Mon
Apr 30 2007
10:18 am

Knox County has a massive animal overpopulation problem. Thousands of unwanted animals have to be killed every year. And it's getting worse.

Being from the Betty Bean School of Retiring Shyness, I am posting this Perspective piece the News-Sentinel printed Saturday. (Thanks News-Sentinel!)

I wrote the Perspectives piece in response to this article. The statistics titled "Young-Williams Animal Center: A Closer Look" in the right hand column are scary.

This is a community problem we all need to be concerned about. Thousands of animals are born just to be slaughtered.

The Humane Society's Fix-A-Pet Center on Chapman Highway already neuters thousands of animals a year. Young-Williams is getting ready to start a community spay-neuter program.

We need to look at every possible way to reduce the numbers of unwanted animals. What we are having to do to the animals is terrible, and the stress on the people who have to do it for us is crushing.

Topics:
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Ian's picture

Knoxville Feral Cat Friends

Here's a group worthy of some attention:

http://www.knoxvilleferalcatfriends.org/

Carole Borges's picture

Does anyone know if the population increase is due to fees?

It used to be you could adopt an animal for a very reasonable fee from animal shelters. Now it is extremely expensive---$100 or more. I know the costs to run the shelters is very high, plus, you get free spaying and shots. I know they don't make much profit, but with newer facilities and more administrative costs the fees are no longer something a person with limited or fixed income can easily afford.

People I know who used to get all their animals at local shelters are now looking for ads in the paper because they're either cheaper or comparable, and you don't have to go through such an intense adoption process. This is not a knock against the shelters. God knows they are essential.

I recently got a puppy. I wanted to adopt a pet that might be euthanised, but couldn't afford to pay $125 for a nice animal. I found a beautiful purebred golden retriever puppy (without papers) for only $50.00. The shelters also didn't have many puppies. Most of their adoptees were adult dogs which can sometimes present behavioral problems from former misuse.

It sickens me to know so many dogs are being killed. I think they are mostly dogs over 6 months. Maybe it would help to reduce the price after a few weeks on dogs that seemed to not be getting much response from potential forever families?

I know people think if you pay more you will somehow be a better dog owner, but that simply isn't true.

Vet bills have also gotten higher, and sadly many people just don't want to be bothered by a dog or even a cat anymore.

I've always had animals and hate living without them.

Organizations that help with spaying fees are wonderful. That's the real solution to the problem.

That article broke my heart.

Mark Siegel's picture

I blame it on global warming

I suspect, but don't know that extended breeding time due to recent longer periods of warm weather is a strong contributing factor to the increase in pet overpopulation. In short, global warming.

The population increase cannot be fully explained by increases in human population, because statistics are kept of animals per thousands of human population, and those statistics are getting worse, too.

The problem with lowering adoption fees is that the adoption fees are already only a portion of the cost of sheltering, feeding, spaying and neutering the animals. The rest has to be made up by fundraising or government subsidies. It is enormously expensive to run an animal shelter.

R. Neal's picture

Mark, I read your excellent

Mark, I read your excellent column in the paper yesterday, thanks for posting about it here.

One thing I was curious about was this:

They need to address the problem of groups that bring animals into Knox County in the name of animal rescue and adopt them out from local pet supply stores without spaying or neutering them before releasing them to adopters.

I was not aware of this issue. Can you elaborate? Are you saying there are groups posing as rescue organizations that aren't? Or are these legit rescue organizations that get overwhelmed?

(Doesn't sound like the latter to me, because I would have thought the first thing they do is spay or neuter.)

Mark Siegel's picture

Rescue groups

Some of the groups which aren't doing spay-neuter say they can't afford to do it. Of course, if they can't, they should not be rescuing animals or they should only rescue as many animals as they can afford to alter.

Some of the groups collect a spay/neuter "deposit" to "ensure" that spay-neuter is done. No study, however, has ever confirmed more than 60% of new owners leaving such a deposit actually following through. That is why we long ago passed state legislation to require that shelters actually spay- neuter, as opposed to using deposits.

We now need to require that animals adopted from the stores also be neutered before release. Preferably they should also be microchipped so the animals can be returned if they end up at the Young-Williams shelter.

Sibyl's picture

Fees too high

I agree that the shelter fees are too high, particularly for cats. Free cats and kittens are easy to come by. And while I pretty much think that if you can't afford a $125 adoption fee, you probably shouldn't get a cat or dog -- how can you afford monthly heartworm meds, or treatment when your cat gets earmites, if you can't scrape together $125 for an adoption fee? -- that doesn't make the fees a great idea.
Last year I was looking for a cat and was considering a shelter cat. I can afford the $125. But when someone heard I was looking for a cat and offered me a free cat, there's no way I'm going to fork over $125 to the Young-Williams shelter so I can tell myself what a great humanitarian I am for saving a shelter cat.
If you look on petfinder.com you'll see that many other government-run shelters charge much lower fees.
I think it ought to be illegal to own an unaltered dog or cat over the age of 6 months without purchasing a very expensive breeder's license.

Carole Borges's picture

With the adoption fee it's is all up front.

People on fixed incomes (like myself) have to watch our money very carefully. Technically, I can afford the $125 fee really, but why pay that when I can get an animal for less or free? The pup I got had to get her shots, but they have been paid for in afordable segments at each office visit. Also the spaying won't need to be paid for a couple of months, so I can save up for that.

Just because I can't or would prefer not to pay all the money up front shouldn't in any way make me ineligible to have a pet. I am a VERY responsible dog and cat owner. I thought long and hard before I committed myself to getting my latest dog, but I can't just flip out money in large chunks. Having a pet means I will have to do without some other things, but sharing my life with an animal is very important to me.

Many of the ads in the newspaper show that people are pumping out pups in order to make money from it. How careful are these people about tracking the puppies they sell? My last dog was a purebred afghan I got at a shelter. It would seem reasonable some of these puppies would not end up staying with their owners. Maybe people who sell pups privately could pay some sort of fee to the city to offset shelter costs? They truly are a sort of puppy mill, sometimes too eager to get rid of their dog's puppies.

It must cost something to euthanize a dog and transport it to the dump? I still think there should be a discount for dogs doomed to die in a day or two. I can't really see any reason against it.

Nelle's picture

License to breed

I think it ought to be illegal to own an unaltered dog or cat over the age of 6 months without purchasing a very expensive breeder's license.

I think this is a great idea. Does anyone know of any cities that do this?

When I see people giving away puppies and kittens outside of stores or through newspapers ads, it makes me sick. Why did they let their pet get knocked up? Don't they realize there are already too many cats and dogs out there without homes? What's wrong with people?

And don't get me started on the people who leave their dogs tethered outside for hours at a time ...

River Dog's picture

As people increase in Knox so do pets

Several thoughts:

Do you think the increasing population of Knox is causing the increasing numbers of pets and irresponsible owners?

The present shelter system is there because of problems with the old system and an out of control population.

Vet prices have risen the same scale of inflation.

Fees offset taxpayer costs where the animal was adopted and the owner was trusted to find a vet to spay or neuter. It probably didn't work too well.

Knox County Population
2006 411,967
2000 382,032
1990 335,749
1980 319,694
1970 276,293
1960 250,523
1950 223,007
1940 178,468
1930 155,902
1920 112,926
1910 94,187
1900 74,302
Source: Knoxmpc.org

Factchecker's picture

Sibyl?

And while I pretty much think that if you can't afford a $125 adoption fee, you probably shouldn't get a cat or dog --

I'm with you so far. And??

...how can you afford monthly heartworm meds, or treatment when your cat gets earmites, if you can't scrape together $125 for an adoption fee? -- that doesn't make the fees a great idea.

You already answered your own question above. Welcome to the world of responsibility.

I can afford the $125. But when someone heard I was looking for a cat and offered me a free cat, there's no way I'm going to fork over $125 to the Young-Williams shelter so I can tell myself what a great humanitarian I am for saving a shelter cat.

I guess that shows what kind of humanitarian you aren't. Your comment sounds as if you're conflicted. Different voices trying to be heard or something?

Factchecker's picture

It's an "our kind of people" problem

Do you think the increasing population of Knox is causing the increasing numbers of pets and irresponsible owners?

I think the problem goes hand in hand with so many East Tenn. and generally southern problems. Rampant ignorance. AKA "fierce independence."

I work with a dog rescue group. It pays for spay/neutering and all the other essential medical care (vaccinations, etc.) immediately upon receipt of each dog. They are a national group that has a much harder time in the south because, as we were told, "they spay and neuter up north." (That would be in the more blue states.)

CL's picture

I've adopted from shelters

I've adopted from shelters and I've taken in strays. Believe you me, $125 is a bargain. I have a mult-cat household. If I take in a stray, I have to have it tested for FeLV, shots to get the cat up-to-date, and have it fixed. To have all that done is more than $125.

River Dog's picture

Domestic Animals - More like livestock?

Increasingly domestic pets are becoming more like livestock, shipped overseas for food (a delicacy). Some areas have allowed the shooting of "stray" cats by property owners to reduce their numbers and to protect the song bird population. Desperate measures are required in these dire times. Animal Control should be ramped up in order to serve the needs of our suffering pet population. People who tie up dogs in their yards should be tied up themselves.

River Dog
Professor of Dogology, Emeritus
University of Tennessee
"Cleanliness is next to Doglyness"

River Dog's picture

It must cost something to

It must cost something to euthanize a dog and transport it to the dump? I still think there should be a discount for dogs doomed to die in a day or two. I can't really see any reason against it.

Good idea, maybe someone from the shelter is reading this and would take a look at doing this. Would there be un-intended consequences pros or cons?

River Dog
Professor of Dogology, Emeritus
University of Tennessee

CL's picture

Young-Williams does have a

Young-Williams does have a new adoption fee schedule.

(link...)

Animals Adoption Fee

Puppies & Kittens 5 months and younger $150

Dogs & Cats 6 months to 7 years old $120

Senior Dogs & Cats (8 years and older) $75

Dogs & Cats on the adoption floor longer than 3 weeks $75

Adopters returns to adopt additional Dog, Cat, Kitten, or Puppy within 30 days of adopting the first Dog, Cat, Kitten, Puppy $30 off adoption fee for second pet
$40 off adoption fee for third pet

Best Buddies: two pets that must be adopted together Regular adoption fee for first animal $25 adoption fee for second pet

Carole Borges's picture

Thanks for posting the fee schedule

It shows they are trying to help the poor dogs who are doomed. It at least gives an incentive to buy the seniors and the ones people aren't jumping to get. The best buddy plan is an excellent idea also. Many people adopt two dogs. I hope this fee schedule is widely advertised and promoted on the website.

Sibyl's picture

Conflicted?

Factchecker, am I conflicted about how I got my cat? I don't think so. She was a cat that was headed to a shelter if someone didn't step up to take her in. She was a stray that a co-worker found and tried to integrate into her household, but after six months, her other two cats were still refusing (rather violently) to accept her, and so my co-worker felt forced to either find a home for her or place her in a shelter. So, I feel like I kept the cat from entering the shelter in the first place, and got a wonderful cat in the bargain.
I do think that the fees at Young-Williams deter people who can get pets elsewhere. Deterring people who would adopt from Young-Williams indirectly encourages irresponsible people who let their dogs and cats get pregnant, because they end up feeling like it isn't such a big deal to let their animals breed if they can find them homes. Even worse (in my opinion), it indirectly encourages and subsidizes irresponsible backyard breeders, who are a huge part of our animal overpopulation problem.
One more small response to Mark's opinion piece - I don't necessarily agree that no pit bulls should be adopted out. If people know that taking a pit bull to a shelter is an automatic death sentence, they'll turn their unwanted dogs loose, drown puppies in a lake, etc. But I think that there should be very few pit bulls available at a given time, mostly for the sake of the shelter's image. Any pit bull put up for adoption should be altered and should have been extensively tested for any issues of aggression towards people, other dogs, and other pets and have displayed no aggressive tendencies whatsoever. That's my decidedly non-expert opinion . . .

CL's picture

I think that one of the

I think that one of the biggest causes of pet overpopulation is the cost of having a pet fixed. The Y-W center is trying to help with that by starting a program that will take the service to low-income areas and do it for free.

(link...)

It will cost $3 million and is being paid for with grants and donations.

I don't think it has been started yet. I read somewhere that the holdup is waiting for the State of Tennessee to approve the mobile surgical unit.

bill young's picture

No ROOM at the INN

Euthanasia:"method of causing death painlessly so as to end suffering."

The fact is the vast majority,of the 12,000 animals being put down yearly,are suffering is not true.
They are being put down because there is no room at the inn.

The folks At Young-Williams know this.
That is why the next 5 months is so very very hard on them.
They know there are only 450 cages & 120 animals comming in daily.

These folks work as hard as they can
To find owners
To adopt 'em

When those options fail
It's heartbreaking x 12,000

Yes,if you own an unaltered pet
You should pay a much higher fee.

You are going to take my dog away.
because I can't afford to have the girl fixed.

Those that can afford the fee pay
into a low cost/free spay-neuter fund.
The new Young Williams program &
HSTV'S Fix a pet program are examples of how we can do this.
If this is not done
the offspring end up @ Young Williams.
No room at the inn.

It is a problem when,"legit rescue organizations that get overwhelmed."
The thing is;you will get overwhelmed.
The trick is how you handle it.
HSTV is overwhelmed everyday
But they handle it by not taking in more animals
than they can alter & adopt.
HSTV adopts out 1,000+ animals a year.

If a rescue organization can't handle it
They become part of the problem.
Unaltered animals are "adopted" willy nilly
the offspring & mama end up @ Young Williams.
No room at the inn.

Adopt an adult dog.
Adult dogs are very difficult to adopt out.
Thats why you saw more adult dogs.
A cage can hold a litter
or one adult dog.
No room at the inn.

Intense adoption proces
the process is about a lifetime.
A lifetime with your pet.

It doesnt always work & it makes you want to cry when you adopt a puppy out
& a year later the adult dog is returned because it got to big.

It's now an adult
No room at the inn.

No doubt a childs education
our safety & health
Are important issues.

But we should be able to work together
to find a 21st century cure for the problem
of animal overpopulation.

Factchecker's picture

My last two sentences were

My last two sentences were meant to be a joke relating to your name here, maybe an unintentionally cruel joke if your real name is Sibyl, and not a fake name meant to be humorous, as mine is. If that's the case, I apologize; no insult was intended.

People in poverty cannot afford many things, and that's another problem. As it relates here, that can be addressed in part by reduced rate programs such as the one mentioned by CL. But in general I agree with your original statement. A financial commitment is needed to take care of a pet, just like an even much greater one is needed to take care of another human. $125 can be just the first drop in the bucket. Maybe it's a good bar to meet in order for a new owner to show the commitment to invest in a pet's life and not just fulfill one's own desire. Otherwise, how many $50 vet visits will the person endure before getting rid of the pet or compromising its care? Take it from me, pets can be very expensive. That's just life.

But also it's a good point that breaks should be given to those less fortunate. That's true throughout society.

Paul Witt's picture

My family and I are going

My family and I are going through this process right now. Our 11 year old dog died two weeks ago (he was a 5 year cancer survivor and died of IMHA). We adopted him when he was just a few weeks old from a shelter in Cincinnati. They did an adopt-a-pet segment on one of the TV stations in town and we went down and picked him up.

While we were initially concerned with how our 15 year old dog would react, we've decided to go ahead and get a second dog again. We have the room and there are just too many good dogs looking for homes.

The adoption process seems a lot more complicated than it was when we adopted our other dogs. I just filled out at 42 question application for a puppy from a local shelter and even had to include employment information. I doubt that if this process was in place 15 years ago if we'd have been allowed to adopt our older dog. We were still unmarried and living in a 1 bedroom apartment. She's lived in 5 homes with us.

Carole Borges's picture

Did they want you to be married?

Sometimes shelters won't let you adopt if you don't have a fenced yard. I feel that requirement is sometimes a bit too stringent. I've grew up with an Irish Setter in an apartment in Chicago. We took our beloved Jerry out morning and night, to parks and to the country for long runs. The dog never showed any signs of nervousness or a desire for more exercise. I also lived in a house without a yard when I had my afghan in Florida. I drove that dog every morning to a "dog beach" where he could run and every evening my husband and I took him to a great dog park.

I hope you were joking about the married thing.

I know the shelters want to feel confident the dogs are getting good homes, but is death preferable to a less than perfect setting? If some dogs are returned because they weren't placed in the greatest situation, they would still be alive and not crowding the shelters. I think sometimes this "are you worthy" thing can get a little out of hand.

I wonder what the dogs think...

bill young's picture

ok

"Are you worthy"
Yes,that can be a problem.
Never,Never should folks adopting animals
get caught up in predispositions.

Fence
1.If you want an indoor dog;you don't need a fence.
But if you are going to let a dog outside for a while;
how are you going to restrain the animal?
A chain is no good because a dog can become aggressive on a chain.
2.Some dogs climb fences;so if you are looking for a
dog to hang out in a fenced yard for little while.
Why would I adopt a dog to you that climbs fences?
3.Underground fences often don't work.Lots of dogs come in every year with underground fence collars.

If dogs are returned..... & not crowding shelters
The day the dog returns it is crowding the shelter.
If adopted as a puppy; someone else could have adopted the
animal & kept the dog for a lifetime.
It's now an adult.
The prospects are grim.

Sibyl's picture

My experience in working

My experience in working with dog rescue groups and shelters is that most do not require a fenced yard. If you don't have a fenced yard, though, they want to make sure that you have thought about how the dog will get exercise and that you aren't planning to either chain the dog or let her run loose.
My take on the extensive applications that many groups have is that they are trying to accomplish some sort of educational function. For example, many people don't have their dogs on heartworm preventative and don't believe it is important to do so, so the rescue/shelter folks put a statement on the adoption application and you have to agree to have the dog on heartworm meds. Personally, I think this sort of thing is better handled in a face-to-face interview. It could come across as more caring and personal in that context.
That said, I went through the many pages of the adoption application to get my own dog from a local rescue group, plus two interviews and a home visit (and paid $150 adoption fee), and I'm glad I did. I'm firmly convinced that my dog is the best dog in the world and I'm lucky that Grreat Dogs entrusted her to me.

Factchecker's picture

That said, I went through

That said, I went through the many pages of the adoption application to get my own dog from a local rescue group, plus two interviews and a home visit (and paid $150 adoption fee), and I'm glad I did. I'm firmly convinced that my dog is the best dog in the world and I'm lucky that Grreat Dogs entrusted her to me.

That's a great story. Good to hear it was worth the highest fee Young-Williams charges plus all the other hassles many of us know firsthand.

Carole Borges's picture

It sounds like you really love your dog...

Me too, and I'm utterly grateful I didn't have to go through such an intense process. I think it's wonderful that there is still a way for everyone who loves pets to have them. Mine truly are my best friends, a real part of my family. I feel so sorry for those poor creatures who will never know the kind of love we both seem to feel for our animals.

CL's picture

Exception needed

I think it ought to be illegal to own an unaltered dog or cat over the age of 6 months without purchasing a very expensive breeder's license.

There should also be an exception if the animal should not have surgery. I have a kitten that I found crossing the street in the middle of the night when she was 5 weeks old. I tried to have her spayed before her first heat but the pre-op blood work showed that she was having liver problems. Vet put her on meds and we waited to do more tests. Later tests showed that her blood wouldn't clot. Eventually, she did recover and as soon as I could get her scheduled, she was fixed. Some don't recover and an owner is left with the expensive pre-op treatments like plasma transfusions. If you don't have the money, what do you do? I spent $500 on this problem and that didn't include the actual surgery.

I think New Jersey enacted such a law last year. Several animal groups were against it because they were afraid that people would dump animals rather than have them fixed.

Up Goose Creek's picture

Ouch

When I see people giving away puppies and kittens outside of stores or through newspapers ads, it makes me sick.

And don't get me started on the people who leave their dogs tethered outside for hours at a time ...

It must be painful to be burdened by so much self righteousness.
____________________________________
Less is the new More - Karrie Jacobs

Nelle's picture

Speaking of self-righteous

What's self-righteous about being angry with people who mistreat animals or who fail to take simple actions (spaying/neutering) that would avoid the needless killing of animals?

I'm self-righteous because I don't condone animal abuse?

Sheesh, that's setting the bar pretty low.

Paul Witt's picture

I wasn't saying that this

I wasn't saying that this place would require us to be married, but it certainly was a thorough application.

We were approved by the way. We pick him up tomorrow.

Carole Borges's picture

Congratulations Paul...

I hope you have many happy years with your new puppy. He is a very lucky dog to have an such a determined and devoted owner.

River Dog's picture

Urban Sprawl

Urban sprawl and our increasing population are helping make this a problem. We have expanding suburban development without infrastructure in place. Animal control funding usually comes after the problem is out of control.

River Dog
Professor of Dogology, Emeritus
University of Tennessee

Up Goose Creek's picture

Sprawl?

Unless you can explain better why sprawl causes more stray pets I'm going to assume you are trolling.

The most stray pets I ever encountered were in the 4th & Gill neighborhood. Well except 2 of them didn't stay stray for very long.

All this discussion about where and how to adopt, some of us get adopted instead.

As far as the stray kitten is concerned if you have food you are a good parent. The love and affection is an added bonus.

___________________________________
Less is the new More - Karrie Jacobs

Rachel's picture

Hmm, we adopted our last cat

Hmm, we adopted our last cat through Adopt-a-Pet and the old shelter in south Knoxville. This was before there was a Young-Williams. (Before that the feline members of the household came from a friend with kittens, another friend with kittens, and my then vet, who was trying to find a home for a half-grown cat someone had left in her yard).

We had to fill out a fairly intensive survey and they called our vet to check us out, but it really wasn't that bad. I think we waited for a couple of days. I don't remember how much the fee was (this was 7 years ago).

One thing I do remember is that we had to promise to keep the cat inside. That was no problem for us since we've always had house cats. But I've known more than one person who signs the paper with absolutely no intention of keeping the cat inside.

I'm not sure which bothers me more - the requirement to keep the cat in (although I won't have outdoor cats; I do NOT want to subject them to cars & dogs) or the lying.

bill young's picture

South Knoxville

I was there at the end

Mark Siegel's picture

Adoption

Bill is speaking from tons of direct experience with these things.

As Sibyl said, the adoption process is an educational tool. They are a jumping off point to initiate discussion and thought on the part of the adopter.

The question the process tries to answer through screening is not "are you worthy?" but "are you committed to this animal for its lifetime?".

As Bill says, people often come in and adopt a cute, highly adoptable puppy. Sometimes, a year or so later, they bring a big old dog back in. It's not as cute, and they don't want it anymore. Now the animal is really hard to adopt out.

Also, if your animal somehow ends up stray, even years after adoption, through microchipping, the animal will be brought back to the organization which originally adopted it out. That is primarily why adoption applications ask about employment, so the organization has another point of contact to try and locate you if your pet gets lost and is brought back in.

Former co-workers will go to great lengths to try to find someone who knows how the former employee can be found. Even personnel departments will get into the act when asked - often making calls themselves if they are not comfortable giving out information about former or retired employees.

It's not about how much money you make, or where you live. It's about how you will treat the animal.

Mark Siegel's picture

Adoption fees

It bears repeating that the adoption fee is really a bargain.

For $125.00, you not only get a companion, but you get a companion that is spay/neutered, microchipped so that you can be located if your companion is lost, has its shots, has been checked for a number of diseases, and is wormed. If you get a free pet and then buy all these services, will likely cost you about $350 to $400.

Mark Siegel's picture

Pitbulls

Pitbulls are the fighting cocks of the canine world. Too often, the people who are trying to adopt out pitbulls want to fight them illegally. Pits have been bred specifically to be aggressive. Other breeds might bite humans more frequently, but pits often bite more viciously.

In a perfect world, the rational and compassionate steps suggested by Sibyl might be sufficient to allow safe adoption of pitbulls to the public.

East Tennessee, however, is not a perfect world for animals. That is why most shelters in this area will not adopt pitbulls out to the public.

It is my understanding that many insurance companies will not provide homeowner coverage to pitbull owners.

Mark Siegel's picture

Refocus: animal overpopulation

I am really glad to see all the discussion.

The issue to me, however, is animal overpopluation, and what can we do to fight it.

Adoption is necessary to lower shelter kill rates, but adoption will not cure animal overpopulation. We can each adopt ten pets, but more and more and more will be coming unless action is taken to stop rampant and irresponsible breeding.

Sibyl's picture

I agree, we must step up spay/neuter rates

Making surgery easily and cheaply available is a great start. I also think education is important. I was absolutely flabbergasted, when I got my dog, about the number of people who asked if they could have a puppy "when she has them." Not even "if" she has them! And my dog is not some sort of pedigreed champion, OTCH, UDX type of dog. She is a mutt and clearly a mutt (a pretty mutt, though). And when I responded to people asking for a puppy that she was spayed and that there are usually plenty of puppies waiting to be adopted at the shelter, I actually had people argue with me that it was wrong not to let my dog have puppies. I don't know what the answer is. I guess that forcing all public school children to watch DVD's of dogs and cats being euthanized probably wouldn't be a popular solution, but I do think that humane treatment of animals and our pet overpopulation problem are appropriate subjects for school curricula.

Carole Borges's picture

Yes, I great research paper topic.

Hey, if we spay every single dog born, eventually we might live in a perfect world were there are no more dogs, thus no more problem.

I wonder how many years it would take to get to a zero dog population?

Up Goose Creek's picture

Puppy request

I was absolutely flabbergasted, when I got my dog, about the number of people who asked if they could have a puppy "when she has them.

I was surprised when a youngster asked for one of Daisy's puppies. How to explain delicately that it wasn't going to happen?

So giving away puppies in front of a store = animal abuse & needless killing of animals? What a horrible lack of confidence in one's fellow human beings.

I believe that free spay/neuter and more education/ commercials are the answers.

It's silly to worry about running out of kittens. If the supply and demand were to get anywhere near balance then some people could let their pets have one litter before they were spayed.
___________________________________
Less is the new More - Karrie Jacobs

Nelle's picture

Hmmm, perhaps I should have been more literal

It's not the giving away of animals I object to, it's what comes before: people letting their pets breed for no good reason, contributing to the overpopulation of cats and dogs, thousands of which are killed every year in Knox County alone.

I suspect you think that's a problem, too, since you had your own dog fixed and you support free spay/neuter programs and the educational efforts that encourage people to use them.

I think we're on the same page here, more or less ...

Mark Siegel's picture

need some stick with that carrot?

At this point, I question whether education gets the job done.

That's why I think differential license fees are important. Low annual license fees for neutered animals. High annual license fees for unneutered animals.

R. Neal's picture

The new Alcoa animal control

The new Alcoa animal control ordinance has an annual $3 pet registration fee for spayed/neutered pets v. $10 for unaltered.

For breeders, the annual kennel registration fees are:

(1) Less than ten (10) animals, twenty dollars ($20).
(2) Between ten (10) and twenty (20) animals, thirty dollars ($30).
(3) More than twenty (20) animals, forty dollars ($40).

(They probably ought to be ten times that, but anyway.)

Animals in heat must be contained. (I think this is state law, too.)

Owners of animals impounded three or more times in one year are required to have the animal spayed/neutered.

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