Discussion in 'Dog News and Articles' started by RD, Jan 29, 2011.
What do you guys think of this?
Pet Underpopulation: The Pet Shortage in the US by Loretta Baughan
Didn't finish the article, but to me, over-population, under-population, either way, there are dogs dying every day in shelters. And many of them are puppies who never even had a chance to live because someone let their dog be bred.
It's definitely an interesting read, though, I'm going to finish it later.
ETA: Just read more of it, and it looks like she touched on what I mentioned. This is really interesting.
I really think the fact that shelters are so **** PICKY about the homes they adopt out to is a real contributing factor to being so over-loaded with pets all the time. Which is just really sad. I 100% understand having necessary rules and procedures, but a lot of things shelters require are just...really unnecessary - and they don't go case by case.
Hahahahahahahaha there is not an under shortage of pets in America. Considering most pet owners have more than one pet, there are more 4 leggers than people in this country. And I agree with the shelters bend overpopulated. I might read something like that when all of the kennels and pounds are empty.
Personally I think it's a load of carp.
i don't think there's a dog overpopulation.
i do believe there is a cat one. at least around here, kitten season is overwhelming. there are so many stray and feral cats reproducing and it's out of control. there is low cost TNR available but i'm not sure how accessible it really is, and for the most part, these aren't "owned" cats, and people aren't really that excited to leap up and take responsibility for them.
but dogs? puppy mill business is BOOMING. byber business, petstore business. they are selling puppies and puppies and more puppies. logic tells me that if there were truly an overpopulation problem, this wouldn't be the case. there wouldn't be demand.
dogs languish in our shelter system not because there aren't homes available, but because we aren't doing a very good job of getting dogs into the homes. for a bunch of reasons including but not limited to: lack of marketing, difficult adoption requirements, lack of hours, the myth of the "damaged goods" shelter dog, etc. in truth, the number of dogs killed in shelters has dramatically DECREASED over the past several decades. but you would never guess that from listening to the talking heads.
I've heard this argument - recently actually - and in a lot of ways it makes sense. Yeah, the number of animals being euthanized in shelters has gone down very significantly in the past 20 years. But does that statistic alone mean that there's a pet underpopulation? I'm not really sure they're seeing the full picture.
Maybe because some states are importing dogs from other states, the author of the article believes that nationally, the numbers average out. But I think we should look at this on more of a regional, or even state level. I know from personal experience that the two states I've lived in in my life - Alabama and Texas - have major pet overpopulation problems. I know of one shelter in Alabama that does transport dogs to shelters in other states to get them adopted. But I could name off at least a dozen other shelters - in both states - that don't transport dogs; in fact, that one in AL is the only one I know of. The rest of these shelters are euthanizing HUGE percentages of dogs; and a huge percentage of the rest of the dogs are going to rescues. Not a lot of people actually adopt dogs from shelters around here. And rescues are so full they can't find enough foster homes; and the dogs stay in rescues a long time (my organization has 5 dogs up for adoption who have been up for adoption for over a year).
So ok, nationally, the pet overpopulation problem is perhaps becomming less of a problem. But, at least in TX and AL, pet overpopulation is still definately a real thing.
I should clarify - I don't think there is an underpopulation.... there is just a population. And euthanization numbers have probably gone down because there are many more no-kill shelters popping up as well as private rescue organizations. Animal Control isn't the only option for homeless animals anymore.
It depends really. In Tucson the county shelter had a high euthanasia rate because of a policy of euthing pit bulls over 4 months old (zomg they could have been used as fighters!!!11eleventy1). Considering a large percentage of the dogs turned in were adult or adolescent bullies, tada.
But there wasn't really a surplus of dogs. We searched for months for a dog. For a puppy. Anything. I scoured craigslist and e-mailed people as soon as ads were up, only to get a reply a week later of, "sorry she's already taken".
Since our landlord's insurance disallowed certain breeds and mixes, we were very limited in what we could consider. And the ones we were allowed to have just didn't exist in the shelters. We were turned down by several rescues for stupid reasons, like age, income, etc.
I remember a shih tzu at the county shelter. He was due to go up for adoption at 10 am, and several families were waiting for him. There was actually a fistfight in the lobby over him when the adoption desk opened.
I completely agree with this, in the US at least.
I don't think there's a NATIONAL underpopulation or overpopulation of dogs. I agree with Elegy and Romy's reasons for dogs still existing in shelters and rescues. It's sad, but certainly easier to buy a dog from a pet store, puppymill or byb than to try to get one from a rescue or a privately owned shelter.
I do think there is an over all pet surplus. But part of the problem is that there is a high demand for some dogs, and a surplus of others. The net result is a surplus where unwanted dogs are killed.
The issue is people who let their dogs breed, or byb breeds that aren't high demand. For example small poodle crosses (that have no issues) are snapped up pretty quickly. But large dark dogs ... they are not as in demand and are such being put down in larger numbers due to lack of homes for THAT type of dog.
This is why I hate the 'don't breed till all the dogs have homes' Often the dogs that just aren't adopted aren't the ones that the average public wants. So either we have to equip the public to adopt these dogs (education) or some how stop people from breeding them.
(note Canada has less of pet surplus population, but its still an issue)
I completely agree that it's regional. We kill soo many 8-week-old puppies, small dogs, purebreds, all with fabulous temperments. Dogs that people would be killing each other over if it were anywhere else! We do transport, but it's not enough. Just the other day, we killed a litter of purebred Shar Pei puppies that the breeders had left over from the flea market.
I agree with the others that maybe there's an underpopulation of poodles, shih tzus and other little cute fluffies, but there is a surplus of dogs such as labs, basic *insert color here* in-determinant mutts, and other types according to the area (for example, VA has quite a surplus of all types of hounds, labs and lab mixes, shepherd mixes, and bully breed mixes).
I think the other posters pretty much summed up my thoughts...
There is a shortage of "desireable" (breed, age, etc.) dogs in at least some areas or the markets wouldn't still be booming like they are.
There is a shortage of educated owners seeking less popular dogs to adopt.
There is a surplus of "unwanted" breeds/ages/stereotypes/adoption requirements/assessment expertise in many areas.
But most importantly:
There will never be a surplus of Kim's! (big orange indeterminate mutt)
I agree with the "it is regional" comment. My friend runs a private rescue here in Vermont, and when she hit 100 adoptions, I asked her how many were "local" dogs. It was single digits.
She pulls a lot of dogs from West Virginia, Alabama, Kentucky, and a few other places. Meg was on a WV transport.
The issue around here is that, because spay/neuter has been heavily used, and there is a general culture where there is perhaps less 'turn over' of pets than in some other parts of the country, is that the few strays/owner surrenders tend to be dogs with real issues. Issues that the owner wasn't willing or able to work through, and therefore the dogs are frequently not as adoptable. Meanwhile, you can bring truckloads of nice, young, friendly dogs who just need a bit of training up from other parts of the country.
And I do think it's AWESOME that other states are willing to do transports from the overpopulated states. There's always debate going on about how to solve the shelter overcrowding problems in my area, and I truely believe that transporting dogs is the best way to fix it. Unfortunately transports are expensive and logistically difficult.... But still, I wish more shelters/rescues were doing it.