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From Michele L. Krause

By Staff | May 27, 2009

Recently I adopted Sparky, a mutt from Wetzel County Animal Shelter, where the staff works hard to stem the tide of indifference to the plight of animals despite limited space and funds that simply cannot support al the animals brought there.

According to the ASPCA, two to three million dogs and six to nine million cats are abandoned and brought to shelters each year. Fifty percent of the dogs and 70 percent of the cats never make it out alive. Responsible owner who spay or neuter their animals help fight the problem, but too many don’t bother. Perhaps if they realized that one female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 kittens in seven years and one female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies in six years, they might change.

Such statistics prompted the Mayor of Los Angeles to endorse one of the strongest policies dealing with this issue.

In 2007, the Los Angeles shelters took in 50,000 cats and dogs, euthanizing 15,000 of them, costing the city two million dollars, not to mention the animals their lives. Los Angeles now requires almost all dogs and cats to be sterilized by the age of four months, fining defiant owners from $100 to $400 and requiring eight to 40 hours of community service, hopefully performed in the crowded shelter where they would see the pain wrought by their irresponsibility.

Taxpayers should be outraged by the irresponsibility of others because they are the ones bearing the brunt of this financial burden. Whether by refusing to spay or neuter their pets, allowing their cats to roam fee, or dumping their hound dogs at the end of hunting season rather than pay for their upkeep, irresponsible owners force taxpayers to pay the price of supporting these animals or having them exterminated.

One need not be an animal lover to see that especially in hard economic times it makes no sense to support such irresponsible behavior. Both the organized killing of these animals and the warehousing of them in shelters drains the community’s limited resources. Euthanasia is not a solution to the economic drain on society, any more than is increasing the number of shelters.

The most cost-effective and human solution is reducing the population of unwanted animals through responsible spaying and neutering. To deal with those who would continue to place the burden on the rest of us, we need to support legislation to make spaying or neutering mandatory.

Michele L. Krause

Huntington, N.Y.