■ Metro Service
There is no end to the companionship, love and joy a pet can bring to one’s life. That is perhaps one reason why the number of pets surrendered to shelters each year so greatly upsets animal lovers. But the same places that house animals that were lost or abandoned can be the very locations where families find new pets to love.
The ASPCA estimates that 6.5 million companion animals enter animal shelters in the United States each year. According to its most recent report, the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies says around 82,000 cats and 35,000 dogs were taken into Canadian shelters in 2015.
Animal shelters, rescue groups, pounds, and humane societies are great places to begin searching for new companion animals. The organization DoSomething.org states that, each year, approximately 2.7 million dogs and cats are euthanized because shelters are too full and there aren’t enough adoptive homes. Homeless animals outnumber homeless people five to one. While private breeders and reputable pet stores may have purebred animals that make great pets, to relieve the problems of relinquished or homeless pets residing in crowded shelters, prospective pet parents are urged to first consider adopting shelter pets. The following are reasons why adopting shelter dogs or cats is such a great idea.
Well-behaved animals: The Humane Society of America says most shelter pets end up in facilities not because of behavioral issues or something they did wrong, but due to circumstances affecting their owners, such as moving or divorce. That means there are thousands of housebroken, behavior-trained pets just waiting for a new family.
Lower costs: When a person adopts a pet, microchipping, first immunization costs, neutering/spaying, and some vet costs may be covered by the adoption fee. Plus, that adoption fee can be hundreds of dollars less than purchasing a pet from elsewhere.
Longer life expectancy: The Canine Journal says “mutts,” or animals whose genetic makeup are a combination of at least two breeds, tend to have fewer health problems and live longer than their purebreed counterparts. But shelters also house many pure-breeds for those who prefer to go that route.
Room for others: For every adopted cat or dog, room is freed up to take in more pets that need assistance.
Hurt puppy mills: Puppy mills produce pets in factory-style facilities that seldom take the welfare of animals into consideration. Adoption hurts puppy mills’ bottom lines and helps fight against their inhumane breeding techniques.
Animal shelters can be the first and last stop for animal lovers looking to welcome companion animals into their lives.