The Herald Bulletin

July 6, 2013

Maleah Stringer: Why do people give up their pets?

The Herald Bulletin

---- — It would be safe to say that the staff and volunteers at the Animal Protection League are overwhelmed, sad, depressed, angry, frustrated and exhausted. And cynical. The constant intake of animals shows no signs of slowing down.

This is not just happening in Anderson, or Indiana but in shelters and humane societies across the country. It is mind boggling to think how many animals are going into shelters.

Here are some reasons that people tell us they are giving up their pets:

-- People bringing their pets to us have brought it to my attention that apparently they believe Indiana is one of the few states in the country that allows a common excuse: We are moving out of state.

These particular people adopted this wonderful Rottie mix from us a year ago. They returned him last week. They are putting their house up for sale and, well, they both work and you can’t show your house with a big Rottie either in the house or in the yard and they have no place to put him. And no, they don’t really want him after they move — there won’t be room since they are moving to an apartment. He’s a great dog. But not great enough to make a commitment to him for the duration of his life. Some people complain that our adoption process is too rigorous. Apparently in this case it was not rigorous enough.

-- A woman came to us with three adult cats in a carrier. She was crying, saying she had to turn them in because she just couldn’t afford them anymore. I asked what she needed. Everything, she exclaimed. Food, litter, they all needed spayed/neutered, flea meds. I asked if she wanted to keep them. “Oh yes, but I just can’t afford them and give them what they need.” I told her we could give her donated litter, food, spay/neuter vouchers and donated flea medication. She stopped crying and couldn’t manage to find the words. It was not because she was overcome with joy and gratitude. She didn’t want the cats and simply didn’t know what to say.

-- An owner called and wanted to know if we would take her 7- and 9-year-old dogs. She’s had them since they were puppies. They are moving and, well, they are moving into a new house and just want to start “fresh” with new pets. They want puppies.

-- A man brought in a little Shepherd mix puppy. He explained that a friend gave it to him but it’s just not working out. He has Pit Bulls and American bulldogs; he just can’t keep it. Meanwhile he spies a little American Bulldog puppy who had just come in and was in the play yard. He started asking all sorts of questions. Was it a boy or girl? I explained that the puppy would be spayed/neutered before it left. His face fell. I asked if he was a breeder. Well, he used to be. He’d take the puppy even if it was fixed. I explained he had to fill out an application. He decided he did not want the puppy.

Maleah Stringer is executive director of the Animal Protection League, 613 Dewey St., Anderson. She can be reached at 356-0900 or at