Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters



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.

Spay/Neuter Immediately

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 decorations. 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.

Animal Shelters

Unwanted Animals Meet Different Fates at Different Places

Approximately 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 refugees.

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 filthy facility.
  • 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 or water.

At 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 about euthanasia and adoption.

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 turn-away policies.

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
take action

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 Facilities

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 again.

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’ Nation

We Can Stop the Killing by Making America a 'No-Birth' Nation

We 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. 

Breeding and Pet Stores

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 homeless animals. http://www.helpinganimals.com/f-overpop5.asp 

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 them in.

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, injured, or stray pets that need help, let us know. rabbitadbc@shaw.ca or info@rabbitadvocacy.com They depend on you! 

Get involved, 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.

Links & Gov't Contacts

SpayAidBC|Paws for Hope Foundation