Yes, it’s true. In the USA, about every 8 seconds a cat or a dog is put to sleep. ~8 million pets are brought into shelters each year, and only half make it out alive. By alive, I mean out with an owner who loves them. The rest find themselves in a deep sleep until their hearts stop beating.
Who has it worse: dogs or cats?
The answer would actually be cats! 56% of all dogs and 71% of all entering cats are euthanized. Why so many cats? One of the reasons why is because often owners place “dog tags” on their dogs and rarely do the same for their cats. A bell can’t be heard from miles away… This is why 15% of dogs and 2% of cats that enter a shelter are reunited with their owner.
Which dogs tend to be the ones mostly euthanized?
1) “ugly” ones (I know, I know- no creature can be ugly, but I’m comparing dogs with one another in this context)
They predict that out of the total pet population in a shelter 40-60% at one time is filled with pit bulls. What’s worse is that out of 100 pit bulls, only 7 will survive (i.e. 93% will die!)
So what’s wrong with the pit?
NOTHING! Are they a little hyper, yes! (But so is a lab!) They have this terrible reputation for being aggressive. Well, as I will soon be teaching, animal behaviour stems from the owner’s energy and the way in which the owner trains his/her dog. Pits can be very aggressive and fearsome but so can my chihuahua!
The problem with pit bulls is that they often have a difficult time finding the right loving home. Many of those pit bull enthusiasts seek out “pure bred” pits, often leaving the rest to suffer. This is a serious prob in the pit bull world. Another serious issue is that pits are predominantly purchased or adopted into homes for “gangsters” (i.e. drug dealers, dog fighters, and thugs of the like.)
Of course, there are cautions to be made about pit bulls. In general, they shouldn’t be kept around small children and other dogs do to their strength. Very rarely would one intend to hurt someone, but accidents can and do happen. This doesn’t mean that an accident will happen. Don’t pretend that a dog of some other breed hasn’t snapped at you? Just when a Pit does it, the act seems more fearsome due to its bad press.
The best way to reduce the numbers of unwanted pets has been through spay and neuter programs. As difficult as this may seem for some who do not want to remove the gift of giving life from a creature, in the end you are taking life away exponentially if you don’t. (By the way, I have cried when helping in surgery to spay and neuter, but we always have to remember the good that this does for them. In fact, for dogs that may never even breed, there are oddly there some benefits, such as decreased risk in ovarian or testicular cancer.) Regardless, if unwanted creatures aren’t born, they won’t struggle on the streets, find themselves into abusive hands, or be euthanized. Obviously this isn’t ideal, but what is?
Regardless of whether or not you want a Pit Pull, cat, or rat-like dog, certainly you care about any of the hearts will stop beating this year. But that’s where you come in:
From Friday, 29 April (12:00-3:00 PM), Saturday, 30 April (12:00-3:00 PM), and Sunday, 1 May (11:00-3:00 PM) in Ithaca, NY you can make a difference. Various adoption agencies, such as the Humane Society of Skylar County and the SPCA, will be at Petsmart on 742 South Meadow Street trying to adopt out dogs and cats in a well-named event, 2nd Chance for Love because doesn’t everyone deserve a 2nd chance? This Science Diet sponsored event, provides each person who adopts a free trial bag along with their new loving friend.
Even if you don’t come to Ithaca, NY to adopt a pet, go to your own local shelter and see what you can do help or adopt. Let me repeat the statistic in another form to get you guys moving your cabooses:
4,000,000 (4 MILLION!!!!) pets are euthanized a year! But you can change it. You can make it 3,999,999. And then someone else will do their part, too, making the number 3,999,998. Until finally, we reduce that number to so few that such blog posts like this seem like ridiculous hand-waiving.
Ready? Set? Adopt!