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The Animal Overpopulation Problem
Every year U. S. shelters
euthanize between 4 and 5
million cats and dogs, yet the
pet population continues to
grow. The Humane Society of
the United States estimates
that 2,500 to 3,000 puppies and
kittens are born every hour. There are so many unwanted
pets in the United States that
the shelters have been
overflowing for years.
The Verde Valley is not
immune to the animal
overpopulation problem. There
were over 1800 animals
euthanized at local shelters in 2000.
Unfortunately, not all animals make it to the
shelters. For whatever
reason, people also abandon their unwanted pets in the desert.
Domestic pets cannot survive in the wild; they die slow agonizing
deaths from starvation, thirst and disease.
The ones that enjoy a quick end to their suffering will be eaten
alive by predators. Those
that survive will feed on the local natural wildlife, damaging the
The Cost to You
Hundreds of thousands of dollars of your money is being spent in the Verde Valley on animal control. For shelter facilities, staff salaries and the expense of expansion. For Animal Control Officers , vehicles, equipment and other costs too numerous to mention here. Shelter staff, volunteers and officers do the best that they can to deal with the problem of animal overpopulation. Since "one unaltered cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 cats in seven years, and one unaltered dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 dogs in six years," (HSUS) it becomes apparent that they are fighting a losing battle. There are just not enough homes for all of these animals. The reality is that most will have to be euthanized and the majority will be puppies and kittens. These birth rates together with the estimated growth of the Verde Valley, will mean that more of your tax dollars that could be better spent on human services, are going to be dedicated to animal control. Prevention is the only solution and there is only one answer to the animal overpopulation problem in the Verde Valley . . .Spaying or Neutering
While there are strong ‘Dog at Large’ laws
keeping the wild dog population low, there are no ordinances governing
feral cats. “Free roaming
cats prey on small mammals, songbirds, and other wildlife; spread
zoonotic diseases such as rabies and cause car accidents among other
problems” (HSUS). Many tourists are drawn to the Verde Valley
because of our diverse natural habitat, a dramatic loss of wildlife
caused by feral cats could impact the millions of tourist dollars
currently being spent here.
Furthermore, “from nips to bites to actual
attacks, dog bites are a serious problem.
Dog bite victims requiring medical attention in the United States
number 500,000 to 1 million annually.
Countless more bites go unreported and untreated.
On average, about a dozen people die each year from dog bites”
(State Farm Insurance). The
national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates half of
all children 12 and younger have been bitten by a dog.
“Of the nearly twenty fatalities caused by dog attacks
investigated between 1992 and 1994, we have found that none was caused
by a spayed or neutered dog” (Dr. Randall Lockwood, Ph D, vice
president for Training Initiatives). In addition to the medical
costs being spent on dog bites and attacks, there are legal costs as
There are no quick or easy
solutions to the problem of
unwanted pets numbering in
the millions. Spay/neuter
programs appear to be
working . . . slowly. Medically,
there is no reason not to spay
and neuter, therefore we must
educate pet owners to be
responsible and provide the
funds necessary to sterilize
their pets, so there is no
excuse not to. Only by
reducing the number of
animals capable of breeding
will we be able to reduce pet
overpopulation. Join us in our mission!