Many animal rescue and advocacy
groups like PETA are requesting that companion animals be spayed or neutered, as
one measure to help reduce the high number of discarded and unwanted pets being
killed in municipalities everywhere.
Today, thousands of unwanted animals will suffer and die. A shocking number of
dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, and others are born daily into a world whose homes
and hearts don't have room for them.
For every one companion animal who lives inside with a human family and receives
the attention (toys, exercise, companionship, etc.), health care, and emotional
support that he or she needs, there are many more who are just barely surviving.
Millions of domestic animals never know a kind human hand. They live hard lives
on the street before dying equally hard, agonizing deaths. Strays and
feral animals starve, freeze, get hit by cars, or die of
disease. Some are picked up by dealers called "bunchers,"
who then sell them to laboratories and the hideous world of vivisection.
Others suffer all the same with careless owners. Some live inside homes but are
deprived of veterinary care. Social
birds are left alone in tiny, barren cages for years as
Rabbits and rodents are kept in filthy cages and only
paraded out as a source of entertainment now and then.
Cats are left outside and suffer the same fates as
strays. Millions of
dogs are left chained outside or kept in waste-strewn
pens, slowly going insane for years, with only a metal barrel or a tree to
protect them from the elements during storms. Every caring person has been
haunted by countless scenes like these in our own neighborhoods.
Animals left outdoors unsupervised and uncared for fall victim to cruel people
every day, in every state. Many cruelty-to-animals cases
begin with unwanted animals. They are shot, poisoned, tortured, mutilated,
fought, used as bait animals, set on fire, starved, hanged, stabbed, dragged
behind vehicles, bludgeoned, and beaten. Many of them end up suffering for years
at the hands of
animal hoarders, where they suffer fates
worse than death and languish next to one another without proper sustenance,
shelter, care, or socialization.
Unwanted Animals Meet Different Fates at
6 million to 8 million unwanted cats and dogs will be
taken to animal shelters in the United States this year.
The fortunate will be taken to one of hundreds of open-admission animal shelters
that are staffed by professional, caring people. At these facilities, frightened
animals are reassured, sick and injured animals receive treatment or a peaceful
end to their suffering, euthanasia is performed by intravenous injection of
sodium pentobarbital (some animals are so small and fragile that intraperitoneal
injections may be safer and less stressful for them), and the animals' living
quarters are kept clean and dry. Workers at these facilities provide bedding for
every animal who comes through their doors, never turn away needy animals, and
give somber consideration to each animal's special emotional and physical needs.
To be able to offer refuge to every animal in need, open-admission shelters must
euthanize animals—the only humane way to handle the sheer numbers of animal
Many less fortunate homeless and unwanted animals end up in
pitiful shelters that are nothing more than shacks
without walls or other protection from the elements and where animals are often
simply left to die from exposure, disease, fights, or infections.
Some people believe that when they can no longer care for their animal
companions, it is kinder to take them to so-called
"no-kill," or "turn-away," shelters. In
many cases, this couldn't be further from the truth. If the animals are even
accepted into these limited-admission operations, they may be warehoused for
years in conditions no better than those found in an animal hoarder's home. The
following are examples:
- Missouri's Gloria Sutter pleaded guilty to eight counts of
cruelty to animals after investigators reportedly found 198 ill cats and
dogs at her Vanovia Animal Sanctuary in 2004. Sutter's reported history of
amassing large numbers of animals evidently included the 1984 and 1986
discoveries, respectively, of 524 and 770 animals in poor health at the
- North Carolina officials reported finding hundreds of dogs
and cats deprived of proper food, water, shelter, and veterinary treatments
at All Creatures Great and Small, a turn-away facility, in 2004. Animals
were found tethered outside without shelter or shade, and dogs were kept in
airline crates so small that they could not stand up, with no access to food
facilities like these, animals languish in inhumane conditions while operators
award themselves the luxury of turning away thousands of needy animals deemed
unadoptable by the operators. Where do these "undesirables" go? The lucky ones
will be taken to clean open-admission facilities that have responsible policies
But many animals who are refused by turn-away facilities never make it to the
nearest open-admission shelter. Instead, they're dumped on the road, in the
woods, or in the local hoarder's yard or given to other unscrupulous people. One
day in June 2005, a Pennsylvania man tried to turn his dog over to such a
facility. He was told that he would have to make an appointment for two weeks
later, when the shelter might have room. The man grabbed his dog, got in his
pickup truck, and left. At the next intersection, he threw the dog out of the
truck and ran over him, crushing the dog beneath his tires. Shelter workers, who
wouldn't help the dog before he died, collected the dog's remains.
If you know of a local turn-away facility, urge the board of directors to open
its doors to every animal in need and to institute a euthanasia program to allow
it to do so. These facilities need to know that you don't agree with their
On the Home
Front: You Can Help by Making Sure Every Animal Is Spayed and Neutered
The single most important thing that we can do to save animals from all the
suffering and death that their overpopulation causes is to
spay and neuter them. Just one unaltered
female cat and her offspring can produce an estimated 420,000 cats in only seven
years. In six years, a female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies.
So every time we spay or neuter just one animal, we prevent the births of
thousands of animals. On the other hand, if we pass by even one unsterilized
animal without seeing to it that she or he is spayed or neutered, we are turning
our backs on thousands of unwanted animals and more than likely condemning them
to hideous fates.
If you haven't yet sterilized the animals with whom you share your home, do so
today. If you think that you can offer your home to an animal and provide for
his or her needs for 10 to 15 years, please go to your shelter now because there
are many there who are waiting for you. Adopt two compatible animals so that
they can keep each other company.
Make a pledge right now to take personal responsibility for neutering or spaying
every unsterilized animal you encounter. Is there an unaltered cat hanging
around the back porch? Does your neighbor have a female dog who keeps going into
heat or a male dog who keeps jumping the fence to chase after females in heat?
Is your friend or family member giving away a litter of kittens? Help make sure
that all unwanted animals are taken to open-admission shelters and then help get
animals who are staying in homes spayed or neutered. Don't let the surgery be
put off—be persistent! If money is preventing it, offer to pay for the procedure
(you'll be saving animals' lives). If transportation to the vet is the
obstacle—become a dog or cat taxi driver for a day! If the guardians still
aren't convinced that spaying and neutering are vital to saving animals' lives,
order our free literature on the subject to help them understand.
If possible, spay your whole street! Offer to have your neighbors' dogs and cats
sterilized at a clinic or a local low-cost spay/neuter program (call
1-800-248-SPAY for details).
Help Out at Your
Local Animal Shelter
Work on the front lines of the overpopulation crisis by teaming up with your
local animal shelter to save and improve animals' lives. Make sure that your
local shelter requires that animals be spayed or neutered before adoption. If
sterilization is not required,
work for policy change at the shelter.
Many shelters are in serious need of reform. Citizen involvement is essential if
progress is to be made. You can be successful by organizing friends, neighbors,
and other concerned individuals to
If your local pound or shelter is using any method other than an intravenous
injection of sodium pentobarbital, protest to local authorities and demand the
implementation of humane practices. Check state and local laws for prescribed
methods of euthanasia and insist that your local shelter comply with these
requirements. Euthanasia should always be performed by well-trained, caring
staff members, and animals should never be euthanized in view of other animals.
Animals Die Different Deaths in Different
Some animals who make it into open-admission shelters are reclaimed by their
guardians or adopted into new homes. But the sad fact is that there are far too
few good homes for unwanted animals. Even if there were enough good homes to
take in unwanted animals, many animals ending up in animal shelters are truly
unadoptable. Dogs and cats are often taken to shelters because of serious health
conditions such as parvovirus, contagious mange, upper respiratory infections,
fungal infections, and even broken limbs. Some are given up because of severely
aggressive behavior. Many dogs have lived their whole lives on chains or in
tiny, filthy pens and are generally unsocialized or fearful of people. Most
potential adopters are looking for small, cute, housebroken puppies without
medical problems. Few who walk into shelters want to adopt the sick, injured, or
aggressive animals they will see there.
The result is that
3 million to 4 million dogs and cats will be killed at animal shelters this year.
Some will be killed by cruel methods, such as
gunshot by municipal officials. Bullets are often not
placed precisely in the struggling animal's head or are deflected, and some
animals survive the first shot only to be shot again and again.
Many shelters still use
gas chambers to kill animals who aren't adopted or reclaimed.
Even the "best" gas boxes can cause conscious animals the horror of watching
others suffer from convulsions and muscular spasms as they slowly die. Old,
young, and sick animals are particularly susceptible to gas-related trauma and
will thus die slow and highly stressful deaths.
And as hard as it is to believe, there are still facilities in the United States
that kill animals using
painful electrocution or in cruel decompression chambers,
where the gases in animals' sinuses, middle ears, and intestines expand quickly,
causing considerable discomfort to severe pain. Some animals survive the first
go-round in decompression chambers and are recompressed because of
malfunctioning equipment or the operator's mistake or because animals get
trapped in air pockets. They are then put through the painful procedure all over
Fortunate homeless, unwanted animals who aren't adopted from shelters in a
timely manner and are not claimed by their families receive painless, peaceful
deaths in loving arms by way of an intravenous injection of sodium
pentobarbital. This—and only
this—is true euthanasia, a
good death. Euthanasia is a kindness, often the only kindness ever known for
animals who are born into a world that doesn't want them, has not cared for
them, and ultimately has abandoned them to be disposed of as "surplus" beings.
Make America a ‘No-Birth’
We Can Stop the Killing by Making America
a 'No-Birth' Nation
can save animals and end these deaths by working to make America a "no-birth"
nation today. The only way to stop the suffering of the innocent victims of
companion animal overpopulation is to prevent their births through sterilization
efforts. The United States will never be a "no-kill" nation unless it becomes a
no-birth nation. Why? Every last one of the millions of deaths of animals at
shelters and in the streets, alleyways, fields, basements, and back yards that
occur every year could be prevented through spaying and neutering. Every single
stray cat, every neglected dog, every rabbit kept in a hutch in a drafty
garage—came from an animal who wasn't spayed or neutered. Animals must be killed
and euthanized by the millions every year because prospective guardians choose
to purchase animals from pet shops and breeders and still don't sterilize their
dogs and cats.
Finally, fight the cruel industries that profit from breeding and selling
animals while millions more die because of a lack of homes. People who patronize
pet shops or seek out purebreds from breeders are adding
to the population overload. Speak up if someone you know intends to breed his or
her animal or plans to buy from a pet store or breeder.
Get our free literature on pet shops,
puppy mills, and spaying and neutering to provide more information. If there's a
pet store in your local mall, urge the mall manager to give it the boot and
instead lend that space to an animal shelter to use as an adoption center for
Comment: On a number of occasions we
have brought a rescued rabbit into our home, only to discover within days that
we had a pregnant mom. These four were born shortly after we had taken
The Rabbit Advocacy Group of BC would like to remind you that each and every
pet should be a wanted one. If you or someone you know wants to have their
companion animal sterilized but cannot afford it, please contact us. Spay
and neuter saves lives.
Also, if there are abandoned,
stray pets that need help, let us know. firstname.lastname@example.org
They depend on you!
show compassion, and help make a difference today! Lead by example,
write letters, contact politicians, and help put
animals in the political arena. Their lives matter.