Pet Pals is a column that appears on Tuesdays. All animals featured in the "Take me home" section are available for adoption free of cost.

Think Twice Before Sending Animals to Shelters

Most people have this idealistic impression that an animal shelter is utopia where all the animals live a jolly life and “the more, the merrier”. This is far from true. While shelters try to offer animals a haven away from cruelty and road accidents, they too have limitations.

Shelters are run by animal welfare groups to end cruelty and suffering. They treat and take care of injured animals. If the animals survive and have nowhere to go back to, they are kept in the shelters to live out their days in safety.

So which animals should NOT go to shelters?

* Kittens and pups that are in their mother’s care should not be sent to shelters. Wait till the young ones are a month old, find homes for them and send the mother for sterilization after giving her distemper vaccination two weeks before sending her to a shelter.

* Healthy adult cats enjoy freedom and keep the rodent population in control and protect us from deadly diseases. Sending them to shelters is cruel.

* Pet animals are used to having families and when abandoned at a shelter, they often starve, fall seriously ill due to grief and eventually die. If a pet is found abandoned on the street, try finding it a new home.

Animal groups are all overburdened and short of funds and volunteers to take care of the animals. We all need to do our bit for the cause. Take an injured animal to the vet, find homes for baby animals and send adults for birth control surgery after vaccinations. Adopt an animal from a shelter instead of buying one from a breeder. Remember, animal welfare begins with you.

(The author is founder of the Cattitude Trust)

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