By Marissa Wetterau, Sports Editor
With the ever growing animal and pet population, there is a societal need for having animal shelters in a city or county. While the majority of pets are obtained from acquaintances and family members, 28 percent of dogs are purchased from breeders, and 29 percent of cats and dogs are adopted from shelters and rescues.
Across the United States, volunteers and staff in animal shelters and animal control facilities have to deal with the aftermath of irresponsible pet ownership along with overpopulation everyday. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) there are currently about 13,600 community animal shelters nationwide that are independent.
There is no national organization monitoring the shelters, but there should be because the shelters could be operating unethically or be causing harm to animals and the government would never know unless a complaint was made.
According to the American Humane Association, the most common reasons why people relinquish or give away their dogs is because their place of residence does not allow pets, there is not enough time, divorce/death, and behavior issues. The most common reasons for cats are that they were not allowed in the residence, and allergies. The number of cats and dogs entering shelters each year is very alarming. About six to eight million cats and dogs end up in shelters or breed rescues across the country.
Sadly, there are three million cats and dogs that get euthanized in shelters every year because their owners could not be found. Out of those three million animals, 2.4 million of them are actually healthy, treatable, and could have been put into new homes instead of “being put down.” A lot of the euthanasia that is going on, is do to overpopulation of shelters. Currently on a local level, the Brooke county animal shelter can hold about 200 dogs at a time.
“We are currently housing only about 5-6 dogs right now but this facility can hold about a little over 200 dogs.” said Tonya Bozi, one of the employees of Brooke County Animal Shelter.
The number of cats and dogs that are adopted from shelters each year is about 4 million. This number could be improved by having discount adoption days or even offering the shelter dogs or cats as service animals to people suffering from PTSD and other disabilities. Another way this adoption number could improve is educating the public properly about shelter animals. Most people want a “purebred dog” or “purebred cat”. What folks don’t realize is that only 25 percent of the population of animal shelters is made up of purebred dogs.
Now if you are part of the group that would rather have a “purebred dog” that is not from a shelter please get your puppy or dog from a reputable breeder that knows a lot about the particular breed, properly takes care of the dogs and can give you advice if something were to go wrong.
My family has been breeding Newfoundlands for a couple years now. We properly take care of our dogs and their puppies by socializing them and starting to train them at an early age so they are properly prepared for a new home. We actually check a data base to see if the potential new owners have ever been convicted of any sort of animal cruelty or have even been investigated for the matter.
We also make sure the puppies are properly vetted and actually say if for any reason the new owners could no longer take care of the puppy/dog, we will happily take it back until they can or we can keep it. We never send a puppy or dog to a home without making 100% sure it is safe for the animal.
I strongly encourage everyone to check out an animal shelter or breed rescue first before considering getting a puppy or dog from a breeder. There are many excellent dogs and cats, at a shelter that need homes. The next time you are in the market for a new pet, please check out your local animal shelter or purchase from a breeder.