New Year's Wishes

Jan 3, 2015

So cute - so sweet - so many that need homes!
Credit abcrumley [Flickr]

Current statistics indicate only 2 or 3  of the kittens in the picture will be adopted - the others will be euthanized because there are not enough homes.   The answer is not more more homes, but fewer kittens (and puppies) born into a society where there are just too many already!

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At the start of this new year, a lot of us are thinking about making resolutions for changes or improvements we would like to see in the next twelve months. I admit that I have my own wish list - not just for my pets, or yours, but for all companion animals.

I would start by wishing for an end to puppy mills, those large-scale pet breeding operations that focus solely on profit and often ignore the health and well-being of the animals. Pets live their lives in cages with little or no human interaction, poor hygiene, no health care, and their offspring are sickly. But they are officially pure-bred animals and are usually sold in pet stores. Several states have conducted major successful raids of these deplorable facilities. If you want a pure bred animal, contact a local breeder. If you want a pet, adopt one from your local animal shelter or rescue group.

Also on my wish list would be a society in which pets were not considered disposable items. I once had a man explain to me that he was surrendering his dog to the shelter because he and his family were going on vacation. They would just get another one when they came back. He seemed totally oblivious to the emotional pain he was causing his pet, and unsympathetic to the risk that his dog might not make it out of the shelter alive. If there were a scarcity of pets, if they were more difficult to acquire, would they be valued more? Would people be less likely to take a pet for granted? I would like to think so.

Part of that same wish would be an end to the need for euthanasia of pet animals simply because there are too many of them and not enough good homes. That means that all pet owners - you, me, ALL pet owners - would be responsible for having their companion animals spayed or neutered to stop the problems caused by pet overpopulation.

My wish list is pretty long, but that's the top three. You can help by getting your next furry friend from a shelter or rescue group (instead of a pet store or a backyard breeder), caring for your four-footed buddy and treating it well, and having it surgically altered to prevent the birth of more litters of puppies or kittens. If we're going to change the world for animals, the best place to start is right at home, when we're speaking of pets.

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