JustOneMorePet

Every Pet Deserves A Good Home…

March start of kitten, puppy season…

By LARISSA GRAHAM/The Lufkin Daily News

 This year, Lufkin Animal Control will take in approximately 7,000 dogs and cats for a variety of reasons, whether they are surrendered by their owners, dropped off as strays, or caught by animal control.

Of those, only 10 percent of the dogs and 2 percent of the cats will make it to new homes. The rest will be euthanized to make room for a constant flow of incoming animals.

According to Rhonda McLendon, director of Lufkin Animal Control, March marks the beginning of puppy and kitten season, when the shelter will see a huge increase in the numbers of puppies and kittens left with them.

“Unfortunately, a lot of folks out there bring us puppies and kittens. Almost every day this time of year we’ll get a litter,” McLendon said.

During the summer, the shelter will take in anywhere from 600 to 1,000 animals a month.

“We’re taking in vast numbers and we’re adopting a few and getting a few back to their owners and a few to rescues,” McLendon said. “The numbers are pretty ridiculous.”

The reason for their staggering intake numbers, McLendon said, is because people are allowing their pets, whether by choice or by accident, to reproduce.

“Way too many animals are being born, and there just aren’t enough homes out there for them,” McLendon said.

McLendon hopes that education will encourage more people to choose to spay or neuter their pets.

Currently, the city of Lufkin works with Southwood Drive Animal Clinic, allowing all animals adopted from animal control to be spayed or neutered for a much lower fee than a veterinarian would normally charge. The Humane Society has a low-cost spay and neuter program, as does O’Malley Alley Cat, which also offers trap-and-release programs.

“There’s folks out there that you can go to and get help for spay and neuter, but a lot of folks don’t because they don’t realize how bad the overpopulation problem is. They’re used to seeing their dog and their neighbor’s dog and maybe a few puppies. But if you come in here every day for a week you would be astounded at the number of animals that come through here,” McLendon said.

According to McLendon, the shelter’s capacity varies depending on the time of year. By the end of March, McLendon expects to house between 150 and 175 animals, with around 200 a day during the summer months. Because the shelter acts as an evacuation center, anywhere from 450 to 500 animals may stay there during a hurricane evacuation.

“Numbers are fairly high because the incoming animals fluctuate all the time,” McLendon said.

Dogs usually remain up for adoption for 30 days, depending on their health, temperament, adoptability and the time of year. During the summer months, dogs are euthanized at a faster rate because of a higher intake.

Cats do not stay as long, due to higher intake and lower adoption rates. On average, cats are euthanized after three weeks, but that drops down to two weeks during kitten season.

“Unfortunately there’s not a whole lot of folks that come to the shelter to adopt a cat,” McLendon said.

More smaller dogs are coming into the shelter than they did in previous years, McLendon said. There has been a problem with people trying to sell dogs at Walmart without a breeder permit, she said.

In order to sell dogs in Lufkin, one must have a permit, pay the applicable fees and, if the breeder lives inside city limits, go through an inspection. Out-of-town sellers still need the proper paperwork in order to sell dogs, McLendon said.

“Even if you’re selling them from your own home, as long as you’re in city limits, you need a permit,” McLendon said.

In addition to education about spaying and neutering, McLendon hopes to dispel some rumors surrounding dogs adopted from animal shelters.

Approximately 25 percent of all dogs that end up in shelters are pure bred, McLendon said.

“We see pit bulls and labs all the time,” McLendon said. “An enormous number of those come into the shelter.”

However, Animal Control will also see popular breeds like dachshunds, schnauzers, chihuahuas and poodles.

“Unless you’re wanting something that’s unusual, then the shelter has either got one or will be getting one. We’ll get the Yorkies in and we’ll get Akitas and some of the breeds that are not seen very often, too,” McLendon said. “We get a little of everything.”

According to McLendon, people will often bring in entire litters of lab puppies, believing that because they’re cute they’ll be adopted.

“There’s a good chance they won’t even go up for adoption because that same day I may get three or four more litters, and there’s so many,” McLendon said. “We’ll have 30 or 40 puppies come in and only two or three of them will get selected for adoption.”

Black dogs and cats have even less of a chance of adoption, McLendon added.

“The black labs are adopted less than any other dogs, and the black lab is the number one dog we see,” McLendon said.

When it comes to pure-bred cats, Animal Control sees mostly Siamese, though they will get other breeds on occasion.

“If you’re not wanting to spend a ton of money on a pet that is show quality, this is a good place to come,” McLendon said. “What we put up for adoption are high-quality pets.”

Another myth McLendon wants to put to rest is the idea that a dog goes into a shelter because it has temperament issues, or is sick or injured.

“We do get the ones that are sick, injured or with temperament problems, but we don’t put them on the adoption rows,” McLendon said. “The reason they’re here is because someone turns them in, they’re caught, or their owner surrenders them.”

McLendon stressed the importance of pet ID tags. According to McLendon, 95 percent of lost animals that are not wearing ID tags will not be reunited with their families.

In East Texas, many people believe their children need to see a pet have a litter of babies, McLendon said. However, she added, that is not the case.

“(Children) go through the birthing process in their science classes,” McLendon said. “What your kids need to learn is pet responsibility, and when you’re allowing your pet to have puppies or kittens that are not guaranteed homes from now on, chances are that one of them or their babies will come to the shelter are very high.”

There are just not enough homes for the massive intake of animals, McLendon said. If parents want their children to interact with puppies or kittens, or see pregnant pets, they are welcome to visit the shelter. There, children will be allowed to play with the puppies and kittens as long as they like.

“Teach (your kids) responsibility as far as pet overpopulation. It’s only going to get better when people are spaying or neutering,” McLendon said.

Other common misconceptions, McLendon added, include the belief that it is unhealthy to spay a female pet before she has had a litter of babies, and that animals who have been fixed will become fat or lazy. In female dogs, there is a much lower occurence of some cancers if they are spayed before they have puppies. Males who have been neutered are less likely to roam and get into fights over females. In addition, McLendon said, they may not be as territorial as a male dog who has not been neutered.

As for becoming fat and lazy, McLendon added that some dogs who become overweight were already predisposed to obesity, or they could be overfed. Spaying or neutering does not change activity level, McLendon said.

While a puppy may be cute, McLendon warned against adopting just for the ‘cute factor.’ While the puppy stage does not last long, it brings with it the chewing stage, along with the need for housebreaking and proper socialization. Some dogs in the shelter are already housebroken and may have been raised with children. In addition, the risk of chewing is greatly lower in adult dogs because they have already passed the teething stage.

“There’s just a lot of great things about adopting an adult dog,” McLendon said.

For more information on Animal Control or animals up for adoption, anyone interested may contact Animal Control at 633-0218.

Larissa Graham’s e-mail address – is: lgraham@lufkindailynews.comThe Lufkin Daily News

Being a pet parent requires responsibility and love, just like we give our human children, grandchildren and charges.  Part of being a responsible pet owner is making reproductions decisions and making sure there are homes for the pus and kittens, if there are some.  And those decisions is not always as one sided or uncomplicated as it may seem:

No Kill Nation: MANDATORY SPAY NEUTER LAWS ACROSS AMERICA HAVE LED TO:
▪ more animals killed
▪ more animals impounded
▪ increased animal control costs
▪ decreased licensing revenues.

www.floridaanimallaws.org

Ask Marion – JOMP

Posted:  Just One More Pet

March 10, 2010 - Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Change Number of Pet Restrictive Laws. Ordinances and Rules, Just One More Pet, Pet Adoption, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Owner's Rights, Pets, responsible pet ownership, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , ,

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