How to Help the Rising Homeless Animal Population

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Story by Zoe Wexler, Staff Writer

Millions of homeless animals suffer every year as they starve on the streets without homes or shelter. The fates of these animals are all due to when pet owners failing to spay or neuter their animals, as well as buying pet store dogs and cats. These numbers of stray animals are continuously growing, but we can all help to reduce the numbers and find these animals a forever home.

The very first step we all must take in ending animal homelessness is to spay and neuter all of our pets. Especially if our pets are outdoor animals, spaying and neutering will eliminate the chances of reproduction with other animals. We all love puppies and kittens, but if we fail to fix our pets, these animals will be left without food, water, and homes.

In Central America, where the homeless animal population is even larger than in the US, veterinarians and volunteer students alike work together in order to hold low cost clinics for spays and neuters through an organization called VIDA. On these trips, they also work to inform the public of the importance of spaying and neutering pets. Sarah Culhane, one of the students who worked with Vida in Parrita, Costa Rica, stated that “the trip made me more aware of just how much spaying and neutering matters. It really showed me that it does make a huge difference on the overpopulation of animals, especially in areas like these.” Sarah got to witness the impact that educating the locals made, and if we work on educating others here in the US, we might just get to witness the same effects.

Another thing to keep in mind in order to keep animals off the streets is to adopt instead of buy pets. Even if we may think that buying is the better option, adopting a pet, especially from “high kill shelters,” can enable another homeless animal to get a home and more room for other animals in a shelter. Many people buy pets as opposed to rescue them because they want a purebred animal, but even so, about 25% of shelter animals are purebred.

Although purchasing animals from pet stores, boutiques, and breeders might seem as if it’s the most reliable option, we have to keep in mind the millions of stray dogs and cats in the U.S. alone. In addition to adopting instead of buying pets, it is so important that we remember to spay and neuter all of our animals. By being educated and being mindful of the stray animal population, we can limit the amount of starving animals living on the streets. Humans brought domesticated animals here, and it should be our job to protect them and ensure them all homes, as well as proper care.

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