There are eight-million dogs and cats euthanized (put to death) each year in the United States, about 6,000 of these take place at our King County shelter. We, being humans, are responsible for this horrible crime. But by following a few easy steps, we can end 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. Before your animal breeds, go to a shelter where they have no choice but to euthanize animals. See first hand what these poor animals are going through.
Although the shelters do their best for the unwanted animals, when they arrive they are stressed, sometimes ill and acting out due to being frightened. It’s so unjust and we can make a difference. The best way to end this cruelty is to get your pet fixed, train them and keep them healthy and safe.
Adopting from a shelter will give an already living animal a new beginning. King County has made great strides in getting more animals adopted. In 1990, only 19 percent left the shelter alive, now it’s around 50 percent. But we can do better and here are some pointers on how.
1. Springtime is around the corner and our pets are starting to look for the outdoors more. Spay and neuter your pets before they reach a reproductive age.
2. Teach your pets to be a well-adjusted, respectful part of your family and society.
3. Always keep an ID tag and license on your pet. Having a microchip implanted is also very wise.
4. Only let your pet run free in designated areas and while supervised.
Dogs and cats can be spayed or neutered as early as 8-16 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.
For low-cost spay and neutering information, contact the King County Animal Control at (206) 296-7387 or (800) 325-6165, extension 6-7387 (www.metrokc.govpets), the Humane Society at (425) 641-0080 (www.seattlehumane.org), Seattle Animal Control at (206) 386-4254 (www.cityofseattle.-net/rca/animal), or PAWS (425) 787-2500 (www.paws.org). On the private sector, look in the yellow pages under veterinarian’s for low-cost spay and neuter clinics.
A large percentage of animals are given up to shelters due to behavior problems. Most of these are human related. Pets don’t come with manuals on how to raise them and it usually takes a lot more effort and understanding than we first thought. There are some great people out there who can help us get on track. By calling the numbers listed above, your local veterinarian or one of many private obedience trainers, you can get help with behavior problems and get into obedience classes. The above Web sites have information, also. Most of all, be patient. The training classes are just a guide. It is important to work at it regularly and be consistent. Once your pet has learned how to behave and you have learned how to communicate with them, it’s amazing what a great friend and loyal family member they can be.
A lost pet can be devastating. Many dogs and cats in shelters are unclaimed because they don’t have proper ID. Almost all veterinary clinics have forms for licensing, brochures for getting ID tags made and implant microchips. King County Animal Control will implant a free microchip if you get your pet licensed (call for information).
If your pet does turn up missing, there are hot lines at the numbers listed above to help locate your lost friend. If your pet has a license and is turned into King County Animal Control, they will give them a free ride home, give them a longer care period in the shelter if needed and can quickly get you and your pet reunited.
Remember, we are the cause of this horrible tragedy and we can easily put an end to it. Please be responsible for your pet, and pass this on. Thanks!