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Written by Douglas Erickson
A staggering 3 to 4 million cats and dogs are euthanized in the United States each year. There is a common fallacy that animals are placed in animal shelters because they have done something wrong. This is not true. Most animals are in shelters because they are victims of abuse and neglect not because of anything they did.
Sadly, when animal shelters become over-populated staff members are forced to make difficult decisions to euthanize innocent animals when they are not adopted (HSUS, 2011).
The amount of euthanized animals could be reduced if more people adopted rather than purchased. Among many reasons saving the life of a pet is sure to strengthen the bond between pet and pet parent. According to The Humane Society of United States there are many other important reasons to adopt and they are (HSUS, 2011):
- You'll save a life. Because there is limited space at shelters, staff members sometimes need to make very hard decisions to euthanize animals that haven't been adopted. Many of the animals euthanized are innocent victims of human abuse and neglect.
- You'll get a healthy pet. Most shelters examine and give vaccinations to animals when they arrive, and many spay or neuter them before being adopted. In addition, animals must pass a series of temperament tests to ensure they will be a good match for you and your family.
- You'll save money. Adopting a pet from an animal shelter is much less expensive than buying a pet at a pet store or through other sources. In many cases, animal shelters or animal rescue groups do not charge much more than the cost of vaccinations, spay or neutering of your new companion.
- You'll feel better. Pets have a way of putting a smile on your face and a spring in your step. Not only do animals give you unconditional love, but also they have been shown to be psychologically, emotionally, and physically beneficial.
- You won't be supporting puppy mills and pet stores. Puppy mills are "factory style" dog-breeding facilities that put profit above the welfare of dogs. Most dogs raised in puppy mills are housed in shockingly poor conditions with improper medical care, and the parents of the puppies are kept in cages to be bred over and over for years, without human companionship and with little hope of ever joining a family.
If purchasing a pet to do your research to ensure your pet is coming from a responsible and ethical breeder. Important, learn what type of pet is best suited for you and your family. Many animals become victim to animal shelters as the result of human ignorance. Making smart and informed decisions can save the lives of millions.