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Pet Overpopulation

Pet overpopulation has become a grave cause of concern throughout United States. It has also become one of the leading causes of death of millions of innocent pets every year. Read through the following article and learn about the various causes of overpopulation of pets.
PetPonder Staff
A young pup is supposed to be cuddled and loved. The pup is a living animal and is bound to grow up into a large dog. This means that his needs grow and so do his feeding requirements. Coughing up the monthly or half-yearly veterinarian bills becomes a problem. Also, one does not have the time to play and take the poor pet for walks. So, what's the best solution? Drive the dog to a far away place from home and abandon the poor soul. He is left to fend for himself and his skills of the wild are as good as none. He may be hit by a passing car as he is frantically trying to search for his home, his family. Those who abandon him may be enjoying a nice hot meal in their comfortable home. But the poor dog, dependent on these stone-hearted humans, is hungry and is trying to find scraps from the bins. He may end up in a shelter and if lucky, might be readopted. Or else, he will have to face an untimely death by shelter euthanasia.
Overpopulation of pets has become one of the most serious problems faced by the United States. People adopt cats and dogs as well as other animals as pets. When they no longer can fit into their personal requirements, they are either abandoned or dumped in shelters. Many people breed their purebred dogs and cats and when they cannot sell the offspring, all they do is abandon the helpless kittens or pups in a bin. This causes an increase in the population of stray pets on the street. And if you spot someone doing the same mistakes, make it your moral responsibility to correct them or seek help from the proper authority to stop them from doing so.
Facts about Pet Overpopulation
✓ Every 8 seconds, 1 cat or dog is sent to an animal shelter every year in the United States.
✓ Most of the animals placed in shelters are offspring of a favorite family pet.
✓ There are about 8 million abandoned, stray and unwanted pets living in animal shelters in the United States.
✓ Of the 8 million pets, 3.7 million pets are euthanized every year for want of space.
✓ There are 5 out of 10 dogs and 7 out of 10 cats euthanized in shelters as there is no one to adopt them.
✓ There are only 50% of abandoned dogs reclaimed by their owners and less than 10% cats who are taken back by their rightful owners.
✓ There are over 163 million pet cats and dogs in the US. Out of these, 1 in every 20 pets will end up in a shelter by the end of every year.
What Leads to This State?
The above figures are startling and we need to open our eyes to the evils of this problem. Many of our own mistakes add to the woes of overpopulation. The causes are as follows:
✠ Breeding Pets Irresponsibly
In spite of the awareness among people about spraying and neutering their pets, people choose not to do so. For reasons unknown, they overlook the fact that they are unintentionally adding to the number of abandoned pets. Some think that their animals won't get pregnant accidentally. But, an animal in heat is very difficult to control. They know no other way, but to satisfy their instincts. They will break off chains and tear open screens, all for reaching a mate. There are people who think that breeding is fun. They intentionally get their animals to breed and look for potential buyers or just for a heck of an experience. These people do not realize that breeding animals for profit or fun is wrong. If one does not get to sell off the offspring or are unable to take care of the many young ones, all one does is to dump the helpless creatures in rubbish bins or shelters. Thus, every pet owner should consciously get their pets neutered/sprayed by the time they reach 8 weeks of age. And remember, even if you think you will be able to find a home for every single kitten/puppy, you are still responsible. Every irresponsibly bred kitten/pup finding a home, means that there is one in the pet shelter that will lose out on a potential family. They will remain in shelter and many of those animals you gave up for adoption, may find themselves ending up in a shelter as well.
✠ Pets from Shelters... a Common Avoidance
Many people are under the impression that a pet should be bought from a breeder or a pet store itself. What they do not seem to understand is that there are many animals in shelters who are in need of a home. They are just as good as the pups and kittens sold by pet stores. Many are not even aware that these puppies are bred in 'puppy mills'. They are kept in cages and not allowed to play or even socialize. Irresponsible breeders think only of profit and do not value life. You can even buy free pets via an Internet or newspaper ad or adopt one from a friend. But, you are just giving an outlet to irresponsible people to dispose off their unwanted animals. So, say no to these pet stores, irresponsible breeders, etc. If you are looking for a pet, make sure you visit an animal shelter. You will find many adorable, friendly and good companions as pets. These animals cost less than what you would have spent on a well-bred animal and in most cases are already vaccinated and neutered. Thus, you even save a couple of dollars on the veterinarian's bill.
✠ Lost and Abandoned
One thing I hate to know or read about is abandoned pets. For those who think of or have relinquished their pets to the streets, I would like to ask them a question. Would you by any chance think of abandoning someone of your own family like old parents or kids on the streets, in case you no longer can take care of them? The answer is surely going to be NO. Whatever happens, you will try to find a way to support your family or look for alternative arrangements to help your family. Then how can one think of abandoning their pets who are totally dependent on them? Animals who are habituated to living in a house cannot adjust to a life without a home. Just because an animal cannot speak or demand things, does not mean the pet lacks feelings. They too have emotions and will be in great pain when abandoned to an unknown fate.
Before you bring home a pet, make sure you consider the financial implications as well as other factors of owning a pet. They are not a toy to be played with when you have the time or mood. They are a responsibility that needs your 100% commitment. A 'new baby', inability to afford or time constraints are reasons cited for abandoning pets. Ponder over each and every minute detail, before you think of owning a pet.
How Can I Help
You can help by thinking of adopting pets from animal shelters as well as rescue centers. Most of these shelters have animals who are already potty trained and have received obedience training. They were pets and lived with a family. Left alone to die, these animals are looking for friendly and loving people who will care for them. When you bring home a pet, make sure you get them sprayed/neutered as soon as possible. This will end the problem of the so-called accidental breeding. Do not encourage irresponsible breeders by buying pets from them. If you find or know someone who is breeding irresponsibly and treating animals inhumanely, alert the authorities.
It is a serious issue faced not only by Americans, but also by people all around the world. Humans can become so insensitive that they cannot see the plight of animals around them. I firmly believe, animals too have emotions and the ability to feel things. So, if you want a pet, make sure you first consider adoption. Help an animal once and he will be your friend for life. Empathy towards pets is the biggest virtue that lacks in majority of the people. Before one carries out even a single act of cruelty against an animal for fun, experience or just because the animal is troublesome, make sure they imagine themselves in place of those animals. Would you like to be treated this way? It's worth thinking over it.