Though we’ve been taking this whole week to devote some time to “going green” for Earth Day, we wanted to make a separate article to address the growing issue of homeless pets in America.
According to the ASPCA, about 7.6 million pets enter shelters annually. That number becomes even more staggering when considering that only 4 million pets get adopted from shelters each year. This means that the rate at which shelters are receiving animals is much higher than that of which are finding homes.
This high volume of animals constantly entering shelters means that space is very limited. Many shelters are in the practice of euthanizing animals not due to medical issues but because of the lack of space. Roughly 2.7 of animals in shelters are euthanized each year. Dogs make up 44% of the euthanasias while cats make up 52%.
Another cause of the high euthanasia rate is the overpopulation of cats and dogs. Only 10% of animals that are received by shelters are spayed/or neutered. That means that 90% of the cats and dogs that enter a shelter had been capable of breeding and producing even more homeless puppies and kittens.
Whether the pet was a stray or an owner surrender him or her to the shelter, many animals need second chances at finding a permanent home. Many shelters also require the pet to be spayed/neutered and vaccinated before the pet can go home with you. If you are looking for a specific breed of dog, know that 25% of dogs in shelters are purebreds and there are many breed-based rescues so you can find the perfect dog for you. If you already have a dog or cat at home, you can do your part in ending the overpopulation and homelessness problem of animals by spaying or neutering them. The cost of the surgery is significantly less than the cost of raising a litter of puppies or kittens.
So to break it down, here’s a list of ways you can help pets get a second chance at life:
- Volunteer your time at an no-kill animal shelter. Dog walkers, trainers, drivers, and cat attendees are almost always needed. These animals still need TLC until they find their forever homes.
- Donate to an animal shelter (money, towels, bedding, paper products, food, etc.). You can call and ask the shelter if there’s anything in particular they’re desperate for. Less money spent on supplies means more money spent on animal health.
- Foster a rescue animal. Whether you bring a senior pet, a litter of kittens, or an injured dog, you’re freeing up a spot in the shelter for an animal that is ready to be adopted.
- Adopt a rescue pet. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a specific breed, age, or temperament. The perfect pet is already out there and waiting for you to bring him or her home!
Here at Emerald Animal Hospital, we’re ready to do everything we can to help. We offer spaying and neutering services as well as a wide range of diagnostic testing and treatment options for your current and future best friends. We also offer first free exams to recently adopted shelter pets and a first free dose of heartworm prevention for your new family member. Schedule an appointment or ask us with your questions at 216-749-7161 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
And don’t forget to treat every day like Earth Day!