We have created a PETition to "Ask Bo (The White House Dog) to speak up for homeless pets and to help make all animal shelters in the United States NO-KILL before he leaves The White House in 2016."
Sound crazy? But who better to speak for homeless pets than Bo? Imagine if he showed up at a NO-KILL shelter. That one appearance would be national news! What if he appeared on Jay Leno or Oprah accompanied by Michelle Obama? The possibilities are endless.
To view our PETition, click here.
We invite you to visit our Ask Bo To Speak Up Facebook page and Like it, leave a comment, or post information about organizations that are working to make all animal shelters NO-KILL.
Dogs are known as man’s best friend but in America, many of us don’t treat dogs or cats very well. Most people think that pets who enter the nearly 5000 independently operated community animal shelters in America usually find new homes. According to the ASPCA, a less happy fate awaits them. Nearly, 60% of dogs and 70% of cats who enter shelters are euthanized. That’s 3 million domestic animals per year crying out for someone to speak for them yet they are left to face death alone in what was intended to be a place of refuge.
Additionally, the violence perpetrated on animals has been proven to have a direct correlation to community violence.
Civic leaders in a handful of cities around the U.S., including Austin, Texas, are doing something to change this intolerable situation. They have successfully implemented a NO-KILL policy in their animal shelters proving it is possible to reverse this gruesome reality. To expand the NO-KILL model nationwide, a high-profile figure backed by sufficient resources must take the lead. Bo—The White House dog—is perfectly positioned to speak on behalf of these beleaguered animals who want nothing more than a loving home. Help us gather 3 million signatures, one voice for each of the 3 million innocent pets who find themselves through no fault of their own on “Death Row” in animal shelters each year.
Ask Bo to Speak Up for Homeless Pets!
Coming into Houston from the North along I-45, commuters see a billboard that proclaims Houston SPCA as “Animals’ Best Friend!” In contrast to this proclamation, Houston’s five largest animal shelters (including the Houston SPCA facility) kill nearly 90,000 dogs annually. Obviously, animal shelters that tolerate that many kills are NOT an animal’s best friend! They represent a community that refuses to deal with a problematic issue humanely.
But as most people who are concerned about the plight of companion animals in America know, this is not just a Houston problem. According to ASPCA statistics, “approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 3 to 4 million are euthanized (60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats).” This begs the question: Can animal shelters serve pets and pet owners as well as the public interest better than this?
The answer is Yes!
Calgary, Canada, has a human population of around 1 million with approximately 120,000 dogs and 90,000 cats. While Calgary Animal Services operates a kill shelter, rates are drastically lower at 5% for dogs and 18% for cats. Why the difference?
Calgary Animal Services gave 372 presentations to students during the 2009-2010 school year. Armed with an understanding of the importance of being responsible pet owners, citizens of Calgary are 90% compliant with licensing regulations for dogs and 50% for cats. Calgary Animal Services brings in adequate funds from licensing fees to operate in service of pet owners where 95% of dogs encountered by animal service workers are adopted or returned to their homes.
It is irrational to believe that the problem of homeless pets can simply be dumped on the doorstep of animal shelters that can only do as much as local regulations and their budgets allow. As demonstrated by Calgary Animal Services, the solution to the problem of homeless pets resides in community involvement and the culture of the community.
Unfortunately the wholesale slaughter of companion animals may not even register in communities plagued by crime, domestic violence, gangs, poverty, and homelessness. It does, however, serve as an indictment of community leaders who have not fully addressed these deep social problems leaving both the citizens of these communities and their companion animals to suffer.
How members of a community treat animals is a direct indicator of how well they treat their children and other members of the community. The bottom line is that high kill rates at animal shelters are a symptom of a society that views violence as a solution rather than a problem.
According to the HealthPet.com, “Those who commit serial or mass criminal violence often use animals as ‘rehearsal’ tools in their adolescence to work themselves up to the eventual abuse or killing of people. This link was first established 250 years ago, and it doesn’t seem to be changing. That means children who torture animals should be dealt with quickly, and it should be taken seriously.”
Animal abuse can be direct as with instances of torture perpetrated with the specific intent to harm. But abuse can also be inflicted indirectly where the perpetrator simply ignores the needs of the animal through ignorance of lack of concern. Those who dump kittens alongside the road, chain a dog in the backyard without access to water on a hot day, or neglect the health needs of an animal in their charge are committing abuse just the same. For the animal, there is little distinction.
We have the power to shape the culture of our communities. Do we want our children growing up in a society that places so little value on the lives of those we call “Man’s Best Friend?”