Once again, we are full, shelters are busting at the seams and people keep on surrendering animals. Again, many are outraged about the fact that animals are being euthanized left and right. Animals keep coming in, the phone keeps on ringing and people continues wanting to surrender animals that they did not have the common sense to spay/neuter.
When asked why they want to surrender, we hear all kinds of stupid reasons:
"I feel like I don't give my dog the time that he deserves" (BTW, that is one I am so tired of hearing!)
"I'm getting married" (AND?)
"I'm getting divorced" (again, AND?)
"I'm getting divorced" (again, AND?)
"I want to travel" (like in Coco Poodle's case, after 13 1/2 years)
"It's my mom's dog..." (sooo, it's a good reason to abandon it?)
"She is too affectionate" (I swear to you people, someone returned a dog for that reason, honest!!)
"Her color doesn't match my couch" (yes, I did hear that!)
Don't get me wrong, there are valid reasons to surrender an animal to the shelter or a rescue; they are VERY few. How can people expect to not euthanize animals when they are so full, without available foster homes to help, that the next place to "stack" them would be the roof? When a facility has space for 200 animals and they receive 400, what are they supposed to do when there are no adoptions and no foster homes?
Why do people surrender still so many unaltered animals? We keep on reading and hearing about Spay/Neuter programs, SNYP, low-cost clinics, etc. Unfortunately, there are still too many irresponsible pet owners out there, expecting everybody else to take responsibility for their own pets. I declined two adoptions again this week because pet owners want to breed their current pets.
The one that I hear so often and that really tickles me is:
"I want to surrender my dog, but I don't want him to be put down, so I don't want him to go to the shelter. He will be put down."
~ "What is the reason for surrendering your dog?"
"I don't have time for him"
~ "How long have you had this dog?"
"Since he is a puppy"
~ "How old is he now?"
"He is 9 years old"
~ "And after 9 years you decided you don't have time for him?"
"Well, he is also destructive and doesn't like other animals. He is a little bit food aggressive and will bite if we get too close to his bowl of food, but he is a good dog!"
~ "If he is a good dog, why don't you keep him?"
"I can't handle him, but I want him to have a good home and be with someone who will work with him. I just don't want him to be put down because he is aggressive."
~ "If he is aggressive with other dogs, where am I supposed to have him fostered?"
"Well, I don't know, don't you know someone who would take him?"
~ "Is he neutered?"
I have this conversation with someone at least twice a week! Until people take responsibility for their pets, like they should with their kids, we will have to deal with full shelters and rescues. Until people understand the importance of a well socialized and trained animal, we will have too many of them surrendered because they are hard to control. Until we have more foster homes and people who will be willing to housetrain and not expect to foster the perfect dog, shelters will be full. Until people don't want to breed their dog "just this once" to sell puppies and make a few extra bucks, or to supposedly have a puppy from their "beloved" dog, shelters and rescues will be full.
Pointing fingers at everybody else will not solve the problem. It's start with you, the pet owner. Spay/neuter your animal! Stop the overpopulation! Stop expecting shelters and rescues to solve a problem that is caused by pet owners themselves.
There is just so much shelters and rescue groups can do.