OPINION: Stop littering; save an animal’s life

Approximately 70,000 puppies and kittens are born every day in the United States.

According to the Humane Society, there are six to eight million cats and dogs entering shelters each year.

Of those entering shelters, 61 percent of the dogs are killed.

Of the cats that enter the shelters, 75 percent are killed.

Within seven years, a female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 kittens, and a female dog and her offspring can produce as many as 67,000 puppies.

Multiply those numbers by the number placed in shelters each year, and you find the core issue of this potentially monumental problem.

As you can see from the numbers above, there is a huge pet overpopulation problem.

I never had thought too much about the issue of pet overpopulation. From time to time I would see a stray dog or cat in the neighborhood, but I never stopped to consider the massive problem that exists.

One cold day in January six years ago, a stray female dog decided to deliver a litter of puppies under a shed in my backyard.

That was the day my eyes were opened to the grim reality that is out there for so many stray and unwanted animals.

The mama dog delivered eight cute little pups.

I knew there was no way to keep all of the puppies, so I started calling around to see what my options might be to help find them homes. Being naïve about the situation, I was not prepared for the answers I got.

First I called the Humane Society, thinking they would be happy to get these healthy little guys.

They weren’t.

They were friendly but brutally honest at the same time. They said that if I wanted to bring the mama dog in along with her pups, they would spay her, but they would have to euthanize the puppies.

I had even less luck with the no-kill shelter. They were full and did not know when or if they would have an opening, much less eight spots.

My story, unlike so many others, had a happy ending. Homes were found for all the pups. But the reality is that the problem still exists in society today.

If you are planning on getting a dog or a cat, please be a responsible pet parent and have them spayed or neutered.

You may have heard someone say, “I just want her to have one litter.” While it sometimes is hard to comprehend, “just one litter” can add to pet overpopulation.

Every day, thousands of perfectly healthy puppies and kittens are destroyed with their only crime being that they came from “just one litter.”

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