To the editor:
In a world in which millions of dogs and cats are being put down every year, it’s a reasonable question to ask why more isn’t being done to severely reduce the number being born. There is no rationale in this day and age why any animal is being killed just for being born.
Millions of dogs are destroyed due to the greed of puppy mills, the ignorance of back yard breeders and irresponsible pet owners. We need to eliminate the reasons these pets are put to death.
Again, proposed legislation is being introduced to tighten regulations for better treatment of animals. How many more times does an animal welfare bill need to be introduced before it is passed?
One of the fastest ways to affect the highest number of animals is to change legislation. The changes should be about unethical breeding and not harming the reputable breeders making the cost of well-bred pets out of reach. Breeding and reselling is entirely unregulated, leading to over-population and abuse. Classified ads offering pets for sale should be banned. It comes down to supply and demand.
I am not saying that all backyard breeders are not reputable nor that all licensed breeders are reputable. Breeding solely for profit or fun without regard to health and sound temperament is destructive to the breeds. Pets are a big part of our lives, and we are allowing breeders to breed our best friends to death. A simple act of getting a poorly bred pet can come at a big price, and it’s not just financial.
Another part of the solution is to provide a sustainable low-cost spay/neuter program and address the main causes that keep people from spaying and neutering. What effect would it have if the same amount of time and money that goes into promoting pet adoption went into a spay/neuter program?
Organizations can play an integral part of the solution by educating. Far too many pet owners do not understand or accept the responsibility, cost, and commitment, but foremost the impact of their choices.
Do we want a society where all dogs must be muzzled, cats are not allowed outside, mandatory spay/neuter? Do we continue to spend millions creating more and more shelters? Do we take the easy way out and ban specific breeds?
We must call on our elected officials to ban puppy mills and hold irresponsible breeders and owners accountable. We need to be a part of the solution, not part of the problem. Animals can teach us what matters most in life. Are you listening?
Corinne Aselton, Kelowna