Every year thousands of animals are left at animal shelters or on the side of the road because their owners did not properly take care of what is supposed to be an additional member of their family. Pet owners for the most part either do not properly neuter or spay their pets, resulting in unwanted puppies or kittens or they simply can no longer afford to care for their animal. According to the nonprofit organization, In Defense of Animals, sadly; animal suffering and exploitation of animals is the status quo. Millions of animals around the world suffer as objects of entertainment, food, experiments, clothing, or throwaway creatures pushed out of habitat, by human expansion. There are thousands and thousands of homeless pets on the streets all over the country and world and with the help of animal shelters and the concept of ‘adopt don’t shop’ those numbers could become obsolete and these homeless animals could find homes.
If someone is in the market for a new pet to add to their family it is always the best and safest choice to visit a local animal shelter. There are many benefits to adopting an animal rather than shopping and one is that animals at animal shelters have more than likely been exposed to children and other animals and are updated on all of their shots. According to the Animal Shelter Organization when you choose to adopt an animal from a local shelter, you can be guaranteed that your animal has been monitored and checked out by a veterinarian before you take them home. Animal shelters try to ensure that pets have received their shots and many dogs and cats will have already been spayed and neutered. When it comes to spaying and neutering an animal, according to Randy Stegall from the Tangi Humane Society, “Animal overpopulation causes a drain on both public and private resources. We are a private, non-profit shelter and rely almost 100% on the generosity of our community for both money and supplies to operate. We recently rescued a litter of 11 chocolate puppies where they were dumped in a cemetery. Besides food, these puppies required extensive worming, for all of them 174 treatments total, as well as the full set of puppy shots –3 each or 30 total. A huge drain on our time and meds results in the need for more money to buy more of these supplies. Statistically, cats are 45 times as prolific, and dogs 15 times as prolific, as humans. Another eye opening statistic is that each day 10,000 people are born and 70,000 puppies and kittens are born because of that obviously, there will never be enough homes to accommodate all these animals. They do not need our help to expand their numbers; they need our help to reduce their numbers until there are good homes for all of them.” Additionally, pets who have been given to the animal shelter from previous homes are more likely to have been exposed to children.
Although there are plenty of cute puppies and kittens that can be found at animal shelters for people to take home there is also the option of instead bringing home an older animal. Adopting adult animals allows a family or individual to really see the personality of the animal, you may not even have to bathroom train an adult dog or cat and if a person is in the market for a low maintenance animal an adult animal may be the way to go. Often with adult animals they are already housetrained and some can even “sit” or “stay.” Families won’t have to deal with the “puppy phase” or the “kitten phase” which means less of that youthful energy such as biting, chewing, clawing, etc. and more time to just enjoy a new friend.
When shopping for a new pet oftentimes that means supporting puppy mills and kitten mills. Puppy and kitten mills are essentially breeding facilities for dogs and cats. Many times the animals are not well-taken care of and many, but not all, stores receive animals from puppy mills or kennels. Animal mills create overpopulation of cats and dogs and often result in genetic problems that could lead to illness and death for the animals. Also animal mills, more specifically puppy mills, provide little care and human interaction with the animals. These facilities promote irresponsible breeding practices and focus more on their income rather than the welfare of the animals they shelter. Supporting stores and organizations that purchase animals from these facilities funds their behavior. When you adopt a pet from a shelter your funds are used to help more animals who have been discarded, lost or left behind.
Lastly, an added bonus of adopting rather than shopping for a new pet is the amount of money that would be saved. Animal shelters usually have a flat rate of around $70 or $80 to adopt an animal which typically includes their needed shots and tests and sometimes include the process of spaying and neutering the animal if needed. The low adoption rates are great for families who cannot afford to purchase an animal from a private owner or other pet-friendly shop. When it comes to buying from puppy and kitten mills or kennels individuals can find themselves spending an upwards of $2,000 on their animal with no true guarantee that the animals are healthy and will live a long and prosperous life.
The decision to add an animal to your life should be thought over carefully. Animals are not toys and props for the purpose of human entertainment. Animals are living creatures that deserve love, respect and happiness. When pets are brought home it should be for the long run and not only until they are no longer cute and tiny. Always adopt, don’t shop. Help remove animals from the streets and out of shelters, where they would inevitably be euthanized, and rather bring them home to be loved and cared for as they should be.