There are too many animals and not enough adoptive homes. According to the Humane Society, 6 to 8 million cats and dogs enter shelters each year and of those, approximately 2 million to 3 million are euthanized due to a lack of adoption. It’s shameful and irresponsible to euthanize millions of healthy animals, and it is preventable. Given the sheer size of animal ownership — 78 million dogs and 86 million cats are owned in the United States — there is no reason we should have to euthanize any healthy animal that arrives in a shelter.
Dog and cat overpopulation isn’t a dog or cat problem, rather it’s a “people problem.” We are simply buying too many pure-bred animals as opposed to adopting from a shelter or foster organization.
Isnt pure-bred better?
We’re conditioned to think newer is better. When it comes to animals, it isn’t. For instance, purebred dogs are at a high risk for numerous inherited diseases. In order to create and maintain the breed, the animals have to literally inbreed, and even worse, breeders often mate direct relatives to each other. The result is a significant increased inheritance of genetic diseases. Pure bred animals also have health issues due to unnatural body shapes breeding promotes. For instance at least one third of bulldogs have severe breathing issues due to the facial changes breeding has caused. French bulldogs specifically will suffer from a lifetime of ailments including ear infections, diarrhea, pinkeye, dermatitis, and obstructive airway syndromes. German shepherds are also a popular pure bred that have a high number of issues.
Shelter animals on the other hand are not pure bred, rather it’s estimated that 75% of them often come from mixed breeding and uncontrolled births. As a result, they’re genetically diverse and live healthier lives. They don’t suffer from the same ailments and medical bills that a pure bred animal will experience.
What are the societal costs?
The problem is expensive. Humane organizations spend roughly $2.5bln each year on dog and cat populations while animal control organizations spend another $1bln. That’s $11 per person per year in the US. The fact that people still purchase pure bred animals has created a tax on society that hits already overburdened city budgets.
So why are adopted animals so great?
Well, aside from the fact that you’re saving your future best friend from death, there is something very special about shelter and foster animals. For instance, a homeless dog knows he’s been homeless. Dogs have extremely high emotional IQ’s, and once they’ve lived on the street and in the shelter, they immediately recognize the love and comfort that comes from your home. There’s a reason they call it a “freedom ride” when a newly adopted dog is leaving the shelter with you in your car. The shelter is a tough place, and the immediate environment change to your car let’s them know they’re on to better things. It’s a moment you wont forget and nor will they.
How do I rescue an animal?
There is no shortage of rescue organizations for cats and dogs. In your city or town, just Google the name of your city along with the words ‘rescue’ or ‘adoption’, for instance “Dallas dog adoption” or “Houston cat rescue.” In Dallas, some well known organizations are thelovepitrescue.org and dallasdogrrr.org. Another excellent resource is AdoptaPet.com; they’re a fantastic charity with animals in nearly every city. Your local SPCA will also have wonderful animals.
Hopefully this post resonates with you. Please share it, talk about it, and adopt your next best friend. You wont regret it. At some point we’re going to put together a Netflix quality documentary about dog adoption versus purchasing pure-breeds. If you’d like to learn more about the documentary or get involved, please contact the author (email@example.com).