which led to the overpopulation. We have to deal with the ramifications.
If you have a pet, PLEASE get it spayed or neutered. It may be the most caring thing you can do for your pet.
The second cause of the problem are puppy mills. Breeders mass raise dogs in disgusting conditions in order to sell them to pet stores.
Puppy mills usually have small wood and wire-mesh cages or empty crates, all kept outdoors. The female dogs are bred continuously. Dogs in these mills often suffer from malnutrition, exposure, and usually don't get veterinary treatment.
Eventually, the females' bodies give out, and they are killed when they can't produce any longer.
There are no exact numbers, but it's estimated that there are between 800 and 1000 puppy mills in Canada. As an example of the terrible conditions, here are some comments by an investor after a raid on a puppy mill:
"There were 185 dogs. It was outside so it was cold. The cages were stacked four stories high and excrement flowed down on top of the animals below. Two dogs had broken hips, two had broken legs; one poodle was dying when we found it so skinny and weak.... All the dogs were sick and we put 136 of the 185 adult dogs down the very same day. The smell was so horrific we couldn't breath. The misery was everywhere."
(From an article in Humane Viewpoint, after a 1986 CSPCA raid of a puppy mill)
Please NEVER buy an animal from a pet store, and refrain from shopping at a store that sells animals. (letting the store know why you refuse to shop there will have an added effect!)
If you really want a dog from a breeder, please take precautions and make sure you choose a responsible breeder. Visit the location, and look around carefully. Be sure to ask the important questions! You should be told about the puppies' parents, medical history, possible genetic problems and the environment in which the puppies are being raised.
Find out what sort of health guarantee the breeder offers. Check out the breeder's history with breeding in general and with the breed you're looking for; references are a good idea. If the breeder refuses to answer any of your questions, or is evasive, take that as a warning. A responsible breeder should be interested in the future of the puppies, so he/she should ask you questions about your home, family and other issues. If possible, talk to other people who have dealt with breeders, your vet or a local breeding club. These people can be a
good sources of information.
There are so many cases of cruelty to animals it makes me wonder about our society.
Animals are being subjected to horrible treatment, and we must be a voice for them.
Stop the Cruelty
is a good page which lists some of the cases and issues that need our attention!
I believe that we need more humane education programs, with focus on the young
people. Kids who are taught at a young age to appreciate and respect animals will
carry that lesson with them throughout their lives. There must also be more
enforcement of laws. NO amount of cruelty should be tolerated, and those who break
the laws should be punished. Laws are different in all parts of the world. Check out the
situation where you live...you may be surprised at the lack of penalties for animal
abusers. If you ever suspect any abuse, please report it to your local authorities. We must do all that we can to protect the animals!
What you can do to help
- Be responsible...spay and neuter your pets.
- Don't buy a puppy from a pet store. Puppy mills will continue to exist if there is a market for them.
- Adopt a pet from your local humane society/animal shelter. You'll be saving a life.
- If you see a sick animal in a pet store, call your local humane society or
shelter for action.
- If you suspect or witness any animal abuse, report it.
- Contact your local politicians and ask for new laws and better enforcement of those laws.
- Spread the word! Encourage other to be responsible pet owners.