Just this past week, there was a heartbreaking story in my local newspaper here in Florida. Unfortunately, it was yet another sad story about unwanted pets being euthanized at the shelter. Only this time, it was a large number of cats that were euthanized. According to the local newspaper, the owners were a young couple that was not able to afford veterinary care for their 66 cats. And out of those 66 cats, nearly half were euthanized. According to the interim shelter manager, almost all of the cats were black-and-white, and not a popular color combination. Not a popular color combo? I personally know several people who have cats with that color combo and love it.
As sad as it is, it’s not like one ever gets used to these types of stories. This type of story would upset anyone that has a soul. Yet, it’s these types of stories that seem to never go away. And they won’t go away until we do something about it. It’s not like the shelter will stop euthanizing anytime soon. I personally do not agree with euthanasia as an option for controlling the pet population. It’s not like pets are disposable. An innocent animal that gets a death sentence is not a valid option in my opinion. Imagine doing this to innocent kids. We would all be outraged, and rightly so. Yet, when it’s an animal, why should we view this as acceptable? Isn’t this the ultimate betrayal? Nonetheless, I support no-kill shelters, but they only can take a certain number of pets.
So, what other humane options do people have? Haven’t we all heard the importance of getting our cat or dog spayed or neutered? Yet, there are still many people who are not doing this. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have seen cats and dogs that are not fixed wandering around. As a matter of fact, all of my pets were either abandoned by irresponsible owners or never had a home at all. At any rate, rather than ignoring the problem, we do have options such as spaying and neutering. Doesn’t this sound like a much more humane option in comparison to euthanasia?
In addition to spaying and neutering your pet, there is another humane option that we can choose as “pet parents.” To be specific, how about adopting your pet from a shelter? Why go to a pet store or breeder when there are so many animals that need a home? Why not help lessen the problem of homeless pets by adopting? Without doubt, there are many animals that are left abandoned just wandering the streets or worse. And what do I mean by worse?
Well, we all know that foreclosures have been at an all time high. And I have heard numerous stories in the news of people who have simply left their pets alone to die in the abandoned home. Yet, the same tired excuse is heard over and over again such as there simply was not enough money to care for them. So, instead of finding a suitable home for them, they leave the animal to suffer and die. Is this really the humane option? Isn’t this too the ultimate betrayal? Once again, we wouldn’t do that to kids, and we certainly should not do that to an innocent animal. I can certainly empathize with the homeowner feeling overwhelmed by his or her financial situation, but letting an innocent animal suffer is not the solution.
Which then brings me to my next point. Why do people have animals that they cannot care for anyway? Having an animal should be a lifetime commitment. That is, the pet parent should be committed to caring for that animal until the animal reaches the end of his or her natural life. In other words, having an animal is not a decision that should be made lightly. Yes, there are many animals that need homes. Moreover, there are animals that are in need of caring and responsible pet parents. So, I hope that people will become loving pet parents when they are responsible enough to do so. Perhaps then, all of these heartbreaking stories will no longer be a part of our everyday news. As people begin to make more compassionate choices in their life, this will benefit not just us, but will spare the suffering of innocent animals. In order to truly evolve as a society, shouldn’t compassion extend beyond us?