Our local animal control killed upwards of 80% of all animals who entered their doors in 2013. Less than 20% of animals surrendered by their guardians (i.e. for documented reasons such as “moving, not potty trained, bored of pet, old, guardian passed away, stray, allergies, pregnant” etc.) survived their time in the animal shelter. Less than 20%! The shelter does not hold adoption events. They do not perform TNR to help local feral cats. They do not work with local 501(c)3 No-Kill Rescues who are more than willing to take in pets from the shelter (in an effort to work together to save lives). They do not keep their website up to date. They do not utilize social media. They are not on the top 2 websites for finding homeless pets good homes (PetFinder and AdoptaPet). I could go on and on, but you get the point. According to the ASPCA, in 2016 nearly 3 million companion animals were needlessly killed in animal shelters/pounds. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can do better. In fact, we must do better.
At Advocates 4 Animals, we operate our life-saving programs in an effort to combat shelter killing. The purpose of our programs is to keep pets from ever entering the shelter in the first place, as this has become the best way to save them. Once they enter the shelter, chances are slim when hoping for a positive outcome. Our rescue/rehab/adoption program focuses primarily on cats- as cats are the #1 breed/pet killed in animal shelters. Shy, sick, injured, feral, orphaned, pregnant, and elderly cats are nearly always euthanized in a shelter setting. Our Dayton Pet Food Pantry program provides thousands of pounds of pet food to our local community each year. The program provides temporary pet food assistance to those in need, to ensure they can keep their pets safely in their homes and out of the shelter. Our Seniors to Seniors program matches senior pets with senior adults, providing love and comfort to them both. Our P.A.S.S. (possible alternatives to shelter surrender) program aims to educate and provide solutions to common pet behaviors issues and more. Our Spay & Neuter program provides low cost/affordable spay/neuter options for local residents. In addition, we operate Ohio Spay & Neuter, providing affordable spay/neuter options to all Ohio residents. Our TNR/Feral Cat Program educates local residents not only on the importance and positive impact of TNR (trap-neuter-return), but on how to perform TNR and how to manage feral cat colonies.
The good news is, every year we see a reduction in the number of pets entering the local shelter. The bad news is, the shelter continues to kill. Animal shelter euthanasia is the #1 cause of death (more than any disease or illness) in healthy cats and dogs. This needs to change.
I recently stumbled across a Facebook post by Z103.5 that shared, “According to the SPCA and Humane Society, in the next 4-8 weeks, you’ll all be seeing the “We need to re-home our pet…” posts. These are the people who went ahead and purchased puppies & kittens as Christmas gifts who are suddenly allergic, moving, having a baby, don’t have time, their kids won’t take care of it, didn’t think they’d get so big, blah, blah, blah. Problem is, almost 90% of unwanted pets, sadly end up in kill shelters.
Allow me to break it down for you.
You didn’t know you had an allergy? Oops. Don’t let the pet suffer, buy some allergy medicine, if you love your pet, it’s absolutely worth a shot.
You’re moving? What city are you moving to that doesn’t allow dogs? Bullshitville? You have a responsibility to your living, breathing family member to plan ahead to find a house, apartment or condo that will ALLOW your family member. Period.
Oh, you had no idea you were due to have a baby in 2 months? Interesting. Get a dog trainer if you’re housing a breed you fear might become an issue. It’s also worth a shot.
Don’t have time for ONE 15 minute walk, or to have a dog just sit next to you while you’re home? Really? So they’re better off in a shelter than waiting in your house for you to get home? Ok, perhaps get another pet to keep them company or look for a local dog-sitter.
Oh, you mean your 5 year old didn’t step up to the plate to feed, walk and scoop poop? And this surprised you? I guess it’s time for YOU to step up and model responsibility for your child.
Wrong size? Not cute as an adult? Not quite the personality you expected? Look in a mirror, how did you turn out? Should we send you back?”
Whether you adopted a pet during the holiday season or you’ve lived with your pet for a decade, it’s important to remember that our pets are counting on us to care for them, to be kind to them and to provide for them for the duration of their natural lifespan.
If you or someone you know have found a stray or are experiencing pet behavior issues, please be sure to visit our P.A.S.S. Program, as you are likely to find the answers to your questions there. In need of a mid-day dog walker while you are away at work? Need to learn how to properly introduce a new pet to your multi-pet home? How to introduce your children to a new pet? Where to find low-cost veterinary care? Where to find a 24-hour affordable emergency veterinary hospital? Where to find low-cost (or free) spay/neuter options? Need to know how to find affordable housing/how to move with your pet(s)? Looking to find the truth about FIV+ and FeLv+ cats (it is not a death sentence)? Visit our P.A.S.S. program to learn the answers to these questions and many more (here we have provided answers and solutions to the most common issues cited for pet guardians surrendering their pets to a shelter or rescue).
Most importantly, when you rescue, adopt or welcome a new pet into your home, be sure you are ready to make a forever commitment to the pet when doing so. Remember that transitions can be difficult (i.e. introducing a new pet to a multi-pet home). Be patient with your pet. They love you and trust you. They are counting on you to live up to your promise of properly caring for them, for their lifetime. Live up to that promise. Don’t let them down. And if you consider giving up your pet to a shelter or rescue- remember that when you do so, not only are you putting your pet at risk in the shelter, but you are taking up a spot that could be utilized to save a homeless pet who is emaciated, scared, neglected and in great need. And if you’re considering welcoming a new pet into your home, remember to visit your local shelter or check out your local rescues to meet pets in need. Rescue pets are not only grateful to find forever homes, they are spayed/neutered and vetted prior to adoption. In rescues, many times, pets live in volunteer foster homes prior to adoption- therefore volunteers can help make the right adoption match for both the pets and for the adopters.
And if you’re not able to adopt a pet right now, there are still plenty of ways you can help right now. We have listed a few, below:
- Sponsor a special needs or senior pet at A4A
- Collect much needed pet food & supplies or make a birthday donation to A4A’s life-saving efforts, to honor a loved one
- Support Advocates 4 Animals Feline Rescue & Rehabilitation every time you shop Amazon Smile
- Support Advocates 4 Animals every time you shop Kroger or Dorothy Lane Market (in Cincinnati and Dayton)
- Operate a business? Become a corporate sponsor
- Donate pet food
- Support life-saving Spay & Neuter efforts!
- Make a one-time donation to A4A’s life-saving efforts
- Become an annual A4A Member
- Purchase and leave an Amazon Review for one or more of our Animal Welfare books
- Share our Facebook and social media posts – to help spread the word to potential adopters, of pets in need of homes
As always, thank you so much for your support! We have saved more than 11,000 lives (and counting) since our start in 2002. Together, with your continued support, we can continue to make a positive difference in our local community.
To learn more about the No Kill Movement, click HERE.
Interested in learning more about helping homeless animals, whether through starting a rescue or through volunteering?
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