Archived Story

Humane society: More responsibility needed

Published 3:19pm Saturday, October 5, 2013

By Carey Sharp, Mower County Humane Society

Time flies.

A year ago, ground was just being broken for the new shelter and today the animals and volunteers are all settled. Although the new shelter is more spacious, overpopulation is still a big problem. The MCHS is holding steady at about 130 cats and 27 dogs. Owner surrender requests still come in daily, resulting in a very long waiting list.

Why are so many cats and dogs homeless? Simply stated: there are too many of them and not enough responsible, forever homes. People still aren’t spaying and neutering, flooding an overburdened situation with more puppies and kittens. Even one litter has a huge impact on shelters. Too many pets are allowed to run loose and they end up lost, finding their way into shelters.

Shelter volunteers frequently hear the phrases, “he never leaves our property” and “she always comes back” when people are looking for lost pets. There is a leash law in the city of Austin that applies to both dogs and cats. If not within a secure, fenced yard, dogs must be leashed. Cats, if they go outside, need to be leashed, too. It’s a good idea not to leave any pet outside if no one is home. Bad things can happen in a split second.

It is safer and healthier to keep cats inside. Besides the risk of pregnancy, if not fixed, they can fall prey to predators and parasitic infestations.

The MCHS recently took in some kittens that were severely underweight due to intestinal worms. It will take at least five dewormer treatments to kill the worms. Even with treatment, it is difficult to reverse any damage that might be done. This past summer alone, five kittens died from damage caused by worms. This could have been avoided if the cats had received proper vet care from the beginning and had been kept inside.

Dogs frequently end up at shelters due to their interactions with children. It’s not uncommon for people to get a puppy or young dog for their child to “grow up with.” Dogs age faster than people, though. That cute, chubby lab puppy will more than double its size in six months, while a 2-yearold child will stay relatively the same size. Big paws and clumsy, long legs can cause unintentional harm to a child. The tasty treats that many kids snack on are often too tempting for a dog in need of proper training. Grabbing for a cookie can often be misconstrued as a bite attempt and the dog pays the price.

Some people look for small breed dogs as companions for their small children. Small dogs often have big attitudes that may not tolerate a child’s rough play.

Chihuahuas, especially, with their small bodies and delicate bones, are not equipped to deal with young children. That might be why there are more than 15,000 of them, homeless, in shelters nationwide.

The MCHS is thankful for donations in memory of Rodney Draayer, “Lucky” Amundson, and “Thursday” Kuehne.

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