Why We Need Animal Shelters

Inspired by a photo of a dog on the streets in Cuba, this link addresses the issues of suffering in pets and looks at why we need, or have, animal shelters.

All over the world animals that would be normally kept as pets wander the streets suffering until they die. Make no mistake, these are not strays, strays are animals who are lost and would be taken back by their owner who should be looking for them. These animals are often discarded pets or the unwanted offspring of pets.

People in developed nations often see these animals when they go on holidays to third world countries and think the problems of discarded and unwanted pets are limited to those impoverished nations. In truth, if one knows where to look, a person is just as likely to see starving and neglected pets in Canada, Germany, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The problem is that most people do not want to look.

… And The Ugly by Spuz.

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One of the most likely areas to find unwanted, starving, and neglected, pets is areas where the human population is on low incomes and is generally under educated. These people often want pets, but are either unable to afford spaying or neutering for their pet, or lack the knowledge of why it is important.  The dog in the photo above was the inspiration for this link and was photographed in 2001 on the streets in Cuba, but the problem occurs everywhere. 

Where I live, in Canada, I hear tales of dogs running wild in packs up north. Their numbers have made them nuisances and they are a danger to the human communities. For fun, and partially for necessity I suppose, people have taken to running down these dogs with their vehicles, seeing how many they can hit in an evening. 

It is easy for the rest of us to get angry over such cruelty, but what alternative would we have to suggest? The problem started many years ago when people released unwanted puppies who have formed feral dog packs, and continues to grow yearly as more and more pups are set free to fend for themselves because more are born than there are homes for. Many of these communities are remote and lack veterinarians, and if they have them, many of the people lack funds for a surgery they consider unnecessary.   Other areas are fortunate enough to have animal shelters to deal with picking up the unwanted animals. 

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  1. A really provocative article. Providing shelter for animals would be a very humane act and wouldn’t cost no more than the budget allocated for affording life’s extreme leisures.

  2. We, the people in India are worried over human shelters and thousands of homeless people.Naturally their pets will also remain homeless.Anyhow your article highlights the problem of providing animal shelters.A nice article.

  3. Your point is well taken. I live on a dirt road that must have signs posted “Dump Unwanted Dogs Here.” My county is getting serious. Recently Animal Services was taken over by the Sheriff’s Office. A program I like–when a puppy gets its first rabies shot the sheriff will notify you by mail when the next one is due with a serious admonition of the consequences of not following through.

  4. Well done article.

  5. Those are very sad pictures.

  6. Yeah very sad.

  7. Yes, a very sad situation indeed, and it just shouldn’t happen. I also liked the poem that related to the picture, but can’t leave a comment tonight.

  8. A really wonderful article. I loved your poem “saddness” as well but for some reason the page left me no place to comment nor was I able to hit the I like button.

  9. Nice message! I hope there will be an action against these poverty,

  10. This is truly horrible. I picked up a rescue pup from the Humane society a month ago and I can’t even believe the numbers of animals that were there. More then ever

  11. Unwanted, unfed animals becomes a serious health and safety issue–quite aside from the misery and suffering of the animal. “No kill” shelters are a nice idea, but the sad reality is that one female cat breeding unrestrained is a small population explosion–and they tend to breed to the food supply.

  12. :-)

  13. “In truth, if one knows where to look, a person is just as likely to see starving and neglected pets in Canada, Germany, the United States, and the United Kingdom.”

    That’s not right. There are extensive shelters and programmes for strays in the UK, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, for example (the RSPCA) was founded over a century ago.

  14. Yes, we do need more no-kill shelter, but we also need more shelters for people. Sometimes we just have pity with the cute dog or cat, but look over the people that share the same street, hunger and hopelessness with them. Perhaps because they are not cute enough? SY

  15. to Amanda “If one knows where to look”.. YES you can find starving and neglected animals even in the UK! In council housing you will often see the results of people who have allowed their cats to reproduce and can easily find unwanted kittens – obviously if it was not true there would no longer be shelters in the UK, or a need for the RSPCA.

    to hospitalera – Needing one does not mean we do not need the other too.

  16. If a person cannot correlate the Maslow’s Pyramide of Needs – Necessities to animals, it is hard to qualify them as human, To have a shelter – to be protected- is a basic need for animals.
    As we domesticated animals, we have to care for their basic needs:it is that simple.
    That’s what is called responsibility, a very important component of civilisation.

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