Baldwin County has far too many homeless cats and dogs and too few willing adopters. Many of these “unwanteds” spend a good portion of their adult lives in shelter care without the benefit of ever finding a forever home.
According to the ASPCA, there are millions that share a similar fate nationwide.
The ASPCA estimates that approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 3 million to 4 million are euthanized. The majority of these animals, 70 percent, are cats.
While it is near impossible to estimate just how many stray cats and dogs there are in the United States, the organizations predicts the range is somewhere around 70 million.
As the economic downturn hit communities across the country pet overpopulation issues were only exacerbated as residents cut back financially and many could no longer care for their beloved pets. Private donations to local animal agencies also sagged as the economy took its hits.
Organizations like ARF and Have a Heart Save a Life preserve the lives of hundreds of animals each year. Through the dedicated work of volunteers and staff thousands of animals have been saved, but countless others would be as well if residents chipped in by having pets spayed or neutered.
Owned cats and dogs generally live longer, healthier lives than strays. And, the cost of spaying and neutering a pet is less than the cost of raising puppies or kittens for one year, according to the ASPCA.
Though local shelters are “no-kill” shelters, many communities faced with the same concerns of over pet population have debated or moved forward with euthanization plans at shelters though Baldwin County has not. But this fate can be avoided all together if pet owners do their part by spaying and neutering their animals.
Doing so also helps to prevent animal cruelty by decreasing the potential for animals abandoned due to over population from ending up in an inadequate home and left uncared for.
There are also other factors to consider. Stray animals not curtailed by leashes open the door for potential biting incidents and animal attacks.
Organizations such as ARF and Have a Heart, Save a Life are also always in need of volunteers and donations of time, money and pet supplies. They help to fill a void that the resources of the county can’t seem to meet with the present staffing and manpower. Recent discussions among city leaders regarding the city and county’s 10-year service delivery agreement focused a lot on animal control issues and gaps in local services in this area. While leaders must continue to explore solutions for these concerns, spaying and neutering pets is both a short and long term necessity.
All month long, ARF if offering a reduced cat adoption fee of $25 in hopes of decreasing the population for older cats the organization has housed at its shelter. Animals are often available for adoption through ARF and Have a Heart at community events as well.
Let’s all do our part to ensure unwanted litters don’t perpetuate the problem — so that every pet has a home.