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Saturday, August 15th is International Homeless Animals Day (IHAD), an event that the International Society for Animal Rights started in 19926. The International Society for Animal Rights (ISAR) is an animal welfare group that advocates for animal rights through education and legislation7. One of the group’s main programs is related to reducing the deaths of dogs and cats that occur due to overpopulation.
Each year on the third Saturday of August, International Homeless Animals Day is meant to draw attention to the issue of pet overpopulation. ISAR hosts all kinds of events throughout the United States in an effort to raise awareness. These events range from adoption fairs to dog walks, spay and neuter clinics, informational talks, and more.
This year, in honor of International Homeless Animals Day, we thought we’d share a few simple ways you can join the movement to help prevent pet overpopulation and thus prevent the killing of unwanted cats and dogs.
According to the ASPCA, around 6.5 million pets wind up in animal shelters each year just in the United States alone. Of these 6.5 million pets, about 1.5 million of them are euthanized each year due to shelters lacking the capacity to hold them all8.
These heartbreaking statistics are directly linked to pet overpopulation. If we can control the pet population we can reduce the number of homeless animals and, therefore, the number of pets in shelters. Of course, this is an international issue, but we can begin the work close to home.
Read on to learn how you can help!
One of the most effective ways to reduce the number of homeless animals is by spaying and neutering our pets.
Cats and dogs can quickly reproduce, leading to large numbers of puppies and kittens that pet owners may be unable to care for. Inevitably, these pets often wind up on the streets and then in the shelters. For the health of the overall population, the breeding of cats and dogs is best left to licensed experts.
The rest of us should spay and neuter our pets to limit reproduction and avoid being tasked with caring for more pets than we can manage.
Fostering a shelter pet has all kinds of benefits, including reducing the number of pets in shelters. If you can give a temporary home to a shelter pet, the shelter can use that space to house another animal, thus increasing their capacity while avoiding overcrowding.
Additionally, pets who live in foster homes are often more appealing to potential adopters. This is because the foster parent can offer valuable insights into the pet’s personality and help them adjust to life in a home.
Pets in foster homes are less stressed than pets in shelters because they have a more calm environment and room to move around. As a result, prospective adopters can get a better idea of how the pet will fit into their own home, which helps them choose the right pet for their family.
Do not under-estimate the power of microchipping your pets!
The ASPCA states that over 700,000 of the pets that enter animal shelters each year are returned to their owners9. If your pet happens to end up in a shelter, his microchip will make it easy for shelter staff to determine where he lives and how to get in touch with you.
Better yet, since most veterinarians can scan microchips, your pet may be returned to you before he even gets to an animal shelter. On the flip side, if you encounter a lost pet, all you have to do is head to the nearest vet’s office to check for a microchip. In many cases, you’ll have the pet reunited with his owner in no time!
As you can see, microchips play a powerful role in keeping pets out of animal shelters.
Advocating for animal rescue is another way to help reduce the number of homeless animals and prevent pet overpopulation.
The best thing about animal rescue advocacy is that there are all kinds of ways you can incorporate it into your life. You could volunteer at your local shelter, help coordinate pet adoption fairs, share details about adoptable pets on social media, set up a recurring monthly donation, or anything else you can think of to promote the cause.
The more awareness we bring to animal rescues and the pets they help, the easier it will be for them to get funding and find homes for the pets in need!
Pet overpopulation is a critical issue around the globe that leads to homeless animals and a heartbreaking number of euthanizations. While this problem can’t be solved overnight, we all must work to be aware of the issue and take small steps to combat pet overpopulation. The tips we shared above are a wonderful way to get started, but don’t shy away from thinking bigger!
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6ISAR Online: International Homeless Animals Day
7ISAR Online: About Us
8ASPCA: Pet Statistics
9ASPCA: Pet Statistics