November 15, 2012

Killing dogs and cats isn’t the answer for overcrowded shelters or companion animal overpopulation

A Pennsylvania no-kill animal shelter is in the news today for its decision to discontinue contracts with local municipalities to accept strays collected by police. According to an article in the Morning Call, the Center for Animal Health and Welfare will continue to serve as a county animal control resource but only on a first-come, first-serve basis. The shelter is reportedly at its capacity, housing some 500 homeless dogs and cats.

Notably for those healthy but unwanted companions, calls from some critics to “cull animals to make room for new strays” were resisted. Animals Attorney blog applauds the shelter’s board, which was quoted as saying that such critics “need to realize that killing dogs and cats isn’t getting at the root of a ballooning stray animal population.”

Spaying, neutering, shutting down puppy mills, and educating buyers on avoiding supporting the “pet trade” are all better methods of reducing homeless companion animal populations. As pro bono legal counsel to nonprofit animal rescue and support groups like the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon, we know first hand that spay/neuter helps significantly. Reducing both natural and artificial breeding is the only real answer. The alternative would be mass killing, on a scale approaching that of factory farms. In Oregon alone, for example, nearly 18,000 cats were euthanized in 2010, many because there simply were more cats than available homes.

If you run a nonprofit animal rescue in need of legal services, our Portland animal law office may be able to assist you. Contact us. And if you or someone in your family is looking for a furry friend, stop searching breeder ads and pet stores. Visit your local animal rescue or shelter instead.

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