According to the Humane Society, 3 million to 4 million animals are euthanized in shelters every year. While this is a huge decrease from 40 years ago, that’s still a staggering number of pets being put to death every year.

What can we as a society do? The easiest thing is to spay or neuter your pet. There are many resources available if you are in a financial bind and can’t afford your personal veterinarian. Do a Web search for low cost spay or neuter services or call your local animal shelter for a list of available resources.

Here’s the problem we’re facing in the rescue world. For the past three years, we’ve said, “We don’t see how it can get worse,” and the next year it gets worse. Every shelter is full. Every foster home is full. Shelters are putting two to three dogs in kennels large enough for just one dog.

Dogs surrendered by their owners are the first ones to be put down.

Even no-kill shelters are putting dogs to sleep for issues that five years ago they would’ve worked through.

If your dog isn’t causing problems and you’re happy with him, let him retire where he’s loved.

If your dog is too sick or old and you can’t stand to see him suffer, take him by a burger joint, get him a cheeseburger, stop by the park, let them have a nice romp and then take them to the vet where they can head off to the Rainbow Bridge.

Don’t dump them in a cold shelter where they will more than likely be overlooked for all the younger dogs and have to die in a group of dogs they don’t know, wondering what happened to the person they love.

If you have an unaltered dog and have yet to spay or neuter, you are part of the problem.

Face it, if you aren’t a responsible breeder — meaning one who breeds for the betterment of the breed and only has a litter once every couple of years, who doesn’t breed too early or too late, who doesn’t breed every heat cycle, who cares more about dogs than they do money, trains their dogs, shows their dogs, has correct registries not bogus papers, who keeps their dogs up to date on shots and heartworm prevention, feeds the right food, cares for their dogs better than most people care for their children — then you need to spay or neuter your dogs.

If you haven’t spayed or neutered your dog and your dog “accidentally” gets pregnant, then you my friend are part of the problem too.

No dog accidentally gets pregnant, just like no person accidentally gets pregnant.

You as the human in the dog-human relationship can take steps to prevent that.

Walk through a shelter this week, look into the animals’ eyes and hear their cries. Ask to see the bodies. They won’t show them to you but you’ll know they are there. It happens all the time.

Every shelter is at Code Red status because human beings are the problem.

Herald/ Kathryn Leisinger

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