NOTE: This is a guest post from the ASPCA. Founded in 1866, the ASPCA was the first humane organization in the Western Hemisphere, and its mission, as stated by founder Henry Bergh, is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.” The ASPCA provides local and national leadership in three key areas: caring for pet parents and pets, providing positive outcomes for at-risk animals and serving victims of animal cruelty.
In communities nationwide, there are 3 to 4 million dogs living in shelters. It’s a staggering statistic. To help bring attention to the plight of homeless animals, the ASPCA officially recognized October as Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. Although it’s now November, there are plenty of puppies that still need adopting!
The benefits of adopting a shelter pet are great for both animals and adopters. A recently released poll conducted by Edge Research and commissioned by the ASPCA reveals that people who adopt a dog from a shelter are much more likely to be happy with their experience than consumers who purchase a dog from a pet store. They are also more likely to feel that the process through which they got their dog was honest and transparent, and they are twice as likely as pet store consumers to recommend the place where they got their new dog to a friend. Further, the research shows that dogs from shelters tend to require less veterinary care than those purchased from pet stores. In short, animal adoption is your best option.
Adopt a Shelter Dog Month also gave us a great opportunity to debunk negative myths about shelter pets. While some prospective pet parents believe shelter animals are typically unhealthy or have more behavior issues than pet store animals, such fears are unfounded. Mental and physical ailments can be present in any animal at a shelter or pet store, and shelters are much more likely to be upfront with adopters about a dog or cat’s condition and needs. Also, while pet parents frequently seek specific dog breeds at pet stores, it is important to note that 25% of animals that enter shelters are actually purebreds.
Did we mention that many purebred puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills? Puppy mills are notorious for keeping dogs in horrible conditions and committing animal cruelty. By opting to adopt a shelter dog instead, we can help end puppy mill cruelty.
If you’re not able to adopt a dog at this time, there are other ways to take action.
Take the pledge. Join nearly 30,000 Care2 members who have already taken our “No Pet Store Puppies” pledge to help fight puppy mill cruelty by refusing to buy anything – including food, supplies or toys – at pet stores and on websites that sell puppies.
Support your local shelter. Volunteering at your local animal shelter is a great way to make a difference in the lives of shelter dogs. Volunteers walk dogs, socialize them, and provide them with much-needed special attention. If you don’t have time to volunteer, rescue organizations are always in need of supplies – gather up gently used blankets, towels and toys from friends and family to donate to your local shelter.
Photo credit: ASPCA