Why some people should not get a pet

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

I saw the other day a disturbing Facebook post by the director of an animal shelter who decided to tell all.

I don’t go looking for these, and I seldom read such long posts, but I read this one, and it broke my heart.

It hit home because I have dogs and cats, and they are like family. And, because a cat comes around my house regularly, and we feed it some top-of-the-line food that our own cats eat. I think one of our neighbors moved away and left the cat behind.

According to post, that cat has a better chance of surviving like this than by being taken to a shelter.
The posting was not from any of the shelters in Brazoria County. It talks about the specific conditions in one shelter, somewhere.

But a lot of the details can be generalized to any shelter, because they all face the same problem. They are crowded and have to make room.

Rule of thumb: Large dogs are hard to get adopted; older dogs also stand a slim chance; and “Bully” breeds (pit bull, rottie, mastiff, etc), no matter how gentle they are, stand no chance.

“About 25 percent of all of dogs that are ‘owner surrenders’ or ‘strays,’ that come into a shelter, are purebred dogs,” according to the poster.

Kittens have a shot at adoption, but not adult cats.

I’ll spare the sad details, although you can pretty well figure it out.

The former pet, while waiting for its faith to be determined (it’s usually a short wait), falls under a lot of stress in its new environment. Imagine moving from your nice, comfortable home to a prison cell. Your whole world would be turned upside down.

Shelters do the best they can, with what they have. The real problem is that a lot of people buy pets that wind up in these shelters.

If you are not committed, or are unable financially to care for a pet for its entire lifespan, don’t get one, no matter how cute they look. Your pets will live for over a decade and will require care, companionship and medical attention.

Dumping them for any reason is a betrayal of the trust they put in us, not to mention that it also is heartless, and more often than not, a death sentence for the animal.

If we all would follow these simple rules, there would not be a need for animal shelters. But that is not the real world, so the shelter employees and volunteers do the best they can.

Our daughter adopted two kittens recently. She missed not having a pet after moving away. She had cats and dogs around her at our house since she was born.

Her cats will most likely live into their late teens and will see a lot of changes around them as they share their life with her. They’ll see her get married, have children, move several times, etc. Then, they’ll die of old age. That’s the way it is supposed to happen.

But often it happens differently.

“Between 9 and 11 million animals die every year in shelters (Humane Society of the United States estimates 3-4 million) and only you - as a pet owner can stop it. I just hope I maybe changed one person’s mind about taking a dog to a shelter, a humane society, or buying a dog without researching,” wrote the poster.

I hope so, also.