We were made aware of an online petition circulating the internet earlier this week, raising awareness toward our animal shelter for threatening to euthanize a dog.
At face value, it seemed a worthy endeavor to help save a three-legged pup from its demise. In reality, however, it did little to help the situation.
Our animal shelter staff, volunteers and advocates alike have been working their butts off to get dogs (and cats) into homes as quickly as they can.
Outside of severe medical issues, the shelter tries to limit euthanasia as often as it can. But when the number of animals doubles or triples the number going out, their hands are tied.
When the precious face of Cliff, a three-legged black lab mix, popped up, people were irate that he’d be on the euthanasia list.
What people probably didn’t know was the poor soul had arrived at the shelter with a badly injured leg. Shelter staff acted quickly, amputating the leg to allow Cliff to run around happily with a ball in his mouth.
Cliff more than likely was not on the urgent list because of his missing limb. In fact, he was one of six dogs that day, with all of the others appearing to be in perfect health.
It’s sad and heart-breaking when an animal is put to sleep, but 99% of the time, it comes down to one thing — a lack of space.
On Wednesday alone, 22 stray dogs arrived at the animal shelter.
It mirrors spikes seen in September (22 strays and 10 owner surrenders on two separate days) and October (16 dogs arriving at the shelter one day and 10 on another). And that doesn’t include the average of anywhere from three to five dogs coming in on any of the other given days.
Rescue partners have been fantastic in stepping up, but they too face the same problem — too many coming in, not enough going out.
It’s been an issue for several years, to the point where several organizations had to actually stop their intake entirely until fosters and adoptions picked up.
The math is simple: for every dog that comes in, it takes another one to go to foster care or its new home to bring it back to even. When 20 dogs are arriving at one time, it takes awhile for things to even out. The problem is the dogs don’t stop coming in.
Starting a petition to bring awareness to these urgent animals is noble, but if you’re really trying to fix the problem, make sure to include a link to a foster — or better yet adoption — application.
Gather signatures to urge government leaders to enact stiffer penalties for irresponsible pet owners, such as requiring spay or neuter after a certain period, to cut down on the stray population, or more stringent background checks on possible adopters to make sure they can adequately care for an animal long-term. Better yet, making and sticking to guidelines for breeders, if not cutting down on them all together.
If you can’t adopt or foster, volunteer to be a transporter, as many shelters and rescues will adopt out of city, state and sometimes the country.
Dogs will be dogs. But we, as humans, can do better. If we want the numbers to turn around, we’ve got to take action.
Source : Weather Ford