The number of homeless animals in this world is completely overwhelming. International Homeless Animals Day was set into motion in 1992 by the International Society for Animal Rights. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness regarding animal overpopulation and all of the factors that contribute to it.
Why Are There So Many Homeless Animals?
1. Failing to spay or neuter your pets: This is probably one of the biggest factors of animal overpopulation. It is a major responsibility of pet owners to have their pet spayed or neutered as soon as possible, and this responsibility is all too often ignored. Pet owners fail to do this and then allow their pets to roam the neighborhood streets, leading to accidental impregnation and ultimately more homeless pets roaming the streets. Adopting from a local shelter is always the best option as they don’t allow animals to be adopted out without first being spayed or neutered. Overpopulation is a serious issue and spaying and neutering is a simple answer.
2. Buying pets rather than adopting them: People often feel that pets that come from animal shelters are damaged in some way, which is just not true. People choose to buy their pets from breeders, or worse, puppy mills rather than adopting a pet from a local shelter. They think that if they have a specific breed of dog in mind, that means they have to buy from a breeder, but in reality there are shelters all over the country that are dedicated to rescuing breed-specific dogs, or cats for that matter.
- If there is no room for more animals in the shelter, that leads to more homeless animals roaming the streets.
- When you adopt a pet from an animal shelter you are saving two lives – the life of the pet you are bringing home and the life of the animal that will be able to take its place.
3. Surrendering your loyal pet: This is truly a devastating situation and it is all too common. Over half of the animals that are brought into shelters each year come from owner surrenders. People sometimes blindly enter into owning a pet without fully considering the responsibility that comes with it, and then when the cute puppy or kitten phase is over or when things get a little bit tough, they just drop them off at the shelter.
- It is very important, especially when adopting a dog, to consider all aspects of the responsibility. If you have children, bring them to meet the dog before making a final decision. If you have other pets, explain to the shelter volunteers that you need a dog that will get along well with other pets.
- If you can’t fully commit to owning a pet then don’t adopt. It takes a huge toll on an animal when they are rescued and then abandoned by surrendering them back to the shelter. This can cause separation anxiety and depression – all things that will make it difficult for a pet to find another home.
The Hard Truth
- According to the ASPCA, approximately 7.6 million animals enter shelters around the country each year – 3.9 million dogs and 3.4 million cats.
- Approximately 2.7 million shelter animals are euthanized each year – 1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats.
- The estimates of stray, homeless cats in the United States can range up to 70 million, and it is nearly impossible to get an estimate for dogs.
One of the best things that you can do to help is to spread the word about the importance of spaying and neutering your pets. It could be as simple as sharing this article on social media. There is no overnight solution, but there are small ways that we can all contribute day by day.