The Last Word
By: Sandi Tomlin-Sutker, Editor
In our recent Reader’s Survey, over 75% of respondents told us they have pets (a bit higher than the national average of 62%). Not surprising, really, since 39 percent of U.S. households own at least one dog; and 12 percent own three or more dogs (I use the term “own” with caution but these stats come from the Humane Society and they use the word.)
Regarding cats, they found that 33 percent of U.S. households own at least one cat; and on average, owners have two cats.
Nine in ten pet owners surveyed say they consider their pet a member of the family. Fish, birds, lizards, etc., are also included in the category of pets.
Twenty-one percent of owned dogs and cats were adopted from an animal shelter. Seventy-eight percent of owned dogs and eighty-eight percent of owned cats are spayed or neutered; but only 10 percent of the animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered. So, are we making progress in caring for animals?
Sadly, there are other statistics: Approximately five to seven million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 3 million to 4 million are euthanized (60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats).
And yet, the ASPCA found that the cost of spaying or neutering a pet is less than the cost of raising puppies or kittens for a year.
I know I’m “preaching to the choir” here, but the numbers are quite dismaying; it’s about personal responsibility, yes; but isn’t the treatment of animals (domesticated or otherwise) also a good indication of one’s belief in the sanctity of life… and vice versa?