Thursday, July 26, 2007

Pet Overpopulation Is a Myth

There is not a link between breeding and shelters. In isolated areas (LA) you'll see breeding populations of pit bulls on the street. That is quite rare country wide. The causes of surrender have to do with circumstances and training, mostly. It's a people situation, not a dog situation. MOST euthanasias are feral cats. Show breeders very rarely have an animal go into a shelter. Whether or not the general public alters their pets is probably a minor factor. If your local shelter is euthanizing huge numbers of animals, look to shelter management and shelter ideology for the primary causes. Here is a quote from Nathan Winograd of No Kill fame: "In order to achieve No Kill, these animal advocates believe they must attack the problem of pet overpopulation. And, to them, that means addressing the issue of public irresponsibility through a series of punitive laws like cat licensing, pet limits, and mandatory spay/neuter which, as their logic goes, will force people with pets to be more responsible. But this approach has never worked, and never will. As a result, positive results they seek have not been forthcoming. And they will never be forthcoming, because pet overpopulation is a myth and public irresponsibility is not why animals are being killed in shelters. The real problem, the real reason we are not closer to a No Kill nation today, even though San Francisco and Tompkins County have shown us how to achieve it, the reason why people's desire for a No Kill nation is continuously being thwarted, is because those in power-the directors who run the shelters, the health department bureaucrats who often oversee them, the local governments which fund them (often inadequately), and the large, national non-profit animal welfare agencies which provide them political cover, are failing. They are failing to learn from the past. They are failing to implement the programs and services with a demonstrated track record of saving lives and/or to demand that shelters do. They are failing because they lack the vision to see the possibilities. In short, it is easier for them to kill than do what is necessary to stop it, even though stopping it requires no more money and no more staff than the status quo. In some cases, it is actually less expensive to save lives."

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