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Whose problem is it anyway?

posted August 26th, 2014 by
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The above meme recently popped up in my Facebook newsfeed. And while I agree with the heart of what this is getting at, I feel the way it is phrased puts all of the responsibility on shelters and none on pet owners and citizens of the community.

It is absolutely sad that perfectly good animals are put down everyday. But what would happen if Tulsa Animal Welfare and other shelters that euthanize suddenly stopped this practice?

There is only a finite amount of space at TAW. To fill it with homeless animals beyond capacity would be inhumane. There is also only a finite amount of money in our city’s budget to care for these animals. Pet food, cat litter and staff to care for them adds up quickly.

So for a shelter to cease its practice of humane euthanasia, it would have to cap the number of animals it could accept and would have to turn animals away. This is a common reality for most no-kill rescue groups. Space is limited and there are only so many willing to foster pets.

So then what would happen? Would people just stop surrendering their pets because all of the shelters are full? Maybe.

Or maybe they would dump them somewhere, turning them out on the street. Is death by starvation or being run over by a car really a better alternative to humane euthanasia?

It’s tragic that as a community, we put down so many innocent animals. It’s also tragic that as a community, we are ok with pointing fingers at the shelter.

It is time to start focusing on WHY we have such an overpopulation of pets in our area. Holding pet owners accountable for spaying and neutering their pets would be a good place to start.

- Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]