According to the ASPCA, 6.3 million companion animals arrive in shelters each year. Of these approximately 15% nearly on million are euthanized each year (Shelter Intake and Surrender | Animal Homelessness | ASPCA).
Surrendered animals are animals whose owners can no longer care for them for a variety of reasons including behavioral problems.
It's important to note that not all shelters are the same, and some are no-kill shelters that strive to find homes for all animals they take in.
Animal shelters play a vital role in caring for and rehoming animals in need, but it's also crucial for potential pet owners to be aware of the responsibilities that come with pet ownership to reduce the number of animals being surrendered in the first place.
Reducing the number of animals surrendered to shelters involves a combination of public education, responsible pet ownership, and community support. Here are some ways to help achieve this goal:
Promote Spaying and Neutering: Encourage responsible pet owners to spay or neuter their animals. This helps prevent unplanned litter and reduces the overall population of homeless
Education: Raise awareness about the responsibilities of pet ownership. Many people may not fully understand the commitment required to care for a pet. Providing information on the time, financial costs, and emotional commitment necessary can help potential owners make informed decisions.
Adoption Over Buying: Encourage adoption from shelters and rescue organizations rather than purchasing pets from breeders or pet stores. Adopting a shelter animal not only provides a loving home for a pet in need but also reduces demand for breeding.
Support for Pet Owners: Provide resources and support to current pet owners to help them
overcome challenges that may lead to surrender. This could include low-cost veterinary services, behavior training, and assistance with temporary difficulties (e.g., job loss, housing changes).
Behavior Training: Offer affordable or free behavioral training for pets. Many animals end up in shelters due to behavioral issues that can often be resolved with proper training.
Foster Programs: Establish foster programs to temporarily care for animals in need, especially during times of high intake, such as kitten and puppy seasons. This reduces the strain on shelter resources.
Community Spay/Neuter Initiatives: Partner with local organizations to provide low-cost or free spaying and neutering services. This can significantly reduce the number of unwanted litters.
Public Awareness Campaigns: Launch public campaigns highlighting the benefits of adopting from shelters, the importance of responsible pet ownership, and the impact of surrendering animals.
Collaborate with Veterinarians: Work with local veterinarians to promote responsible pet ownership and provide resources to their clients.
Pet-Friendly Housing: Advocate for pet-friendly housing policies to reduce the number of pets surrendered due to housing restrictions.
Financial Assistance: Provide financial assistance or subsidies for low-income individuals and families to help them cover pet-related expenses.
School Programs: Include pet care education in school curricula to instill responsible pet
ownership values from a young age.
By implementing these strategies and fostering a culture of responsible pet ownership within
communities, we can significantly reduce the number of animals surrendered to shelters and
improve the overall welfare of pets.
UnRuffled Pet Products can help cope with some of the behavior issues. Even one animal saved from being put down would be a win.