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LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Animal control Make a difference
To the editor:
During the holidays, people often add a pet to their families. That tendency combines with a bad economy to generate lots of puppies and kittens for sale (people often breed pets to generate income).
Unfortunately, at the same time, people breed more animals to raise money (increasing the pet population), the bad economy forces government animal shelters to close or curtail services, dumping a larger load on nonprofit shelters, which also suffer financial woes.
The unwanted pet population overwhelms facilities. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that shelters, who care for 6 million to 8 million dogs and cats every year in the United States, must kill 3 million to 4 million.
There are two major contributors to this problem.
First, breeders (from puppy mills to those who mindlessly let pets breed) who sell or give away animals, bear a huge part of the responsibility. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates that an unspayed cat and her offspring can produce more than 400,000 cats; an unspayed dog and her offspring can produce more than 6,000 puppies.
Second, people who buy pets encourage breeders and also ignore the pets in shelters who need a home.
Start the New Year by making a difference. If you want a new pet, go to a shelter (WAIF on Whidbey Island). You’ll find puppies and kittens and older pets, all loving and less expensive than in a pet store or from a breeder (yes, “pure bred” dogs, too). Neuter any pets you get or already have, and support legislation (write your county commissioners or city council) to require anyone selling animals to obtain a kennel license at a minimum of $1,000 a year to raise funds for government animal control to handle the problem that such breeders help create.
Finally, donate to your local animal shelter.