tagged w/ Abandoned Companion Animals
March 10, 4:59 PMMinneapolis Pets ExaminerMike Fry
Myth: Noun - A fiction or half-truth, especially one that forms part of an ideology.
Meme: Noun - A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another
Zeitgeist: Noun - The spirit of the time; the taste and outlook characteristic of a period or generation
In 2005 a grotesque news story broke about People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Two employees for the national animal rights group were charged with 31 counts each of felony animal cruelty after authorities found the bodies of 18 animals just “rescued” by PETA in a dumpster. Thirteen more dead animals were found in a “euthanasia van” registered to the organization.
As this disturbing story unfolded, more shocking information came to light: the animals killed by PETA staff were generally healthy and some were in no danger at the time they were killed. One group of animals, a mother cat and her kittens, were turned over to PETA by a veterinary clinic where they were available for adoption. The felines were healthy and well cared for by all accounts.
To get the vet clinic to release the cats PETA told the veterinary staff they planned to find homes for the felines. However, the kitties were killed in one of PETA’s mobile euthanasia vans moments later -- right there in the parking lot. The bodies of the cats were some of those found in dumpsters.
More shocking still: this was apparently not an isolated case of fringe employees going off-script. USDA documents were uncovered showing that PETA consistently kills between 88% and 97% of the animals it “rescues” each year.
When all was said and done cruelty charges against the PETA employees were dropped. Because they used lethal injection to kill the critters, and because lethal injection is classified as an appropriate means to dispatch unwanted pets, prosecutors could not make cruelty charges stick. Ultimately, the only convictions that resulted from this case were trespassing and illegal disposal of animal carcasses in dumpsters.
Rather than distancing themselves from the horrendous acts of these employees PETA called the deaths compassionate and necessary. PETA blamed the deaths of these animals on “pet overpopulation,” a national tragedy that many animal welfare advocates say results in deaths of about 4 million healthy dogs and cats in animal shelters every year.
“Pet overpopulation” is a phrase repeated with much regularity by those who work and volunteer in animal shelters and rescue groups, so much so that the notion that there are too many animals and not enough homes has generally not been questioned. The single piece of data used to define the problem has been the numbers of animals killed in shelters. Rarely has the question been asked, “what if these deaths are caused by something else?”
Recently data from a variety of sources has begun pointing to the fact that deaths in animal shelters are not due to a problem of animal overpopulation. The data suggests the actual problem may be more insidious.
The most compelling data suggesting that pet overpopulation is a myth comes out of a study jointly commissioned by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Maddie’s Fund and the Ad Council. The study concluded that every year about 21 million families bring a new dog or cat into their homes. To put that number into perspective, the total number of dogs and cats that enter animal shelters is around 8 million.
Because not all animals that enter animal shelters need new homes - some need to be reunited with their families and a small percentage (around 7%) need to be humanely euthanized due to terminal illness or severe behavior problems - the actual number of animals entering shelters that need new homes each year is estimated to be between 4 million and 5 million. In other words, there are about four times as many homes looking to acquire a new dog or cat than there are dogs and cats needing new homes.
CONTINUED...March 10, 4:59 PMMinneapolis Pets ExaminerMike Fry
Myth: Noun - A... more
July 14, 2010
Reporter's Notebook: Oil and the family pet
Posted: 06:19 PM ET
Randi Kaye | BIO
Program Note: Watch Randi Kaye's full report on AC360° tonight at 10pm ET.
I just got back from a couple of hours at the Louisiana SPCA here in New Orleans. For me, as an animal lover and the proud owner of a cat, this shoot was very tough.
We went because we wanted to see how the oil spill in the gulf is affecting the family pet. It’s not just pelicans and turtles and dolphins that are feeling this. While the family pet may not be covered in oil, too many of them are now homeless because their owners, mainly fisherman, can no longer afford to take care of them. They are out of work and behind on bills, so now as many as 80 dogs a month are ending up in shelters, given away by their owners.
At one shelter in St. Bernard Parish, they saw an increase of more than 100 dogs this past June compared to June last year. In June of 2009, they had 17 dogs turned in by owners. This year, 127. They say it’s all because of the spill.
I couldn’t tear my eyes away from these cages. There were all kinds of dogs: terriers, golden retrievers, and every kind of mixed breed you can image. One cuter than the next. More dogs have been turned in than cats but there are plenty of cats that now need homes too.
The SPCA’s Ana Zorrilla told me when some families come in to turn in their pets they can hardly bring themselves to say it’s because of the spill. She says they are just too torn up. She says she’d like BP to help foot some of the bills and help keep the family pet at home instead of at the shelters. She would like BP to pay for petfood and veterinary expenses so families can stay intact. With donations, the Lousiana SPCA just launched a program this week to try and keep pets at home by providing food, vet care, spaying and neutering, even microchipping. But they don’t have the funds for all the families who need it.
The saddest part about this is that so many of these now homeless pets may never find another home. The shelter we visited is not a no-kill shelter and almost every cage was taken. The dogs we saw today only have about 2 or 3 weeks, if they’re lucky, to get adopted. If they don’t get a second chance, these pets will likely be euthanized. And they never even had a drop of oil on them….July 14, 2010
Reporter's Notebook: Oil and the family pet
Posted: 06:19 PM... more