Our view: A people problem | CraigDailyPress.com

Our view: A people problem

To hear Ann Anderson say it, it’s been a “terrible summer” for the animal shelter.

What has made it so bad is what the Humane Society of Moffat County vice president called a “pet explosion” – meaning that the shelter, located at 2430 E. Victory Way, is seeing more than its fair share of impounded animals come through its doors.

And they’re more than the shelter can take.

From Jan. 1, 1996, to Dec. 31, 2006, more than 9,100 animals have been impounded. Although there is no official tally on how many dogs, cats and other animals have come for a stay at the shelter during the most recent cycle, Anderson said this year feels like more animals are being impounded than in the past.

This is a problem that affects more than pets. How we treat animals directly reflects on us, and who we are, as a society.

If we’re taking on the responsibility of owning a pet, we need to be just that: responsible.

Too often pets are left out in the streets. It seems dogs roam neighborhoods and chase cars almost at will, free of a leash. Ditto for cats, minus the car chasing. Worse, it seems as though cats are being used as throw-away animals.

The editorial board believes the latter problem is so big that it has become such a reality that many don’t see it as a problem. That it is just a way of life to have dogs or cats on the street.

And that’s not the worse part. The tragedy is when someone’s “pet” is impounded and he or she doesn’t realize right away, if at all.

From 1996 to 2006, 37 percent of the animals impounded were released to owners and 26 percent were adopted by new owners. That’s the good news.

The bad news is 32 percent of those animals were euthanized.

This does not need to be the case.

The first step is having more responsible pet owners, and that means spaying and neutering your pets if you have no intention of breeding them, and if you do plan on breeding, do so responsibly.

The Humane Society of Moffat County administers a reduced cost to spay and neuter program. Call 870-7500 for an application.

The Humane Society, along with Bear Creek, is trying to do its part by taking care of these animals, and using a transfer program so the animals can avoid being euthanized. Again that is the good news.

The bad news? Before these pets can be transferred, the animals must be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and sometimes tested for disease. These are costs typically picked up by owners.

However, to keep these animals alive at least for the moment, the Humane Society helps foot the bill, spending more than $16,800 in 2006 on medical procedures.

That is money that takes away from one of the Humane Society’s goals: To build a bigger no-kill community structure more adequate for the demands of the area.

That structure is looking like it could be harder and harder to reach off fundraising alone. We encourage the various government agencies to start looking at this problem and need now as Humane Society members have said they plan to bring funding requests to them.

We also encourage you, the resident, to get involved. The Humane Society needs members and board members to help its cause and further educate the public.

Call 870-8700 for more information.

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