Here is the latest Letter from Cal Morgan, President and CEO of Atlanta Humane Society and SPCA of Georgia, Inc.
We have all seen the photos and videos of sad animal faces peering out from behind barred cages in animal shelters, and we have all been moved with compassion by their plight. Rescue groups throughout our community are brimming with adoptable animals all asking for support and for a warm and loving home. I recently saw a bulletin board flyer with the picture of a small white dog that was in need of a new home and it articulated all of the various issues with this animal: doesn’t get along with other dogs, not safe around small children, has some physical needs and has not been well socialized because she was a stray from the streets. What are her chances of finding a home? My guess is that it will be a challenge and will take a lot of time and just the right family.
All of the things I have described above are symptoms of a larger problem in our community and nationwide. The issue is animal homelessness or overpopulation. It is estimated from various sources that there are 70 million homeless animals in the United States. It is also estimated that approximately 70,000 dogs and cats are born each day in our country. Approximately 2.4 million animals are euthanized in shelters each year. You begin to get the picture: this is the single biggest problem for animal welfare organizations to try and tackle!
There are a variety of solutions that can begin to turn this around; first and foremost is spaying and neutering. It is the single, most effective strategy to slow the growth of the animal homeless population in our communities. Secondly, identification is of significant value. Only 15-30 percent of dogs that are lost are reunited with their owners and for cats the numbers fall to less than 5 percent. Getting your pets microchipped is the best way to ensure that they can be identified and returned to their home. Finally, keeping your pets in your home and making a commitment to caring for them for their lifetimes is an important way to avoid animals becoming homeless and being relinquished to an animal shelter. Each year, Atlanta Humane Society receives over 8,000 animals that are turned in by their owners for various reasons. While we are able to place over 97 percent of them into loving homes, the demand continues to grow.
As an organization, we are committed to reducing animal homelessness in our region, and we offer a variety of low-cost programs for people in the community who find it a financial hardship to get their pet spayed or neutered. We also offer low-cost microchipping and other services to help you do the best you can to protect your beloved pet from becoming a homeless statistic. Please visit us at www.atlantahumane.org for more information. We need your help to fight animal homelessness!