Those of you who know me know that I just love data. So, you shouldn’t be surprised that I’ve been spending a chunk of time on line, continuing my quest to get a grip on the pet overpopulation issue. I recently looked at the number of ‘local’ animal shelters and rescue groups.
There are somewhere around 450. That’s four HUNDRED fifty. Just in New Jersey.
Oddly enough, more than 45 of them – a little more than 10% – were founded during the past 2½ years. On the other hand, about 5% of the 450 are teetering on the brink of closing. Another 30+ (not included in the 450) recently had their non-profit status revoked. Many of these will close their doors. However, some are still forging ahead – just not with a 501c3 status deemed current by the IRS . . .
So what does this tell us? (Those of you who know me know I also like to ask lots of questions!)
Why are there so many shelters and rescue groups? Each one is filled with dogs and cats, puppies and kittens – all clamoring for good adoptive families . . . . And if they’re not taking in animals from the local community, they’re pulling from out of town (or out of state). It’s an almost futile attempt to deal with the abandonment and suffering of perfectly lovable, adoptable pets.
Despite all the well-intentioned efforts and the seemingly infinite capacity of the Northeast to absorb companion animals into our homes, the profusion of unwanted dogs and cats continues. As economic times worsen, resources are reallocated and volunteers burn out. A glut of animals rolls into the ‘system’ that was intended to help them. Just like the chocolates on Lucy’s conveyor belt, the pace is picking up. As quickly as one pup or kitty is adopted, there are several – then dozens – more coming up the line . . .
Even though there are 450 groups in NJ exclusively dedicated to dealing with rescuing and sheltering pets, they can’t even come close to saving them all. Nearly 40,000 are put down each year in NJ alone! Perhaps it’s the last resort. Their time and energy stretched so thinly, folks have all they can do to deal with the immediate situation.
I know. Been there and done that. It’s mind blowing to realize that even after all of the collective effort, approximately 100 are killed EACH DAY in our own state.
I’ve got the solution. Just focus on the other end of the problem . . . The beginning. The source.
Just stop makin’ the puppies (and kitties)!
Just . . .
There are so many ways to confront this. So many initiatives to launch. Some folks are already doing a great job! Unfortunately, there are too many who don’t even realize there’s a problem . . .
Anyone out there who has an idea or would like to join our “Spay Squad”? Please comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org
All thoughts, ideas and efforts related to confronting roverpopulation are always welcome!