Dear Future President,
Animal shelters should refrain from using euthanasia unless absolutely necessary. They must have boundaries and limits to stop them from euthanizing perfectly healthy animals. Animal shelters started using euthanasia in order to bring down the numbers in their shelters, which is and was always overwhelming. They also started euthanasia to put down animals that are in pain or that are hyper-aggressive and ones they thought that couldn’t be fixed. Each year many animals are euthanized for no explanation besides the shelters not having enough room, which is simply unacceptable. Animals in shelters are already terrified because they are in an environment that is unfamiliar to them and in a surrounding that’s often filled with anxiety and worry. There are many cost efficient ways to stop animal overpopulation, we just need to explore these options.
What is euthanasia? The dictionary definition is, “The act of putting to death painlessly, or allowing to die, or in other ways it’s called ‘mercy killing.’” Essentially, euthanasia was originally used so it could end someone's/something's life because they were in pain, however in certain animal shelters they are euthanizing healthy animals due to overcrowding and lack of space.The Humane Society issued a statement saying that since the 1970s, euthanasia numbers in animal shelters have declined sharply—from about 15 million cats and dogs euthanized in 1970 to approximately 3.4 million in 2013—even as pet ownership has increased steadily. Overall, this evidence is somewhat promising, however I know there is more we can do as a nation to cut down on the number of healthy animals being killed each year.
One of the causes of this issue is pet overpopulation. According to www.dosomething.org, it is impossible to determine how many stray dogs and cats live in the US; estimates for cats alone range up to 70 million. The evidence shows how astronomical the numbers are for unwanted animals; if we help reduce the pet overpopulation we can control the amount of strays on the streets. Also, if we have more animal control officers on the streets in high populated stray areas, we can reduce those numbers. Another cause of the issue is the medical bill costs for pets, which can often range up into the thousands of dollars to keep your pet happy and healthy. Petfinder explains that the surgery to spay or neuter your pet costs up to $200, and many people don’t have extra money like that. According to David Weliver from the article “Can you Afford a Furry Friend?” He did the cost counting for having a dog/cat for the first year and for a dog it ranges up to $1,270 and for a cat its $1,070, these are large numbers that many people cannot handle. This proves that having a furry companion does not come cheap, it's rather very expensive so if you’re thinking of getting a pet just think about your financial situation and ask yourself do I have the money to keep my pet happy and healthy?
Some people may not agree with my opinion and say that animal shelters are trying their best and in their eyes they may be, but we can strive for more, we can and should make all animal shelters no-kill. Of course directors of animals shelters have to make the difficult decision of euthanizing animals to make room for more unwanted animals. According to the ASPCA on the the article Pet Statistics, “About 7.6 million pets/strays are taken into animal shelters nationwide every year, and of those 7.6 million taken in, about 2.7 million are euthanized.” This evidence shows how many dogs and cats are euthanized every year. The animal shelters are supposed to be a safe haven for unwanted animals, not a place they go for death row. Besides the uncalled for euthanasia, animal shelters are on a great mission, they adopt out many animals to their forever homes.
There are many ways to lessen death rate at animal shelters, one way is to have more low cost spay/neuter clinics so that it can help reduce overpopulation. For example at normal clinics the cost are as much as $200 but at low-cost clinics the prices are reduced to more than half of that! Like the organization, All About Animals, they have dropped their prices to $80 for a dog and $45 for a cat. This shows that organizations like these are amazing, we need more of them everywhere so many more people can have the opportunity to get their pet fixed without creating a financial burden on themselves. Another way to solve this issue is to have more city checks on pet owners to make sure their pets licenses are updated. Also like low cost spay/neuter clinics, micro-chipping should also be low cost and easy to obtain so your pet can have it. These will help with overpopulation so there won’t be as many unwanted animals.
In conclusion, animal shelters should stop euthanizing healthy animals. There are many cost efficient ways to get pet overpopulation under control as long as we’re willing to try. Then nobody has to be the bad guys and all animals will be able to find their forever home.
Yasmine Stahlmann, Michigan