Monday, January 24, 2011

Animal Auschwitz

Cay is doing a school report on the euthanasia of unwanted pets, which is prompting us to do more detailed research on the topic than we did last year when we adopted Nyx.

My favorite post-adoption photo.
This was taken before we started shaving her
(the dog, I mean).
Nyx came from the Galveston County Animal Shelter.  Few sources want to reveal euthanasia statistics because they are controversial and upsetting to the general public (you won't receive information on those statistics if you ask at the shelter - I tried).  This evening, I found a site run by a rescue group that claims the shelter currently euthanizes 85% of the 10,000 or so pets it takes in every year.

Eighty-five percent, many of which are fully-socialized and fully-adoptable animals.  I find that to be a gut-punching number and I'm not even a pet enthusiast.  I don't know what I expected, but I guess part of me was unconsciously assuming that "most" of the euthanized were feral, sick, or otherwise unadoptable, and that the kill ratio was significantly lower. 

Each year, one unwanted animal is killed for every 33 human residents of Galveston County.  This pretty much solidifies my opinion that obtaining pets from breeders is unconscionable in the majority of cases (unless someone genuinely requires breed characteristics for the animal to perform a specific job - police K9, handicapped service, cattle herder, etc.). 

That's just my take on it, and I'm sure it'll make me as popular among the conformist set as many of my other opinions.  But I wonder if many of them even realize as they're picking out a designer pup that another perfectly suitable dog is being killed as a result of their choice.  A lot of them probably don't know that a viable option exists.  I wasn't totally sure myself, until we went through this process. 

There's good rapport potential in shelter dogs, eh?
I thought that this was an absolutely superb photo, particularly because the facial expressions exactly mirror each other just as the balance of body language does.  However, the human depicted here was conscious of her social reputation and didn't necessarily want her identity revealed in this goofy offering.  The dog, of course, will never care about her social reputation. 
Cayley wants to start volunteering at an animal shelter when she's old enough to be accepted into such a role, so we'll see what kind of a positive contribution we'll be able to make to this sobering situation, when the time comes. 

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