A long-time animal shelter employee on the need to say a yes to adoption and a no to breeding

The number of unwanted animals is huge. Rescue centres are full to capacity and animals are turned away and in some countries, they are put to sleep on a daily basis. Breeders sell their animals for huge amounts of money to people who can afford it but have not necessarily researched what they are taking on. Lots of animals are bred to look good but have health problems as a result. The owners are then left with massive vet bills and the poor animal is put to sleep or ends up in places like ours. When asked why one should adopt a rescued pet, I tell them this story.

A little while ago I heard about a dog that was in a terrible state and no one was available to pay the vet bill. We decided to take a chance and save his life. I named him Ozzie and we set up a fundraising appeal. He had been so neglected that he had lost the will to live. It was a long road but when he eventually recovered, we placed him in his forever home. When I see his photographs now, I realise it was worth it! The other reason I recommend adoption is this - good rescue groups spay or neuter the animal and also check on the homes of where the animal will be looked after, to ensure that he or she will have a permanent home. On the other hand, breeders don't always know where their animal will end up - the new owner might breed their pet endlessly which again adds to the population of unwanted animals. When adopting an animal, consider the pet's lifespan (up to 20 years), their need for companionship, stimulation and enrichment, veterinary expenses etc. If you are not a hundred percent sure, then it is not worth the heartache that it will cause the animal and possibly yourself. Pets should not be passed around or gotten for young children to care for without proper guidance. Always think hard before you make a commitment towards the voiceless.

DEBRA TAYLOR

( The author has worked at FoalFarm Animal Rescue Centre, Kent,United Kingdom for 20 years)

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