By Jenny Anderson
Special to Today’s News-Herald
There is often a stigma attached to adult animals, especially dogs, in shelters. Community members may feel the pets were turned-in because there is something wrong with them. Often people believe the animal is somehow inferior to those purchased from a breeder. Petfinder.com has compiled a list of the top ten reasons people have given to dispel this mistaken belief. It may surprise you to see the most common reasons people give when surrendering the pet. Very few explanations listed are due to the animal itself. Most have family situations which prevent keeping the pet.
The high costs involved in keeping pets, moving, and landlord issues are all cited among the top five reasons both cats and dogs are turned-in to a shelter. Sometimes relationship issues between family members make it difficult to keep the pet. Although none of these reasons are the animal’s fault, the pet is caught in the middle of a bad situation…living in the wrong place at the wrong time. As PetFinder.com states, “Far from being tainted or unadoptable, it seems relinquished dogs and cats are simply at the mercy of unequipped owners or unfortunate circumstances.”
The number one reason cats are surrendered is “too many animals” in the household. I suspect this may result when an unaltered animal has kittens. Cats have an uncanny ability to procreate beginning at a very young age. Time and time again a pregnant female is dropped at the shelter to have her litter there, in hopes the kittens will find homes. Unfortunately, the sad truth is cats have a much lower survival rate in most shelters around the country. Cats do not adjust well to life in small kennels and are quite prone to the airborne upper respiratory infections.
Other factors, such as allergic reactions to animal dander, cause people to give up pets, especially cats. There are measures we can take, but not everyone is willing to “jump through the hoops” to keep an animal. This is especially true when one’s lifestyle may need to be adjusted in accommodating an animal.
Sometimes it’s simply a matter of finding the right fit. There are some dogs that are too active for the owner. Occasionally an animal displays aggression in certain situations, and someone is bitten. In other cases the new animal may have problems co-existing with other pets in the home. Yet, it is not necessarily the new pet’s fault. The other household pets may not adjust well to a newcomer. Our local shelter will accommodate your making introductions with existing animals. This will give you some idea of whether or not the adoption will work out.
A pet adopted from a shelter will be every bit at loving, loyal, and well-behaved as one purchased elsewhere. You don’t have to be uninformed when you can get background information from the shelter staff. The important thing we must realize is that we must prepare for any new member of the family, make some adjustments, and choose according to our desired lifestyle.
The Western Arizona Humane Society is open Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., with kennel hours 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Call 855-5083 for details. For found or lost pets, call 855-4111. View animals found at www.lhcpd.com.