Sounds pretty horrific to see that many dead in just one day. But it happens.
If given a better chance, they would have been loved members of a family for life. But, they're unwanted and had no place to go but the streets.
Once on the streets they got into trouble.
People phoned the authorities and had them picked up. And from there, since nobody wanted to give them a good home, the only course of action was... permanent. Euthanasia.
Who's dying at this astounding rate? Unwanted pets. The same cute and cuddly critters that are loved and cherished by families across America.
Up to 5 million cats and dogs are euthanized across America every year. That comes down to:
- About 13,000 dead in one day.
- About 500 dead in one hour.
- About 9 dead every minute.
The leading cause of death among pets is our own overpopulation policies. And it's entirely preventable before it starts with spaying and neutering.
Why Is This Happening?
From the clinic's perspective, it's a numbers problem. There's just no room and no loving homes for all of these animals being made by our frisky dogs and cats.
And it's not like we can blame our pets. They're just doing what comes naturally.
Who's letting these extra puppies and kittens be made? Households that haven't spayed or neutered.
Maybe a dog strays and finds a mate, then returns home to have the puppies. Maybe a cat finds a partner while out on the prowl. However it happens, it's hard-wired into animals to find a mate and reproduce. It's what they're built for. Unless we step in, it's what they're going to do.
Many households don't spay or neuter their pets because they just don't have money or access. Pet overpopulation is most problematic in rural communities. This is where families have to drive a long way to see a vet. So, they just don't.
Other households, not necessarily rural ones, may have the intention of spaying or neutering. But, they just don't catch it in time.
Cats can go 'into season' as young as 4 months old. There's no need to wait until an animal reaches 6 months of age to have this procedure done. Delaying can give an animal the chance to find a partner and mate. That's when we get our puppy and kitty overpopulation problem.
And some animal shelters have policies that don't help matters.
Depending on the shelter and its budget, it may release un-spayed and un-neutered pets to adopters. The shelter will make a strong statement that pets have to be spayed or neutered very soon. But, many families won't follow through due to lack of time or lack of money. Sure, it would be best to release only spayed or neutered pets, but sometimes our systems just can't support those goals.
The Business of Death
While the death of all these puppies and kittens is horrible on its own, taxpayers and business feels the pinch too. Here's how the numbers break down, financially.
Unwanted animals start costing money when they have to be picked up. Someone has to pay animal control and put those trucks on the road.
Then, animal shelters have to staff employees to take care of these animals while they desperately search for a home for them. And that search? Marketing costs can be high, and the stakes for not getting these animals adopted are even higher.
So, once all adoption efforts have failed, shelters have to pay for a final solution.
Pet euthanasia costs anywhere from $65 to $300 or more. And that's without cremation costs, which bump the price up to $200 to $750 and up. This is for each animal, so imagine what has to be paid for a litter of 6.
Now, compare those numbers to the $20 co-pay that some states have arranged to offer for spaying or neutering. Private operations can run up to $300, but this is still less than half the price of some euthanasia costs. And that doesn't include animal control and shelter housing costs.
Spaying and neutering is cheaper.
It's more humane, resulting in less killing.
And it can stop problem behaviors before they start.
A cat that's been neutered early stands a much better chance of not starting to spray to mark territory. Dogs neutered early are significantly less prone to aggression. That means less injuries and less pet owner costs and problems overall.
The clincher? When an animal is spayed or neutered early, they recover faster. They suffer fewer post-op infections. They can get back to living faster and better.
What Can I Do?
Right now, the biggest problem is spreading the word. Send this to your mayor. Your congressman. Or anyone you think needs to know.
Organizations like SpayFirst have solutions for rural communities as well as options for existing animal hospitals and shelters to expand their services, bringing in more money with minimal out-of-pocket capital.
Help break the cycle of animal cruelty. Forward this newsletter via email,
or post it on your Facebook.