April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month! So I think it’s very appropriate that my first post in the April 2012 A to Z Blog Challenge is Animal Rescue.
According to the ASPCA, approximately 5 to 7 million cats and dogs end up in animal shelters in the United States every year. Roughly 70 percent of those cats, and 60 percent of those dogs, for a total of 3 to 4 million cats and dogs, are euthanized. That means that on any given day, somewhere between 8,000 and just under 11,000 animals are euthanized in shelters; not only are most of these animals perfectly healthy , adoptable companion animals, many of them are euthanized after a very brief waiting period, having been give little to no chance to be adopted. Furthermore, the method used to euthanize them varies from shelter to shelter as well as by state. Many places still use the heart stick method or gas chamber.
The good news is that we can all do our part, however small, to reduce these numbers.
We can all start by spaying and neutering our own pets. Preventing overpopulation is vital; it helps prevent animals from ending up in a shelter in the first place. Many litters of puppies and kittens are taken to shelters because their owners are simply unable or unwilling to care for additional animals. Spayed and neutered pets don’t produce more litters, so that reduces the number of pets entering shelters. There are many low cost, and even no cost, spay and neuter programs in place. You can contact your local shelter or veterinarian for information on programs locally.
Don’t shop, adopt! When you’re ready to bring a new furry family member into your home, why not go to your local animal shelter or rescue group to find them? You will literally save a life! You will also open up that spot for yet another animal to have a chance at being adopted. Shelters and rescue groups constantly have pets in need of loving homes. Why not begin your search there? Even if you’re looking for a purebred pet, there are many breed specific rescues. Also, according to the ASPCA, roughly ten percent of pets that end up in shelters are purebreds. Talk to anyone who has adopted their fur kids from a shelter or rescue, we’ll tell you it’s the best thing we ever did.
Volunteer and contribute what you can to your local animal shelter or rescue group. Obviously, no one can do everything, but we can all do something. Consider making a one time donation to your favorite animal rescue group, possibly out of your tax refund. If you’re able, consider setting up an automatic monthly donation of an amount you’re comfortable with. Every little bit helps. If you have the time, drop by and help walk and socialize the shelter dogs, or play with the cats and clean their litter boxes. It isn’t glamorous, but it has to be done. On a smaller scale, you can pick up some extra food or litter when it’s on sale and take it to your local animal shelter. Animal shelters are constantly in need of fresh linens. Why not take your old towels and blankets to your local shelter? Many animal shelters have their wish lists available on-line, take a look at what your local shelter needs and see what you might be able to be help with.
If everyone just does a little bit we can save literally millions of lives every year.