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Euthanasia: Whose fault is it anyway?-New York State Humane Association article

"People take the job of euthanizing animals because they love them and want to provide as much comfort as possible."

Stephanie IaaFarge
Dir. of Counseling Services
ASPCA, NYC

 

Westchester and Putnam:
The Pet Overpopulation Crisis

photo of mother cat nursing 4 kittensIn seven years, one female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 cats and in 6 years, one female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 dogs. As long as these birth rates exist, there will never be enough homes or shelter space for all of the cats and dogs living in Westchester and Putnam Counties. Euthanasia can be, and often is, the grim reality for homeless animals. An even worse fate, for the many pets abandoned on our streets, is to die lingering, painful deaths from exposure, disease, or starvation and to suffer abuse and cruelty.

Recall the tragic story of Midnight, who sought refuge for herself and her newborn kittens on the grounds of Sing Sing Prison in the spring of 2001. Westchester correction officer Sergeant Ronald Hunlock crushed her 5 kittens to their painful death in a prison trash compactor. Although Ronald Hunlock was convicted and sentenced for his act of cruelty under New York's then newly enacted Buster's Law, our local population of homeless animals continues to grow daily. Midnight and her kittens are but one example of animals living in Westchester and Putnam who endure untold suffering because there are simply not enough homes and families to care for them.

Did you know:

  • Each day 10,000 humans are born in the U.S.-and each day 70,000 puppies and kittens are born.
  • The Humane Society of the Untied States estimates 8-10 million adoptable cats and dogs enter U.S. shelters each year. Despite the fact that 25% of these animals are purebreds, 4-5 million must be euthanized annually because there are not enough homes or room at shelters for them all.
  • USA Today reported that it costs taxpayers an estimated 2 billion dollars each year to round up, house, kill, and dispose of homeless animals.

The good news is that we can choose to help solve this problem. The decisions we make concerning our own pets have a huge impact on pet overpopulation. We can help all of Westchester and Putnam's animals by:

  • Spaying and neutering our dogs and cats and encouraging others to do the same. Spaying and neutering our pets is the single most important step we can take in solving the pet overpopulation crisis. In addition, spaying and neutering has health benefits for our pets and often solves other pet-related problems in our homes and the community. If money is an issue, we have many local low-cost spay/neuter resources available to us.
  • Understanding the commitment we must make before we bring pets home. Many of us underestimate the time, energy, and money required to care for a pet. Getting a pet should never be an impulse decision. When we adopt a pet responsibly, we are committing to care for the animal's lifetime-over 15 years in many cases. Learn about the 4 critical steps that are necessary to consider when adopting a pet responsibly.
  • Adopting from one our local shelters or animal organizations. Westchester and Putnam Co. have over 20 nonprofit organizations dedicated to finding homes for pets with responsible pet guardians. They have a large selection of adoptable pets in all breeds, ages, and personalities. Adoption counselors from these organizations have experience pairing individuals and families with well-matched pets. Their motivation is to place pets in appropriate homes to ensure a happy ending for both the animals and the families they adopt to.
  • Not buying animals from pet stores. Veterinarians warn people against purchasing puppies from pet stores and through classified ads because many sell puppies that come from puppy mills or inexperienced backyard-hobby breeders. Breeding practices at puppy mills and unprofessional breeders doom many of these animals to hereditary afflictions and disease and are a major factor in the pet overpopulation crisis. View scenes from a puppy mill (not for the faint-hearted though). If you are interested in a particular breed, it is important to remember that 25% of the animals surrendered to Westchester and Putnam's shelters are purebred and most are available for adoption. Breed rescue organizations are also a good resource for knowledgeable advice about particular breeds and adoptable pets.
  • Supporting our local shelters and animal welfare organizations by volunteering, donating, and supporting their fundraisers. Our local organizations are in great need of volunteers and money.
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