Sad Statistics – The Naked Truth
A couple weeks ago my daughter, Stephanie, adopted a chocolate Lab (she named her Lola) from a kill shelter in Jasper County, Georgia. This sweet, 1-year-old girl, slated to be euthanized, had been found wandering up the interstate highway with six puppies trailing behind. Three of the pups were stuck by a car and killed. One was badly injured and not expected to live. We do not know the fate of the remaining two pups.
Here is Lola the night Stephanie adopted her. Vastly undernourished, but still sweet tempered and beautiful:
It was on that night that I learned this chilling statistic: 10,000+ dogs and cats are euthanized in the state of Georgia every month, 120,000+ per year.
10,000+. Every. Month.
120,000+. Every. Year.
Just in the state of Georgia alone.
These numbers broke my heart. I hoped the statistic was wrong so I checked it out. What I learned is that the number is likely much higher. The 10,000+ was derived by a survey of shelters in Georgia counties; however, many of the counties declined to report.
Here are the numbers for the U.S. in total, taken from the Humane Society’s web page:
Estimated number of cats and dogs entering shelters each year:
6-8 million (HSUS estimate)
Estimated number of cats and dogs euthanized by shelters each year:
3-4 million (HSUS estimate)
Estimated number of cats and dogs adopted from shelters each year:
3-4 million (HSUS estimate)
Estimated number of cats and dogs reclaimed by owners from shelters each year:
30 percent of dogs and 2-5 percent of cats entering shelters (HSUS estimate)
Estimated number of animal shelters in the United States:
3,500 (HSUS estimate)
Estimated percent of dogs in shelters who are purebred:
25 percent (HSUS estimate)
Unless otherwise indicated, statistics provided by The National Council on Pet Population, Study and Policy.
The good news is that many animals are adopted and spared; but the number of dogs and cats euthanized is still unconscionably high at 3-4 million.
One huge reason for these numbers is the refusal of so many pet owners to spay and neuter their dogs and cats. Please—if you have a dog or a cat and you do not intend to deliberately and responsibly breed them, choose to spay/neuter. Please. Don’t contribute to the 3-4 million.
So how is Lola doing? See for yourself. Here she is sacked out on the couch with Chutsky (those white splotches are the bald spots from her malnutrition and time in the shelter):
And here is Lola playing in Stephanie’s backyard with McGee:
Lola will be spayed before the end of the month, and she now has an implanted microchip for identification purposes. Her coat, which was dirty with patches of missing fur, is now sleek and shiny with the bald spots beginning to fill in. She has already chewed holes in the TV remote, much to her own delight, and developed a special fondness for racquetballs. She is gaining weight and learning to play with her pack-mates in accordance with their diminutive size. Lola had a rough journey, but she finally found her forever home.
To love and be loved is really all our furry companions desire. I don’t think that’s asking too much, do you?
Love your pets? Please, spay/neuter. It’s the right thing to do.
See you next for Book Blurb Friday –
P.S. When my daughter told me Lola’s name the feminist in me became disgruntled. After all, Stephanie’s two other dogs (miniature Dachshunds) have criminal justice names: Special Agent McGee and Federal Agent Chutsky, What happened to Lola’s title? What is she, their secretary? And then it hit me. Of course! Lola is the canine equivalent of James Bond’s Miss Moneypenny. She doesn’t chase down the bad guys, but she knows where all the bones are buried. Ha!