Adopt Don’t Shop

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Karaline Baldini, Writer

One in five dogs and cats that enter a shelter in the US each year are euthanized. Of those cats and dogs, about eighty percent are healthy and ready to be adopted.  


Open admission shelters are committed to taking in every animal regardless of age, breed, health, and behavior. These types of rescues are sometimes called “kill shelters” because, tragically, they are forced to euthanize cats and dogs when the shelter runs out of space. Limited admission shelters turn away some animals, which allows those rescues to maintain a higher placement rate


There is an unwarranted stigma around adopting animals from kill shelters. Labeling a shelter as a kill shelter drives the public away from volunteering, and adopting animals from there.  Adopting a cat or dog from a kill shelter could save its life. The animals who are turned away from limited admissions shelters still need to be taken care of. All animals are deserving of love; “kill shelters” accept all cats and dogs, not just the cute, healthy ones. 


Pet overpopulation is a huge problem in our country. Everyday, 70,000 puppies and kittens are born. There are simply not enough rescue operations and willing families to care for all these animals.


Pet overpopulation is especially bad in the southern states. For that reason, there are pet rescues that transport animals from the South up North to be adopted. My dog came to Massachusetts from Alabama to be adopted.  


Regarding animal overpopulation in the South, Karen Walsh, the transportation director for the ASPCA, said, “These areas have a long mating season because of the warm weather, and a lot of areas don’t have shelters or low-cost spay and neuter clinics.”  


Sweet Paws Rescue is a non-profit cat and dog rescue organization based in Massachusetts. Their team in the South rescues dogs and cats to be transported back to Massachusetts for adoption. They have rescued 18,000 dogs, puppies, cats and kittens. If you are interested in volunteering for Sweet Paws Rescue, visit this link.


One way pet owners can help reduce animal overpopulation is by spaying and neutering their pets. Many of the animals surrendered to shelters are the result of an unplanned pregnancy.


Getting your pet fixed also has health and behavioral benefits. Neutered cats are less likely to roam and get into conflicts with other cats. Neutered animals are also less likely to mark with urine.


Spaying your pet reduces her chances of breast cancer, and uterine infections. It completely eliminates the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer. Neutering your pet prevents testicular tumors and prostate problems.   


If you buy a dog over the internet, at a pet store, or from a puppy broker, it most likely came from a puppy mill. Puppy mills are large breeding facilities that prioritize profit over the welfare of the dogs


The breeding dogs in puppy mills are kept in cramped cages and receive minimal veterinary care. When they can not breed anymore, they are killed or abandoned.     


Puppies from puppy mills are also more likely to suffer from health and behavioral issues caused by poor sanitation, lack of preventative veterinary care, and frequent inbreeding


It is heartbreaking and frustrating to buy a pet only to find out it’s sick and you need to spend hundreds of dollars to treat it.   


The Human Society reports that each year 2.6 million puppies are sold after originating from a puppy mill. Instead of shopping in stores or online for a pet, adopt from a shelter. There are thousands of pets waiting to be adopted. Do not support the breeding of more cats and dogs when they are already overpopulated.    


In the next year, if 1 in every 5 Americans who wanted a cat or dog adopted from a rescue or shelter, not a single adoptable cat or dog would be euthanized in a shelter, says the Humane Society.   


The cats and dogs currently in shelters need our help. Adopting a pet from a shelter opens space for another animal in need of care and will help stop cruel animal breeding.