By Maleah Stringer
For The Herald Bulletin
It’s only the first of May, and the Animal Protection League is full to the gills with homeless animals.
When we get two dogs adopted, fostered or rescued, then eight come in. Twenty-three cats came to us in one day a few weeks ago. This does not bode well for the summer.
Apparently many people in our community really do not understand that there is a leash law for cats and dogs in Anderson. Basically what this means is that animals are not to run loose. This is not a hard concept. Based on people’s actions, they do not believe this pertains to cats and particularly not their cats. Nor do many of these folks believe in spaying/neutering, which is the primary reason we have a huge cat overpopulation in our community.
There are lots of backyard breeders in our community who keep their dogs chained outside, which means indiscriminate breeding with any dog not neutered who comes along. And guess who gets these “mistakes” as they call them? Shelters and rescues.
Until we get a handle on the spay/neuter issue, we are going to continue to have this problem. And, no, this is not always about not having the money to do it. Some people tell me that they believe spaying/neutering is inhumane. There are men who refuse to neuter their male animals.
And then there are some who believe that all female animals should have at least one litter — they tell me that it makes them a “better pet” and that all male animals should get to have sex. And some believe that regardless of location that these animals who are not spayed/neutered should be able to roam outside. That it is cruel to keep them inside. Huh?
Others believe that their children should get to experience the miracle of birth through their pets. And, since their pets are legally their property, they can allow them to have puppies and kittens. They also believe if they cannot find homes for all of them that they will just take them to the shelter. After all, they are really cute and will get a home quickly. Of course, the others who were already there are really cute and sweet as well.
It is estimated that 10 million animals are euthanized in the United States every year — because shelters and rescue facilities are full and there is simply nowhere for them to go. Surely we can do better than this. Can’t we? It’s talked about, people like me scream from a soapbox every chance we get and this is our reality.
We cringe every time we see a car come to the Animal Protection League that we do not recognize. Preparing ourselves for the poor animals they are bringing to us. Explaining to us that they are moving, explaining why they didn’t spay their pet and now have 10 babies that they do not want.
So I will ask again, as a community how do we want to fix this? I believe we can, we just have to commit and do the work.
Maleah Stringer is executive director of the Animal Protection League, 613 Dewey St., Anderson. She can be reached at 356-0900 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.