Across the country, millions of cats and dogs sit in cages waiting for someone to adopt them and give them a home—however, only a portion of these animals will ever get one. The rest will be euthanized.
While the idea of adopting an animal as a college student is exciting, Bobcats should think long and hard before deciding to become pet parents. A pet can eat up a lot of time and money, two things college students are notorious for being short on. Adopting a pet is a commitment that lasts for the rest of the animal’s life, not just for the next four years. All too often, animals are adopted for the novelty, with owners only later realizing the cost, time and responsibility that comes along with being a caregiver for a living creature.
If a student does make the decision to become a pet owner, adopting from an animal shelter should always be the first option. Many shelters give away spayed and neutered animals for free, saving the adopter veterinary and recovery fees.
To some, purebred pets are the only option, but breeders can be costly and sometimes harmful. Depending on the demand for the breed, a purebred dog can cost anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Purebred animals are also predisposed to a variety of health problems specific to their breed. According to the Humane Society of the United States website, Labrador Retrievers, consistently ranked as one of the most popular breeds, potentially face up to 50 different inherited health problems.
The demand for “pure” animals leads breeders to dramatically increase animal turnout. What might have been a relatively small window for inbreeding and health problems expands as the animals are forced to give birth at a rate much greater than the recommended one litter per year.
However, if a student truly has his or her heart set on a specific breed, the Humane Society estimates that around 25 percent of relinquished animals are full or mostly purebred.
It is estimated by the Humane Society that nearly 3 to 4 million animals at shelters are put to death because of facility overcrowding. Aside from increasing adoption rates, euthanasia numbers can be brought down by animal owners making the responsible choice to spay or neuter their pets.
Unfixed animals always run the risk of impregnating another pet or becoming pregnant themselves. The owner is then faced with the responsibility of finding homes for the litter. Often, babies are simply abandoned at a shelter, increasing the impoundment quota even more.
It is a misconception that spaying or neutering an animal will change its personality. While it is true some animals may become slightly more docile, it is rarely noticeable. Most cities sponsor low-cost altering options, most of which include vaccinations and GPS microchip insertion.
Too many pets are abandoned and left without a home because students refuse to take responsibility for their animal’s life. Students should take time to consider if they are fiscally secure and responsible enough to take on an animal. When the time for pet ownership does come, always consider saving a life through shelter adoption.