There are more victims in the recent economic and housing downturn and they’re buddies of mine: the family dog

There are more victims in the recent economic and housing downturn and they’re buddies of mine: the family dog. You see, as houses are foreclosed, people are being forced to either move in with other family members who cannot accommodate dogs or relocate to apartments who don’t allow pets. Some of these folks are under so much stress that they wait until the last minute when they do not have time to think about what to do with their pets. In many of these cases, these pets are simply left in the abandoned homes where they will starve to death if not discovered.

At this time of crisis, my mom and I have seen many animal shelter groups on TV, encouraging people to turn their pets in to them. But my mom has been reading Nathan Winograd’s book, “Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America” to me and I say, “Not so fast!”

I was shocked to hear that many shelters have routinely euthanized healthy adoptable pets in staggering numbers. Shelters will tell you that their cages are crowded, their intake is greater than demand and they lack the money to care for these animals long-term. If you ask me, many animal lovers have blindly drunk the “pet overpopulation” Kool-Aid that many animal organizations have been peddling for years.

But in interviews, Winograd points out that if pets are killed because a shelter doesn’t have a comprehensive foster care program, that’s not pet overpopulation. That’s the lack of a foster care program. If adoptions are low because people are getting those pets from other places and the shelter isn’t doing off-the-premise adoptions, that’s a failure to do outside adoptions, not pet overpopulation.

If animals are killed because working with rescue groups is discouraged, that’s not pet overpopulation. If dogs are euthanized because volunteers and staff aren’t allowed to socialize them and they went “cage-crazy,” that’s a failure to have behavior rehabilitation program in place, not pet overpopulation.

Of course, I am not advocating for people to abandon their dogs in empty homes. Good grief! Dying of starvation is a very cruel and painful death. However, if you or someone you know is facing foreclosure and needs to relocate a dog, maybe you should consider contacting a rescue or a no-kill shelter. Rescue groups already have foster care systems in place and work very hard to match the right animal with the right home. When our family adopted Krissy, our most recent addition from Southwest Airedale Rescue, my mom and dad had to fill out a comprehensive questionnaire, undergo a home visit so that the rescue coordinator could make sure the home was safe and after a meet-and-greet with Krissy, we were finally approved for adoption.

As I think back on my own rescue from the local humane society, I am so grateful that a rescue group knew that I was going there so I didn’t have to stay too long. Who knows what would have happened to me? I just might have been another victim of the real estate market and when the economy is bad, it just kills us.

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