From the comfort of your living room, you can have an impact on humane treatment of animals. This is part I in a series that provides ideas on how to do so. Today’s topic is the hundreds of thousands of homeless, unspayed/unneutered dogs and cats in the South.
Several thousand rescue dogs are transported yearly from the South to the Northeast for adoption. Why? The cultural norm in many places of the South is not to spay and neuter, and in many places, not to inoculate pets against disease. There are millions of homeless dogs wandering around—and starving—in the South. There are several thousands in high-kill shelters, because adoption is not a common practice either.
You can do something about it. Cultural norms are shifted over time through the steady application of change. For example, remember how we used to call humane organizations “pounds” and homeless pets “strays”? That gradual shift away from “pound” has had an impact on how people perceive humane organizations, and the introduction of the word “rescue” to adopted animals positions the rescuers to have the added benefit of feeling good about themselves.
But back to the Southern dogs. I was told by owner of Main Line Animal Rescue that the way to make an impact on treatment of dogs from the south is to write letters to the editors of the papers there. Below is a sample letter you can use or adjust as you see fit. Search this link ( http://www.50states.com/news/ ) to identify newspapers. Copy/tailor and email the letter to the editor—be sure to include your contact info, or the editors will not publish the letters. Thank you!
I have a friend who had good fortune to adopt a sweet dog from Alabama via a Pennsylvania animal rescue. “Finn” is a hound mix and is doing well despite a rough beginning: unneutered, homeless, and unvaccinated, Finn contracted distemper, from which he has recovered, despite lingering gait issues.
I’ve learned that in areas, spaying/neutering, and vaccinating pets are not always common practice. Yet pet overpopulation is rampant, and in many states hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats are homeless and die slowly from starvation, disease, and injury. You can help prevent pet overpopulation and suffering.
Please consider the benefits of spaying and neutering—this prevents unwanted animals from being born, improves the animals’ disposition, and is not perceived as loss by the animals. Here is a link: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/low-cost-spayneuter-programs where you can find low-cost clinics in your area. Alternatively, please consider asking your local vets to provide this community service, for the good of the animals and the community (and good PR for the vet).