(Family Features) A startling reality is occurring in cities and towns throughout the United States: more than 9,000 dogs and cats are being killed in animal shelters, simply because they don’t have a safe place to call home.
And while this grim scenario unfolds daily, most people aren’t aware of the magnitude of the issue or how simple it is to help decrease these numbers and save lives.
There is a national pet crisis
Recent research from Best Friends Animal Society, the only national animal welfare organization focused exclusively on ending the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters, reveals a flawed public perception of America’s shelters and the animals in them. In fact, when asked how many dogs and cats are killed in U.S. shelters each day, half of Americans thought the number was only about 500 or less, a difference of more than 8,500 pets. One-third (32 percent) thought animals in shelters are allowed to stay there until they are adopted.
Unfortunately, that’s just not true. In fact, in many cases, homeless or displaced animals entering shelters have just 72 hours to be adopted or claimed by their owners before they are killed.
Thirty years ago, approximately 17 million pets died in shelters each year. Today that number is down to about 4 million, thanks to the continued hard work of animal welfare groups, including Best Friends, partnerships with local municipalities and innovative programs that encourage pet adoption and provide low-cost spay-neuter services. The work won’t stop until that number is zero.
How to save them all
One of the best ways to help save them all is to give an animal a second chance at life by adopting from a local shelter.
“Many wonderful cats and dogs end up in shelters – animals that are highly adoptable and would make great family members,” said Gregory Castle, chief executive officer of Best Friends Animal Society. “Unfortunately, they end up in shelters through no fault of their own. We’ve found through years of experience that these rescued animals often make the best of all possible family companions.”
Whether it is educating a friend on the importance of getting his puppy neutered or spending your Saturday afternoon volunteering at a local animal shelter, there are many ways to help save the animals in your community:
- Donate: Donations and grants fund life-saving programs for pets in need. Donating as little as $25 to Best Friends Animal Society can help.
- Adopt: Adoptions get animals out of shelters and into homes. Remind friends looking for a family pet that animals from shelters make wonderful pets.
- Spay or neuter: Spaying and neutering means fewer animals going into shelters and improves your pet’s health and behavior. Many shelters around the country provide free or reduced prices for these important services.
- Volunteer: Volunteering powers the “no-kill” movement. Find a shelter in your area and donate your time to this worthwhile effort.
- Spread the word: Amplify the urgent message of pet homelessness by educating family and friends on these startling statistics. Also help increase awareness by showing your support on Facebook or Twitter.
By starting at a grassroots level within the community, you can make a huge impact on the quality of life for pets in animal shelters nationwide. Visit www.bestfriends.org/save for more information on how you can Save Them All(tm).
Photos courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society
Best Friends Animal Society