Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Faces of the Dead. Euthanized Pets. A Plea for Responsible Pet Ownership and Shelter Adoption

We've heard about the animals who were put down in shelters because their time had ran out. They were killed to make room for new arrivals who themselves lived a short time at the shelter before they met the same fate. It is a circle of death, a slide down the slippery slope of survival into the jaws of death with a few exceptions. What a sad world we live in when you consider the thousands of animals put to death in any given day because their families no longer wanted them, because no one adopted them, because they did not have homes to begin with, because they did not have a sponsor to prolong their stay, because only a few cared.

The national (USA) statistics are staggering. According to Business Wire Feaures (1999), over $2 billion a year are spent by local governments to house and ultimately euthanize 8-10 million adoptable cats and dogs because of a shortage of homes. The Humane society of the U.S. (HSUS)estimates that 7 dogs and cats are born every day for every person born in the United States; only 1 in 5 puppies and kittens remain in their original home for his/her natural lifetime; the other 4 are abandoned to the streets or end up at a shelter. If you don't spay a female dog, that dog plus her mate and their puppies, if all remain unneutered/spayed, the exponential growth could add up to 67,000 dogs in 6 years. ( Spay USA ). Again, the HSUS estimates that only 14% of the public acquire their pets from shelters; 48% get their pets as strays, from friends, from animal rescuers, and 38% buy their pets from breeders or pet stores. These numbers make clear the importance of spaying, neutering, and responsible pet ownership.

If the numbers shock you, then the images of those who have ran out of luck and time will disturb and forever haunt you. The numbers pale compared to the actual faces of those no longer with us. Here is a page from the website of the Newnan-Coweta Humane Society and Shelter Rescue in Newnan, Georgia, USA. The pictorial list represents animals euthanized in one county alone, and most of them went to the gas chamber. Behold the true cost of irresponsible pet ownership:

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