The Ruff Report: Dogs and Adoption

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Homeless pets are in dire need of help

Millions of homeless pets in the United States face suffering and peril unless people take measures beyond just adopting dogs and cats to help overwhelmed humane societies deal with the problem, an animal welfare organization warns.

The situation is so dire because of hard economic times that those who have already adopted or who are unable to adopt are being urged to become foster pet parents, volunteer at shelters, and donate food and money to humane societies.

"None of us can solve this alone," Liz Finch, an official with Best Friends Animal Society of Utah, states in a media release. "Do one small thing and get your friends to do one small thing, too. It's amazing how fast these small sacrifices add up."

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says as many as one million dogs and cats in the United States could end up homeless because the home foreclosure crisis is forcing many dislocated pet parents to relinquish their companions.Best Friends Animal Society says it has been receiving daily requests for help from people who have lost jobs and can no longer afford to keep their pets as well as reports of cats and dogs left behind to fend for themselves after a foreclosure.

"We are seeing the necessity now more than ever of all of us working together to solve the homeless pet problem," Finch said.The society - the nation's largest facility for abused, abandoned and special needs companion animals - has a sanctuary in a remote part of southern Utah that is home on any given day to approximately 1,700 dogs, cats, horses, rabbits and birds.

But the sanctuary cannot take in the millions of animals who need help, so the society started a No More Homeless Pets program about 20 years ago to share resources and teach people how they can help, Finch said.

Best Friends Animal Society urges people to take these steps to help homeless pets:

  • Make a small donation to a local rescue group or shelter and get five friends to do the same. Small amounts add up fast.
  • Volunteer at a local shelter or rescue group.
  • Foster a homeless pet and promote it for adoption.
  • Spay/neuter your pets and consider donating the cost of a spay/neuter for a neighbor who cannot afford to have their pet altered.
  • Consider adopting one more dog or one more cat.
  • Donate to the local pet food bank or a traditional food bank that accommodates pet owners.