When I was younger and first hearing about activists campaigning for everyone to spay or neuter their pets, I didn’t understand. Driving around, I’d see bumper stickers encouraging pet owners to spay or neuter. But, growing up, I didn’t have a pet (other than the occasional fish) and I didn’t see what the big deal was. I figured most people had one pet and if they had more than one they would be of the same gender.
I was also brain washed by the Disney movie 101 Dalmations thinking that having that many dogs would be fun.
However, having visited animal shelters and sanctuaries as an adult and owning pets myself, I finally get the message.
A co-worker told me last week of a litter of puppies who were scheduled to be euthanized because a home could not be found for them. Thousands of dogs and cats across the country are put down every day because there is no one to care for them. And while my heart goes out to them and wish that it didn’t have to be that way, I understand the lack of room.
Animal shelters take in large numbers of animals every day and their space is limited. Litters of cats and dogs that people didn’t expect and couldn’t care for are suddenly without homes. There are some that don’t even make it to the animal shelter and instead get left out in the street to try to fend for themselves.
The issue really began to hit home when my husband and I mixed a female guinea pig with a male. Without money to fix them at the time, we ended up breeding guinea pigs without really meaning to. Guinea pigs procreate something like bunnies and we have had three litters since, only one of which were we really able to keep due to space and monetary considerations. Thankfully, we were able to find a pet store near our house that specialized in guinea pigs and took good care of them until they found homes, but for a while our poor critters lived in cramped quarters. We have learned our lesson and our pets are no longer able to procreate, but too many owners have to learn the hard way.
The message really is a good one. Spay or neuter your pets. If you want to add a new puppy or kitten (or any other type of pet for that matter) the animal shelters and pet stores have plenty looking for good homes. The senseless killing or neglect of animals needs to stop. Overpopulation needs to be addressed and education is the only way to do so.