Pet overpopulation is a serious problem. It costs the lives of millions of pets and costs communities millions of dollars a year.
Nationwide, the number of pets entering animal shelters is estimated to be 6 to 8 million. Only about 30 percent of dogs and 2 – 5 percent of cats are reclaimed by owners. Only about half of those remaining are adopted to new homes. The number of pets euthanized in shelters across the country is 3 to 4 million. (Estimates provided by The Humane Society of the United States.)
In Colorado alone, 101,906 cats and dogs entered shelters and rescue groups in 2010. In the metro-Denver area, 62,727 were received at area shelters and rescue groups—about the same as in 2009.Seventy-nine percent of these pets were placed in homes or reunited with owners, up 4 percent over 2009, but 14,988 were euthanized.
The Dumb Friends League is working with other shelters and animal welfare organizations to reduce the number of unwanted litters that are born, increase the number of lost pets that are rehomed and increase the number of relinquished pets adopted to new homes.
Here are some of the things we are doing:
- We spay/neuter all cats, dogs, rabbits and ferrets that we adopt to new homes—more than 8,200 surgeries in FY 2011. We spay/neuter these animals as early as 8 weeks of age.
- We offer spay/neuter surgeries for cats and dogs belonging to people in underserved areas of metro Denver on two mobile units—the Lulu Mobile and the Meow Mobile. In FY 2011, 7,465 pets were spayed/neutered on these vehicles.
- We support the Colorado Pet Overpopulation Fund, which provides spay/neuter and education programs through pet license plates and a charity check-off on Colorado tax returns.
- We provide humane education programs in schools, stressing the importance of spaying and neutering family pets.
- Working with community partners, we help create comprehensive solutions to the problem of pet overpopulation through legislation. In 2008, this collaboration resulted in passage of a statewide mandatory spay/neuter law, applicable to all shelters and rescue groups.
- We collaborate with local, state and national organizations, including the Metro Denver Shelter Alliance, a group of 20 animal care and welfare organizations working together to save the lives of all healthy or treatable cats and dogs that enter metro-area shelters and to keep them in good homes for life.
Here’s what you can do to help:
- Spay and neuter your own pets and make sure they wear identification.
- Give generously. Your donations to the Dumb Friends League are appreciated and are the basis for everything we accomplish on behalf of the animals. We are a local, independent nonprofit organization. We spend an average of $300 on every pet that comes through our doors. Click here to make a secure online donation.
- Tell friends and co-workers that the best place to adopt a pet is at a shelter. Wonderful animals are available, and organizations like ours offer health services, training opportunities and one-on-one behavior advice. Click here to see available pets at our shelters.
- Support the Colorado Pet Overpopulation Fund through the check-off on your Colorado income tax form. The fund helps bring spay/neuter programs and education to communities throughout our state.
- Never buy a pet from a pet store or sight unseen from an Internet site. These pets may come from large-scale breeding operations. Click here to learn more about puppy mills.
- Support legislation to control commercial breeders.
- Only purchase pet supplies from sources that do not sell animals, including small mammals, birds and reptiles.
- Be informed about local laws and tell others. Denver and Aurora have ordinances requiring that cats and dogs over 6 months be spayed/neutered. Westminster levies a stiff fine on owners of un-neutered dogs and cats found “running at large.” Fort Collins requires that pets wear identification or be microchipped.
- Don’t support the greyhound racing industry. This cruel and inhumane “sport” is now illegal in 43 states.
- Promote the Dumb Friends League through your professional association, service club or your child’s Scout troop or 4-H Club. We welcome the chance to present educational programs.