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The Truth About Animal Shelters

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1 The Truth About Animal Shelters
By Brad Densley

2 MAHATMA GANDHI “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated. I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man.”

3 Introduction As Gandhi has eloquently stated, animals are more than just pets. The relationship between man and his pets is a chance for excellence in human perspective. An opportunity to educate and enrich both the pet’s and person’s life. Most importantly, it is a chance for mankind to protect animals, who trust us, with their care and well being.


5 The Issues of the Report
The issue that is occurring currently is that; the United State’s pet population is out of control. The animal shelter system currently in place can not control the pet population alone. All pet owners must take responsibility for this issue. Lastly, with pet population rising, shelters are forced to euthanize (kill humanely) the un-adopted pets.

6 Thesis This report will describe our current system for animal rescue and adoption. It will address the flaws and short comings in the status quo. The people involved in the current issue will be identified and their roles explained. Lastly, the report will propose what can be done to correct this issue.

7 The Status Quo The status quo refers to the current system or method used presently. In the United States most pet adoption, rescue, and animal control services are provided by either a state run animal control service or by a humane society.

8 The Status Quo The number of animals handled by animal control services is staggering. The National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy reports “In 2007, over 15 million pets were handled by shelters. It is estimated that approximately 3.7 million were euthanized in the nation’s shelters in 2008.” American Humane

9 The Status Quo According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), “about 62 percent of all households in the United States have a pet. About 78.2 million dogs and about 86.4 million cats are owned in the United States.” The amount of pets in America is so large that all numbers are given as estimates.

10 The Current Problem Not Spaying or Neutering all animals
Increase in pet population Increase in cost of ownership Taking animals to shelters Overwhelmed shelters and services

11 Pet Population Growth The following chart shows the linear growth of America’s pet population. The current trend is a steady rise in pet population. This rise comes even as the shelters try to control the pet population.

12 America’s Pet Population Growth facts sheet

13 Over Crowding Published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 2005, author Stephen Halstead looked at over crowding of Michigan animal shelters. His article found that “Michigan shelters discharged 134,405 cats in 2003: 76,321 (57%) by euthanasia and (24%) by adoption.” Twice the number killed because the shelter couldn’t house them longer.

14 Over Crowding The report on Michigan is close to a national average for how shelters handle incoming pets. Sadly, most pets sent to shelters are kept only as long as they have space and funding. In regards to the future, the data suggests that more animals will be killed due to a rising population of pets.

15 What Overcrowding Looks Like

16 The People Involved In animal adoption, rights enforcement, and animal care there are two different groups involved. The first group is the functioning group; meaning, they have a functioning realistic way of handling animals. They are most commonly state-run humane societies and shelters. Secondly, the non-functioning groups, which are most commonly animal rights groups that have little impact on the pet population.

17 The Functioning Group The majority of animals adopted, rescued, or processed go through this group. This group is comprised of humane societies and shelters that actively adopt pets and provide spay/neuter options to pet owners. This group often conducts studies and analysis of the current pet problem.

18 The Functioning Group Details
The Utah humane society is a good example of a functioning service. According to their annual facts report published in 2011, “they have a staff of 53 people, handle 11,000 animals per year, and adopt 7,500 of the animals handled that year. They do this with an annual budget of 3.8 million dollars.” Their adoption rate is between 68% and 70% each year. Utah about us

19 The Non-Functioning Group
This group does not actively participate in the adoption process, pet rescue, or pet population control measures. They exist, as private businesses, to speak for animal rights or about the ethics of animals in relation to humans. They are non-profit groups that rely on donations and sponsorships.

20 PETA’s Fund Raising Photos
PETA often uses disturbing images to trigger outrage and financial donations.

21 The Non-Functioning Group Detail
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is a very well known animal rights group. According to PETA’s facts website, “PETA is staffed by over 850 workers, they have an annual budget of over 37.5 million dollars, and have only adopted approximately a thousand animals since it opened in PETA kills 91% of all pets it adopts.” This is why it is a non-functioning solution.

22 What Can Be Done This particular situation does have solutions. It is shown that using shelters and humane societies alone are not an effective solution. Responsibility for this issue resides with the pet owners and pet lovers in America. The following options are shared with the animal shelter community and with animal rights organizations.

23 Spay and Neuter Unless you intend to responsibly breed your pet, you should get your pet spayed or neutered. Most local humane societies or shelters offer a low cost spay and neuter. Most shelters spay and neuter pets they shelter. This ensures their part in controlling the pet population.

24 Microchip and Identification
By the use of microchips pet owners can track the location of their pet if they become lost. Microchips can be placed at animal shelters for a small fee. Another option is to put collars on your pets with your contact information. This is extremely important because many dogs and cats are euthanized each year due to owners unsuccessfully finding their pet.

25 Donations and Volunteering
Donations are a prime source of funding for animal shelters in the United States. Although they have a state granted budget, additional funding ensures a better chance of adoption for the pets. Volunteering your time is another good option for helping shelters. Many shelters have a minimal staff and can not accommodate all of the animals they are housing.

26 Conclusion Our responsibility as pet owners is to ensure that we do what is morally correct. This report aimed to define and show the true size of the pet population. It also explains the details of our current problem. Lastly, it shows that the solution is attainable and a worthwhile goal. It is not too late to make a difference and it is not too late to save a life.

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