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
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
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
- 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
- Supporting our local shelters and animal welfare
organizations by volunteering,
donating, and supporting their fundraisers.
Our local organizations are in great need of volunteers