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Pet Population Problems... Who Is Responsible?

The numbers of homeless and abandoned pets are staggering; and every year there seems to be no end in sight for a reasonable and sensitive resolution.  And not only is the excessive pet population and dog and cat issue! 


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 Pet Population Problems... Who Is Responsible?

Huge numbers of snakes, Iguanas, and exotic birds are turned loose into an environment unable to support them.  They die a lonely and tortured death in a harsh and bewildering environment, or they thrive beyond their optimal numbers How will I ever get out of here?and displace animals inhabiting a previously balanced ecosystem. Pet dogs and cats are the most recognized aspect of a sick system of misplaced, displaced, and abandoned living creatures that find themselves in an environment unsuitable for them and are incompatible with their surrounding life forms.

The HSUS estimates that animal shelters care for 6-8 million dogs and cats every year in the United States, of whom approximately 3-4 million are euthanized.  When I graduated from veterinary school in June of 1970, the problem of pet over-population was serious and nationwide.  The problem still exists today and many organizations are diligently promoting responsible pet ownership and breeding.  Progress has been made!  See news from the Humane Society of the United States below.

Stray or abandoned animals, who found themselves homeless through no fault of their own, have only us humans to blame for their plight.  So who is responsible for this tide of excess, unwanted animals?  Who’s fault is it that animal shelters are filled to overflowing with dogs, cats, reptiles, birds and even small pocket pets such as gerbils and mice?  The fate of many of these unfortunate animals is long term confinement and possibly euthanasia.

So who or what is to blame for the millions of abandoned and homeless animals that fill the nations animal shelters and humane societies? 

I know who is not to blame. . .  not the veterinarians. . . they are working every...on the right

day spaying/neutering and educating pet owners regarding pet population control.

Not the animal shelter workers, their goal is to have nothing to do!  They  work tirelessly, often on a volunteer basis, to care for abandoned pets.

Not the legal system, for if strong laws were enacted to restrict people from breeding their pets, the populace would surely rise up in protest over their being unconstitutionally deprived of their personal “rights” and freedom.

Not the professional breeders. . . they are striving to maintain high quality, genetically predictable pets and only breed their animals if they know homes are waiting for the offspring.

Well then, who’s to blame for all the excess and unwanted pets that are put to death every year for lack of a home?  Could it be the nave pet owner who, without concern for the consequences, thinks it would be “nice” to have their dog or cat “have at least one litter.”

Could it be the adults in the family who believe their children will be better educated about reproduction if they witness the "miracle of birth" when their dog or cat delivers a half-a-dozen offspring? 

Could it be the hunter whose dog is so terrific in the field that the owner wants just one pup to "keep the line going"? 

Could it be the dog or cat owner who is caught off guard when their family pet develops mammary gland enlargement and is discovered to be pregnant... again?

Could it be the person who always loved dogs and yearned to be a breeder, and decided to invest in a high priced, currently popular breed only to discover no one wanted to buy a pup and therefore had no alternative other than to "drop  them off at the local shelter"?

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Pet euthanasia solution in syringe. This cat has lived in this cage for 6 months. Cat spay and neuter patients waiting their turn. The dog and cat spay surgery is not a simple matter.
For some, euthanasia is their fate Some cats live in cages for months Spay/neuter clinics are a big help Spaying is major surgery

See Dr. Dunn's little rescued pal on Facebook

From training sessions to bird feed to dog and cat supplies to pocket pets...

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Veterinarians are educating pet owners about spaying/neutering, undaunted by occasional accusations that they are simply in favor of it for financial rewards.  Hand rearing baby kittens is a full time job!Anonymous shelter and rescue personnel are endlessly fighting the battle of pet overpopulation in the obscure trenches of the animal shelters, foster homes and rescue facilities.  Nevertheless, the numbers of pet owners keep cranking out more litters for misguided reasons and the cycle of excess animals continues.

Some of the most common excuses – reasons – myths  why John Q Public decides to breed his dog are viewed below:

  She “has papers” so her puppies will be real valuable.

  If she’s spayed before she has a litter, she’ll get fat and lazy.

  My cousin wants one of her pups.

  I want the kids to see the “miracle of birth”.

  The darned vets charge too much to have a pet spayed/neutered.

  She’ll be a better dog if she has pups.

  She'll mature physically and psychologically and be more well adjusted if she's allowed to have just one litter.Where am I?!

Where do people get these antiquated ideas?  Physiologically, socially or emotionally none of the statements above have any basis in fact.  And if you are not an experienced, trusted breeder you will need some luck in addition to some hard work getting the big bucks for that first litter you are expecting

Perhaps in this free society we should rethink our right to breed our dogs.  Perhaps we owe some thought to the welfare of the yet unborn animals; and we should consider the burden we place on this free society whose many members will be taking care of the unfortunate castoffs of that surplus litter.  Many animal shelters are county or state government supports by tax dollars which means what you or I add by adding more puppies and kittens to the population makes this issue a societal issue.  Is the next step need

Unfortunately, 4 decades ago I, too, was part of the problem.  I bred my Golden Retriever to another well bred male, had a litter of 12 nice pups.  It took nearly 5 months for me to find good homes for each one because a few of the people who intended to take a pup backed out.  Looking back now, I wish I had not bred her.  I didn't need the money; she didn't need to be a mother; the society didn't need 12 more dogs.

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