The Importance of Understanding Pet Overpopulation [video]

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Do you know it is estimated that our four legged canine companions have been domesticated and living with us for the past 33,000 years?

Interestingly enough, the origin of the domestic dog evolved from the Gray Wolf whose had a bad reputation in American folklore for a long time. It is said that the wolves who worked best with man as a hunter slowly evolved into what we know today as the domestic dog.

One of the most amazing aspects of wolves is their ability to cooperate in many different situations. They are as social and family oriented as we humans are, so it is no surprise that they are presently able to display and comprehend a certain degree of human speech (and in some cases, our language, speech and behavorial skills that are similar to our own.) Check out this Husky saying, “I Love You” in dog-speak. It has over 90 million views! Pretty Amazing!

Today, dogs are characterized as Loyal, Trustworthy, Loving, and Intelligent, so you can understand why dogs would be considered ‘Man’s Best Friend’. Do these traits sound familiar to you? They are all traits we want to see in the one’s we love. It’s no surprise why pets have become such an important part of our lives. So if this is the case, why has pet overpopulation, abandonment and abuse not been resolved or even been reduced statistically?

According to the American Humane Association , pet “overpopulation” is driven by two important factors:

  1. allowing cats and dogs to reproduce with little chance to find homes for the offspring and
  2. pets being relinquished by owners who can no longer keep their animals, or who no longer want them. Every year, millions of cats and dogs are euthanized in our nation’s animal shelters because there are more pets than there are responsible homes for them.

Until this issue is resolved, The American Humane Association believes that all cats and dogs adopted from public or private animal care and control facilities should be spayed or neutered (i.e., sterilized).

Many people may feel pet overpopulation is something they can’t fix or solve and because of this it tends to be ignored. It’s an issue that seems overwhelming unless you sit down and look at the core of the problem.

The Huffington Post took on the question to what’s The Solution To 600 Million Stray Dogs in Asia?

The headlines read as:

  • “190 Street Dogs Shot.”
  • “10,000 Stray Dogs To Be Shot.”
  • “Stray Dog Deportation Plan Compared To ‘Concentration Camp’”
  • “Officials Kill 58,000 Stray Dogs.

Shanghai recently implemented a policy of one dog per family in an effort to control the animal population and curb rabies — rabies takes up to 55,000 lives per year. However, the city’s efforts have seen a backlash from pet owners with more than one dog who fear losing their additional pets.

Noah's Arks Rescue helps animals in desperate need and gets them the care they need so they can one day be ready for adoption.

Noah’s Arks Rescue helps animals in desperate need and gets them the care they need so they can one day be ready for adoption.

Adoption programs are another way to reduce the number of stray animals, an old idea that received a facelift with PetFinder.com and other online websites offering not just the opportunity to adopt a pet, but also the opportunity to procrastinate for hours online. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has a recent ad campaign that goes so far as to blame pet owners who purchase a dog, asking, “If you buy a dog, what will you do with the shelter dog you kill?”

PETA’s message sounds harsh but I do think it rings a bell with the Chinese.

Many shelters and rescue organizations do what they can to help. Their end goal is to provide unwanted pets find new homes. Unfortunately, many shelters are high kill shelters, which euthanize dogs and cats to make room for more. It’s an endless cycle and many of these animals die a slow, agonizing death. One segment of the HBO documentary, One Nation Under Dog, really details this. It’s not easy to watch but is a daily reality for many animals. The documentary details people in different walks of life and how dog ownership affects them.

Your voice helps these dogs reunite with their soldiers from war torn regions!

Your voice helps these dogs reunite with their soldiers from war torn regions!

Organizations like Noah’s Arks Rescue supply emergency medical/surgical care to abused animals. They try to bring awareness to all the abused animals in this country that are being euthanized instead of being helped. Many times, they are the last resort for the animals that are taken into their program. I visited Noah’s Arks Rescue last August. They really are an amazing group who care and take pride in what they do!

Then there are organizations such as SAC Fund who try to promote the welfare and rescue of animals in war-torn Middle Eastern countries where soldiers are stationed. Through the SAC Fund, they are able to help animals that meant so much to the troops. These animals have often provided immeasurable comfort to those serving in harsh and extremely difficult situations. Their end goal is to help these animals be reunited with their soldier via plane transport, which is not an easy thing to do.

Though very different, both Organizations above (and many others) do more than just help animals. They bring families and communities together. Volunteering your time or giving a donation (whatever the amount) goes a long distance! Consider helping your community by getting involved and saving lives in the process. You can find your local Rescue Group or ASPCA near you.

We can all make a positive difference in this world, whether it is big or small – It Matters.

In the infamous words of John Wooden, “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” I would say they are words to live by.

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