To the Editor:
If all pet owners said they treat their pets as children, we would see shelters empty, rare sightings of feral animals, low pregnancies and litters, more playing at the dog parks and less neglect. Unfortunately, a lot of pet owners would be terrible “parents” in Killeen and surrounding areas.
I visited the Killeen animal shelter to check out the animals that were available for adoption. I was shocked to see the amount of animals there.
When I asked about how these animals got there, a majority of them were captured off the streets, either due to escaping out of their homes or were simply dumped off.
Few of these animals are “bailed out,” while the rest of the pets sit in these confined spaces longer because either the owners cannot afford to pay the fee or they were neglected.
I am on several Facebook pages, especially the area pet and yard sale pages, and during the holidays, I saw an exhorbitant amount of puppies being sold.
Unfortunately, a lot of pets arrive to the shelter shortly after Christmas for various reasons. “My child is allergic to the dog!” “The dog is too hyper for me!” “We don’t have the time to train it!” “I’m moving and my new landlord doesn’t allow pets!” “My cat is sick and I can’t afford the vet bill!”
I saw a lot of these comments on the Facebook pages. Some of these animals don’t even make it to the shelter. They are usually dropped off in a vacant area of town and let loose, often avoiding the surrender fee the shelters charge for people who no longer want to maintain responsibility of these animals.
In a three-day span, I saw over 40 postings of people seeing cats and dogs roaming the streets during the first week of January. About 10 of them got hit and died.
I feel more needs to be done about the overpopulation of animals. The city ordinance to get your animal spayed or neutered is only as good as Animal Control and the city of Killeen’s follow-through with it, which is basically a joke.
There are so many businesses, such as Emanicpet, that offer low fees to fix pets, but again, it would only be useful if Animal Control and the city held these pet owners responsible. Adding a small fee every month to their water bills would be a suggestion.
Ticketing the residents will lower the litter rates and kill rates, and shelters will not be overwhelmed.