Pet rescue is alive and well – sadly and happily. Happily because there are caring people in the world who want to help animals in need; sadly because there is such great need.
There's a movement within pet rescue circles called “no kill” – the hope that no healthy, adoptable animals will be euthanized. Experts believe about 9,000 dogs and cats are killed every day in shelters across America, most of which are healthy and adoptable; that figure translates to about three million every year. Experts also estimate that only about 25 percent of people who bring a new pet into their home adopt from a shelter or rescue. Many respond to “free to a good home” ads, purchase animals from breeders, or go to pet stores, which often use unscrupulous breeders.
Two situations that attribute to the surplus of pets are (1) low adoption rates and (2) pet overpopulation (lots of litters). There are some groups, though, that believe pet overpopulation is a myth. Best Friends Animal Society in Utah, however, makes a strong case for the fact there is an over abundance of animals without homes. From a blog written in September, the co-founder of Best Friends states, “We should be as concerned about reducing the number of “noses in” (decreasing the number of pets entering shelters) as we are about increasing the number of “noses out” (by ramping up adoptions ...)” and “If we want to apply a supply and demand model to the business of no-kill, we should not only increase sales (adoptions), we should reduce production” (achieved through spay/neuter and other programs). Read the full blog at http://blogs.bestfriends.org/index.php/2014/09/08/is-pet-overpopulation-a-myth/
Resistance exists to some spay/neuter programs, such as the trap/neuter/release (TNR) of community/feral cats. Some people care nothing about these felines, even though most often “cat colonies” begin through the abandonment/dumping of house pets. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
February is known as spay/neuter month through a program called World Spay Day. There are a number of fine veterinarians as well as opportunities to engage with low-cost spay/neuter clinics, and there are vouchers for Casper area pet owners (visit http://www.cwsnf.org/ and http://animaladoptioncenter.org/spay-neuter/ for more information). If your pet needs the surgery, talk with your vet or visit the above websites to learn more. There are many health and other benefits of spay/neuter. Be part of the solution to advance our nation to no longer kill healthy, adoptable pets by reducing litters.
Interested in joining the No Kill movement? In addition to spaying/neutering your own pets and spreading the word about the benefits of those surgeries, you can also follow Best Friends on Facebook and Twitter and use hashtags #NoKill and #NoMoreHomelessPets. There are many other ways to be involved: (1) support other no-kill shelters and organizations; (2) help transport pets from kill shelters to rescues and other organizations that don't euthanize; and (3) educate others about how to prevent euthanization of healthy, adoptable pets. Also, adopt one yourself and/or encourage your family and friends to adopt. If you're looking for a purebred pet, more than 25% of those animals brought into shelters are purebred, and there are numerous rescue organizations that specialize in various breeds (ie, Springer Spaniel Rescue, King Charles Cavalier Rescue, Basset Rescue, etc – find them on the Internet).
We can all be part of the solution and help reduce the number of animals killed in this nation. Can we have a future of no-kill? Perhaps. I, for one, certainly hope so.
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.