As the year 2009 comes to an end, over 4 million dogs and cats will have been euthanized in the United States alone due to over population in animal shelters. Dogs and cats that do not end up living in shelters often live as strays on the street. Television commercials such as those from the ASPCA which focus on promoting animal adoption and ending violent animal cruelty, often fail to educate the public as to the fate of the millions of animals that live in the shelters if they are not adopted. There are many people that believe that it is kinder to euthanize dogs and cats than it is to allow them to live their lifetime in cages in animal shelters. Others criticize this opinion saying that euthanizing animals merely treats a symptom of a much greater problem. After working in an animal shelter in the past, it is clear to me that even the largest and most well-funded animal shelters cannot accommodate the amount of stray dogs and cats that live in this country.
Since so many people consider companion animals to be members of the family, I find it surprising that more people, especially those with their own dogs and cats, do not appear to take more notice of the overwhelming number of dogs and cats that shelters euthanized every year. I find the practice of euthanizing shelter animals to be an issue of cruelty because most of these animals are healthy ones that need a loving home and would make excellent companion animals if given the chance.
I do not think that routinely euthanizing shelter animals as a measure of population control is something that we should continue to allow. One of the most effective ways to start to combat this problem begins with pet owners themselves. It is very important for pet owners to spay/neuter their own pets. It is also important for us to encourage others to spay/neuter their own pets and support spay/neuter programs to control cat and dog populations in our communities. This would gradually reduce the amount of animals in shelters to numbers that the shelters can accommodate, ending or severely limiting the need for euthanizing millions of healthy animals each year.
Filed under: animal cruelty, animal ethics, animal law, animal welfare, spay/neuter Tagged: | animal abuse, animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal ethics, animal law, animal shelters, animal suffering, animal welfare, ASPCA, euthanasia, kill shelters, pets, spay/neuter