Each year in Oklahoma, tens of thousands of healthy, adoptable animals are destroyed. Although great progress has been made, fewer than half of the animals that enter the Tulsa Animal Welfare shelter each year will leave there alive. Not only is this a harsh reality, it’s also a drain on resources and tax dollars that could be better utilized to serve our communities.
Turning these statistics around so that we are saving more animals than we are destroying is not only humane, it would be beneficial for our communities. As daunting as the task may seem, it is not impossible. In fact, many communities around the nation are considered “no kill” because they have achieved a 90% live release rate at their municipal shelters. In order to get there, it will take the entire community to make important choices about their pets. Here’s how individuals can help:
DON’T INTENTIONALLY BREED YOUR PET There are enough animals that need homes without adding more. Shelters are overcrowded and too many animals that enter shelters are put to sleep due to lack of homes. If your pet has puppies or kittens, they could end up in a shelter. In addition, every puppy or kitten sold or given away by an owner that breeds their pet means there is one more shelter animal that will not find a home. Don’t contribute to the number of unwanted pets and deaths.
SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR PET Spay and neuter will reduce the number of animals that enter municipal shelters by reducing the number of unwanted pets. As an added bonus, it also prevents undesirable behavior and health risks which can shorten the life of your best friend. Furthermore, in many Oklahoma communities including the City of Tulsa, it is required by law. Low-cost spay and neuter services are available in most communities for qualifying households.
ADOPT YOUR NEXT PET FROM AN AREA RESCUE OR SHELTER The quality of animals available through shelters and rescues is astounding. Looking for a specific breed? It is estimated that 25% of the dogs that enter shelters are pure bred and there are breed specific rescues for every type of dog imaginable. Keep in mind when you adopt a pet, you are actually saving two lives because you make space for another pet to get a second chance. Check out our Partners page for a list of rescues in your area.
BE A RESPONSIBLE PET OWNER Make a commitment to give your pet the care it needs for its lifetime. Make sure that you are in a place in your life to make this commitment. Pets that are relinquished due to changes in their owner’s lives such as divorce, birth of a child or moving make up a large percentage of animals found in shelters and rescues. Also, make sure your pet always has proper identification in case it is lost.
SPREAD THE WORD The greatest defense to our pet overpopulation crisis is a well-informed community. Make sure that your friends and family are aware of the pet overpopulation crisis and how their personal actions can help solve or contribute to the problem.