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An Introduction to Our Local Companion Animal Welfare PlightPosted Tuesday, November 15, 2011, at 6:21 PM
I have been volunteering in companion animal welfare for many years and there is as great a need today as there was all those many years ago. I will say that in Bedford County we are much more fortunate than most of the other 95 counties in Tennessee. At least half do not have animal control or a humane in their counties. We have two animal controls and a humane. And there are even fewer counties who have a low cost spay/neuter clinic. We are, again, one of the fortunate few. There are many hard working individuals who help in these efforts, but there is still much work to be done.
Although there has been great progress in the areas of sheltering, adoptions and spay/neuter, where we fall short is education. So, I decided to blog in hopes of educating the community of the "tails" of trials, tribulations and triumphs of these people and those that they help. With more education, we can further reduce the animal population and the needless euthanasia of healthy adoptable animals.
Approximately, 3 million healthy and treatable dogs and cats will be euthanized in shelters across America this year. 25 percent of the animals in shelters are purebred. Currently, only 20 percent of pet owning Americans adopt from shelters or rescue groups. Statistics show most animals that end up in shelters are there because of "people issues" not animal behavior issues. Common reasons are the death of an owner, divorce, bankruptcy, allergies and lack of time. Those who enter shelters as pups or kittens are most often part of a litter where the owner of the parents did not practice spay/neuter, either because of lack of education or monetary constraints.
Right now, in Bedford County the adoption rates are improved by a monthly transport that takes animals to the north helping to reduce the euthanasia rates. This saves some, but there is not enough room for them all. In addition to this, the County has experienced a population explosion the past few years, which in turn has increased the number of pets in the area and the number that are destroyed.
Of the animals brought into our local shelters, 95% are unaltered. The majority are brought in as strays. Some are owner surrendered. Stray animals pose a real problem. They can frighten people, fight with other animals, cause car accidents, prey on wildlife and damage property. Having a pet altered cuts down on the number of animals wandering the streets. Animals live a much longer and happier life if they are fixed. In females, spaying, especially before the first heat, helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer. Neutering a male before 6 months of age prevents testicular cancer. Spaying and neutering makes better behaved pets and aids in reducing the pet overpopulation.
To help end needless euthanasias the answer is simple. We must promote adopting animals from shelters and rescue groups and make sure animals are surgically altered so that they cannot produce unwanted litters.
I hope you will help me in this plight and look for my blogs as well as share them with your family and friends.
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Kimberly is avid companion animal welfare advocate. She helps to educate the community on animal issues relevant to this area and is involved in organizing the efforts of others who have the same passion.