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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.
PREPARING YOUR PETS
The first thing you need to do when considering new pet is to protect your personal animals. Shelter animals can come to us from unknown origins, sometimes with underlying medical issues and conditions, so it is important that you protect your family pets as much as you can. If you choose puppies or kittens, you may be exposing your own pets to upper respiratory infections and worms or parasites.
Before bringing home your first pet, make sure your animals are up to date with their vaccinations. Talk to your veterinarian and follow their recommendations about any precautions you need to take. The veterinarian may suggest additional vaccinations/immunizations to protect your animal.
PREPARING YOUR HOME
Cats and dogs are curious creatures. Many are capable of jumping onto high surfaces or squeezing into the smallest of spaces. To protect pet(s) in a new environment and to safeguard your belongings, it is necessary to animal-proof your entire house. NEVER underestimate your pet’s abilities. Accidents happen!
Once you have chosen an area where you will care for your new companion, you should “pet-proof” the area. Pay attention to any small or dangerous objects, such as pins, needles, paper clips, nails, staples, thread, string, rubber bands, caustic/toxic chemicals, moth balls, plants and any other items that are potentially dangerous. Animals are also attracted to electrical cords, TV cords, telephone cords and curtains. These items should all be blocked so they can’t get at them. A good rule of thumb is “if you don’t want to lose it, put it away. Also, to ensure nothing is missed, get down at an animal’s eye-level. Look closely for any small holes or dangerous items that may have been missed at your first pass of pet-proofing
PRECAUTIONS TO TAKE BY ROOM
- Use childproof latches to keep little paws from prying open cabinets.
- Keep medications, cleaners, chemicals and laundry supplies on high shelves or in childproofed cabinets.
- Keep trashcans covered or inside a latched cabinet.
- Check for and block any small spaces, nooks or holes inside cabinetry, furniture, floors, appliances, etc. where your pets may hide. Also make certain that spaces behind washer/dryer units are closed off so your foster animals can’t get in there either.
- ALWAYS keep your dryer and washer units closed!!! Make sure your pets haven’t jumped into the dryer or washer before you turn it on! (This does happen.)
- Keep all foods out of reach and/or in cabinets. Even if the food isn’t harmful to the cat, the wrapper could be.
- KEEP TOILET LIDS CLOSED to prevent drowning. Curious puppies and kittens can easily fall in and drown.
- Living/Family Room
- Place dangling wires from lamps, VCRs, TVs, stereos and phones out of reach. You can place the cords through PVC pipes to prevent the pets chewing on them.
- Keep children’s toys put away.
- Put away knickknacks that are valuable to you or understand that pets can easily knock things over. If it is important to you, don’t leave it out.
- Block any spaces where your vacuum can’t fit but a pet could.
- Remove dangerous items like strings, pins, yarn, etc.
- Move houseplants–many of which can be poisonous–out of reach. This includes hanging plants that can be jumped onto from other nearby surfaces.
- Put away all sewing and craft supplies–especially thread and yarn. If ingested, these items can obstruct cat or puppies’ bowels, sometimes requiring extensive surgery to reverse.
- Secure aquariums and cages that house small animals, such as hamsters or fish, to keep them safe from curious paws.
- Most garages contain too many dangerous chemicals and unsafe items to be an acceptable animal site. Your pet should never be housed in a garage.
- Move all chemicals to high shelves or behind secure doors.
- Clean up all antifreeze from the floor and driveway!!! One taste can be lethal to an animal!
- Bedrooms are not ideal situations for a new companion. If scared of the new environment, animals can hide under beds and are hard to coax out. In worst case scenarios, dogs and cats can burrow into box springs or mattresses where it can be nearly impossible to get them out.
- Keep laundry and shoes behind closed doors (drawstrings and loose buttons can cause major problems).
- Keep any medications, lotions or cosmetics off accessible surface (like the bedside table.)
- Move electrical and phone wires out of reach of chewing.
Other Potentially Dangerous Situations
- Closet and bedroom doors
- Open doors to the outside
- Open dryer doors
- Open cabinet doors
- Computer wires
- Folding chairs
- Potted plants
Whatever room you choose to make your companion’s new home, make sure that it is easily cleaned. Carpet and other soft surfaces can harbor disease and it can be difficult to clean up accidents on carpet, especially when they seep into the carpet pad. Bathrooms and other areas with tile, hardwood or other impermeable surfaces are ideal places to house your new companion.
PREPARING YOUR YARD
If you have a fenced in backyard, check that there aren’t holes in the fence or any other escape route. Do NOT leave your dog in the backyard without your supervision. You will be amazed what little holes a big dog can get out of or what tall fences a dog can jump! Never leave a dog unattended or unwatched outside. Most of all please don’t leave your dog on a chain outside; after all, he came home with you to be your companion.
Information courtesy of PetFinder and tailored for OAA.
You will save a life. The problem is simply stated: there are more pets than there are homes. As a result, shelters across our nation must make the heartbreaking decision to euthanize animals that haven’t been adopted because they have run out of space. It is estimated that between 3 and 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the United States. This unimaginable tragedy is the direct result of too many people giving up their pets, irresponsible breeding or failing to spay or neuter pets and too many people purchasing pets rather than adopting them from shelters or rescues. Your decision to take in a homeless animal will not only save the life of a that pet, but will also make more space for a shelter or rescue to house another animal.
You can have your choice of hundreds of pets in your community. Whether you are looking for a specific breed, one-of-a-kind mix or a unique feline friend, you can find them right outside your back door. Check out our list of partners from whom you can adopt your next pet.
A common misconception is that all rescued animals are mixes. While mixed breeds do have their benefits combining the best of two or more breeds into one, many “pure” bred dogs are available at municipal shelters, local rescues and breed specific rescue groups. Why would someone intentionally give up a “pure bred” pet? Often, people make poor choices in purchasing a pet and relinquish them to shelters for reasons that have nothing to do with the animal when they realize their mistake. Additionally, especially in today’s troubled economy, people give up their pets during divorces, evictions, job changes, when they get married or have a baby.
You will save money. When you choose to adopt a pet, the adoption fee is normally much less than what you would pay a breeder for a pet. In addition, you often times get a specific breed that would normally cost as much as several thousand dollars for a nominal adoption fee. Furthermore, most shelters and rescues in Oklahoma will see that animals they take in receive age appropriate vaccinations and be spayed or neutered before being sent home with a new owner. While you may have to pay an adoption fee, this fee is a fraction of what you might pay a breeder for a puppy that still needs to see a veterinarian.
Shelters and rescues are filled with well-mannered, happy pets. Many people assume that animals who are in a rescue or shelter situation have been abused or neglected and have behavioral issues. While it is true that some animals may have not seen the best of circumstances, many pets available for adoption have been relinquished by their owners for a myriad of reasons and these pets often have some basic manners and are housebroken. When the pet has been in a foster home situation, chances are the fostering home has spent time on socialization and manners, an even bigger bonus. Furthermore, most animals simply want to be loved and even in the worst of circumstances are willing to forget their troubled past in exchange for a loving home. Most shelters and rescues do basic temperament testing to ensure that pets with temperament issues are not adopted back out to new owners. They can generally provide you with information about whether the pet is suitable in a home with other animals or children.
Adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue is the right thing to do. You will find a huge sense of personal fulfillment by rescuing a pet. The misconception that you won’t bond with your pet unless it is a puppy or kitten is a complete myth. Anyone who has ever rescued a pet will tell you that the animal knows that you gave it a second chance in a forever home and, as a result, the human-animal bond is even stronger.
However, if for some reason you must purchase your pet from a breeder, make sure you don’t support puppy mills, pet stores or irresponsible breeders such as those who sell pets on the roadside or through the classifieds. While Oklahoma has made great strides recently in regulating irresponsible and inhumane breeding, we still rank 2nd in the nation as having the most puppy mills in our state. Visit the Humane Society of the United States to learn more about what a puppy mill is and what to look for in a reputable breeder.
Be part of the solution to Oklahoma’s pet overpopulation problem. Until their are none, adopt one.
Almost 12,000 animals entered the Tulsa Animal Welfare shelter in 2012.
Only 651 were reclaimed by their owners.
Only 2,533 were adopted.
1,056 were pulled by dedicated area rescue groups.
The rest – nearly 7,500– were destroyed because they didn’t have a home.
We can turn these numbers around.
Cities across the U.S. are doing it every day.
Vigo County, IN. Tompkins County, NY. San Diego, CA. Albemarle County, VA. Washoe County, NV. Dane County, WI. Bartlesville. Stillwater. Oklahoma City.
How? It takes commitment and hard work from the community. Everyone working together.
You can make a difference.
Be part of the solution to pet homelessness in Tulsa.
Sponsor-a-Spay. Donate $50 to OAA and you can help a needy family spay or neuter their pet to prevent unwanted litters.
Volunteer Your Time. Spend the day saving lives by volunteering with OAA at Tulsa Animal Welfare. Click her to fill out a Volunteer Profile.
Spread the Word.
- Update your Facebook status asking others to support this cause: “Join me in ending our homeless pet crisis in Tulsa.” and share a link to this page. http://bit.ly/jJNVCz
- Tweet out this message: “Let’s end our homeless pet crisis in Tulsa. Be part of the solution.” Share the link to this page. http://bit.ly/jJNVCz
- Talk to your friends and family about how they can help.
Spay and Neuter Your Pet. It’s the number one way to reduce the number of animals the enter shelters each year.
Make Adoption Your First Option. Adopt your next pet from a local shelter or rescue.
With your help, we can create positive change for pets in Tulsa.
Thank you for your support!
HORSE SLAUGHTER BILL HAS PASSED —
Despite public outcry, Commercial Horse Slaughter will be legal in Oklahoma, beginning November 1st of this year — Unless something changes on the Federal level.
SAFE, the Safeguard American Food Exports Act (HR1094, S541) has been proposed to the US House and Senate. This bill would outlaw the killing of American horses for human consumption and would prohibit transporting them across the border for slaughter in Mexico or Canada.
Please contact your US Senators and Representative and urge them to support this important piece of legislation.
To find the legislators representing you, click here:
In addition,the White House’s 2014 Budget recommends that Congress block spending for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to inspect U.S. horse slaughter plants. Without USDA inspections, these plants cannot sell horse meat. This is similar to a measure put in place in 2005, but allowed to expire in 2011. Please urge your federal legislators to bar the funding USDA inspection of horse slaughter plants in the 2014 budget.
Spay Oklahoma is a nonprofit organization established in 2004 which provides high quality low cost services to needy pet owners.
Spay Oklahoma is able to keep their prices affordable for low income pet owners through donations and grants, such as the funding provided by Oklahoma Alliance for Animals during our Hip to Snip campaign.
Prices include a rabies vaccine. Additional financial assistance may be available to those who qualify.
Appointments are required. Please contact the Tulsa Clinic at 918.728.3144 and the Bixby Clinic at 918.970.4222.
For more information, visit www.spayok.org.
- It reduces the number of homeless pets in area shelters. Oklahoma has a severe pet overpopulation problem and as a result, tens of thousands of pets are destroyed in our state each year due to lack of homes. Altering your pet will eliminate the possibility that its offspring will be part of this harsh reality.
- It prevents unwanted litters. Even if you don’t plan to breed your pet, accidental pregnancies happen and many accidental litters occur because owners thought their pet was too young to reproduce. Many of these animals end up at shelters where they are ultimately destroyed. Altering your pet will save you the expense and trouble of dealing with a litter of unwanted puppies or kittens, as well as prevent potential offspring from being homeless.
- It’s required by law in Tulsa and many communities. The City of Tulsa has an ordinance which requires all dogs and cats over the age of six months to be spayed or neutered. Similar ordinances exist in an increasing number of cities and towns in our state.
- It’s good for your pet’s health. Sterilization of your cat or dog will minimize the risks of diseases associated with reproductive organs such as testicular cancer or pyometra.
- It makes your pet a better companion. Altering your pet decreases aggressive behavior, including dog bites and desire to fight with other male dogs. It also reduces an animal’s desire to escape from its home in search of a mate. Sterilization also reduces or eliminates undesirable behavior such as spraying, marking and mounting.
If you haven’t spayed or neutered your pet, please consider acting now and be part of the solution to Oklahoma’s pet overpopulation problem. If you have, now is the time to share with others the reasons why they should do so.
For more information about low cost spay and neuter promotions during the month of February, click here.