Opinion

Owners can end animal tragedy

There are 8 million dogs and cats euthanized (put to death) each year in the United States alone. We, being humans, are responsible for this horrible crime. But by following a few easy steps, we can put an end to this unnecessary tragedy by becoming responsible pet owners.

Letting your cat breed freely could result in up to 80,400,000 more cats being born in just a 10-year period, with her kittens having kittens and so on. With dogs, it's 67,000 in six years. If we were to have homes for every dog or cat born in the U.S., an average household would have to harbor 10 dogs and 30 cats at all times.

Springtime is here and our pets are starting to look for the outdoors more. We, as pet owners, have a responsibility to them to keep them safe and healthy. Here are some tips that may be of help or interest:

1. Spay and neuter your pets before they are of reproductive age.

2. Teach your pets to be a well-adjusted part of your family and society.

3. Always keep an ID tag and license on your pet. Having a Microchip implanted is also wise.

4. Only let your pet run free in designated areas and while attended.

Dogs and cats can be spayed or neutered as early as 8 to 16 weeks of age. It is actually a bit easier on them at an early age and it can ward off some bad habits before they start. Cats become sexually mature at about 5 months, dogs around 6 months. It's best to get them fixed before then. Even just one litter contributes to pet overpopulation.

A large percentage of animals are given up to shelters due to behavior problems. Most of these are human-related. Dogs, cats, even horses, like children, don't come with a manual on how to raise them and it usually takes a lot more effort and understanding than we first thought. But there are some great people out there who can help us out and get us on track.

A lost pet can be devastating. Many dogs and cats that land in shelters are unclaimed because they do not have proper ID. Almost all veterinary clinics have forms for licensing, brochures for getting ID tags made and the ability to implant microchips. King County Animal Control will implant a free microchip if you get your pet licensed (call them for information).

If you would like to be a foster parent for a homeless pet, contact a shelter near you or call Julie Thompson at King County (206) 296-3954 or (800) 325-6165 ext. 6-3954 .

Remember, we are the cause of this horrible tragedy and we can easily put an end to it. Please be a responsible pet owner.

Jan Misner

North Bend

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