Watch Tip: Spring’s Litters

Posted on April 3rd, 2010 by Anna Nirva

Weekly Watch Tip for week of April 4:

Watch and listen for litters of stray puppies and kittens—the spring birth season is here. Call the authorities, or best in some regions, bring them into care and help them find good homes. Finally, spread the “spay-neuter” message at every opportunity. Pet overpopulation results in over 4 million deaths every year in animal shelters.

The crux of the animal welfare problem is overpopulation

You already understand the true heart of animal abuse and neglect: overabundance. Overabundance of cats and dogs leads to lower status, lower financial value, lower standards of care. If cats and dogs were difficult to reproduce, they would be expensive and highly valued. Actually some breeds are rare, expensive, and considered precious. They are lucky.

4,000,000+ cats and dogs are killed every year in pounds and shelters in our animal-loving country. Break that down for better understanding: 11,000 cats and dogs are killed every day. Well, let’s say, probably less on Sundays and we know many shelters kill on Fridays in anticipation of Saturdays when families bring in their cats and dogs “to find a new home.” I quote that because in a majority of shelters that REALLY means “to be euthanized in a few days or even less in the spring, when entire litters are brought in with the mothers too.” Surrendered pets are euthanized before the strays; no one would be looking for them.

Thursday night burger feasts

Did you know that some shelter workers who do the soul-killing job of euthanizing healthy dogs and cats have a Thursday night ritual? They buy fast-food burgers and give them to those dogs and cats who will be killed in the morning. Why do they do that? To give those poor animals a few minutes of happiness, the last happiness they will ever know.

Do not say they buy burgers out of guilt. The guilty are those who cause the animals to be unwanted and undervalued in the first place. Those who “don’t have enough time” to take care of a pet these days. Those who turn their fur children out when a new fur-less child is born instead of training and managing their family. Those who don’t train their young puppies and kittens properly and give up on them. Those who don’t bother to search for or reclaim their missing hunting dogs. The list goes on.

Should the shelter be responsible for killing so many? Some ambitious cities are working to become “no-kill;” very wonderful work. Save lives in in your community by promoting shelter adoptions and working to change shelter policy and community laws.

The guilty are everywhere

Those who don’t spay or neuter their pets and let them roam freely outdoors … they are the biggest cause of overpopulation. The burden of guilt lies in their open doorways and careless habits and self-serving rationalizations such as “my children need to see the miracle of birth” and “I might be able to get $50 bucks a puppy if I work at it; the mother is a ___ even if she is unregistered.” We have all heard this talk. Remember: 11,000 a day.

What can you do?

Promote the spay-neuter message everywhere, of course. But if you live in a high-kill region and you find an abandoned litter in a box by the highway or in a parking lot or under a bridge, do the brave big-hearted thing. Take them home, enlist the help of a vet, raise money on Chip-in, and get them ready for new homes, and then find the homes. Does it sound like a lot of work? Yes, but others do it and so can you. Those sweet little furry faces will live out lives of love given and received. Families enriched and blessed. All because of you.

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