“Pet” overpopulation?

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Question by merebear83: “Pet” overpopulation?
I’m very saddened by the HUGE numbers of animals in shelters, & hope to adopt several of them soon. I’m a lifelong animal lover. During my search for the best breeds for my family, I’ve seen statistics on the “pet overpopulation problem” but part of it doesn’t make sense to me. Why do humans “have” to kill the “surplus” cats & dogs, instead of letting them live free in the wild? I know that some problems would arise, like garbage scavenging etc…but raccoons do that too! Millions of other species of animals also roam the earth with humans, & they aren’t singled out for killing like cats/dogs are. Why are these animals any different, when people even have to coexist with gators haha? Lots of cats/dogs make wonderful pets, but they have also lived in the wild for countless years without the aid of humans. It seems so sad that we’re killing them by the thousands. I wish they all had families, but living in the wild is better than being dead, right? Just kill the unwanted pets…
How could that be true? Dogs and cats lived in the wild before humans even existed, they have to have some instincts to help them. I’ve never seen a *healthy* animal that was helpless. If other animals have a right to live in the wild instead of dying, why can’t dogs and cats? The best thing would be to have homes for all of them…but I don’t see how an early death is better than living how you were originally supposed to live in the first place.
Jenn, I just can’t buy what you’re saying 100%. If cats and dogs could have been domesticated from the wild in the first place, then why would it be STUPID to believe that the process could be somehow reversed over some length of time? Cats and dogs weren’t ALWAYS domesticated obviously, and they definitely have instincts to rely upon…much more so than humans. I’m not saying it would be a perfect scenario, life in the wild can be harsh…but that’s what all the other species are doing. I just don’t see how death is better. Once again, the best scenario is families for all of them…but I just don’t think death is a better alternative than living like the vast majority of other animals on the planet. I think you’re underestimating their resourcefulness and will to survive.
I meant to add this in my last post…but there are instances of “wild” animals like leopards, etc being raised by humans, and then successfully released into the wild.

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Answer by E J
If they let cats/dogs/rabbits/birds/ferrets(?) go in the wild the would have died a worse death than being humanely euthanized because they do not know how to live in the wild.

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6 comments on ““Pet” overpopulation?

  1. Pets are domesticated animals, there is no way the average dog or cat would be able to survive in the wild, as a majority of their natural instincts have been bred out of them for generations. A domesticated animal can not survive in the wild for physical and mental reasons. Releasing domesticated animals in the wild would basicly be like sentencing them to a prolonged death of starvation and neglect, rather than giving them a quick death with a needle.

    Also think about the fact thay by releasing domestic animals into an enviornment which they are not native to will throw the entire eco system off balance. Kind of like when people release foreign insects into an area, and the insect eventually over populates, and kills off other species that are native to that area because there are no natural preditors. Some examples of this are those japanese lady bugs, purple lustrife (spelling?) and golden rod. If you were to release cats for instance, the cats would begin to breed at incredibly high rates, and would start to kill off all the natural wild life like birds. There are few preditors that would kill off the cats, resulting in a really messed up enviornment.

    Recently, due to the economy and lack of a horse market, many people have been releasing horse’s that they can no longer care for, and can not sell, into rural areas. The result is ALWAYS the horses end up in terrible condition, near death, and terrified. Horses are so poorly adapted to their ‘natural’ environment they can not survive. They become crippled and unable to walk due to not having their feet trimmed, or they end up infested with worms, and unable to get proper nutrition and end up slowy starving to death. But as an animal lover I’m sure you consider sentencing an animal to be slowly starved is MUCH more humane then being put down…..

    A much better solution to the over population of pets is if a majority of people would spay and nueter their pets, and if people would THINK before purchasing a pet , rather then get a pet then dump it a week later after it turns out to be too much work. This way an excess of pets would not be bred due to their being a diminished demand for them.

  2. the_samurai_lullaby

    In reply to the last details you added, wild animals that are rehabilitated and released into the wild have little to no contact with humans, and are not reliant on them for anything. Humans make sure that these animals remain untamed and have a fear of humans. They even go so far as to not speak in the presence of an animal.

    As far as “coexisting with gators,” people do not. This is why we have professional trappers who catch and relocate them into the few places where humans have not put their scummy hands.

    And believe it or not, there are other animals that are “singled out for killing” just like cats and dogs. Horses, cows, sheep, pigs, goats, chickens…It’s all fair game to us. Just because people eat them doesn’t make a difference. They die all the same.

    But now on to your main question:

    Releasing millions upon millions of animals would wreak havoc upon the local ecosystems. Dogs, cats, and other “pet” species are not common to any one ecosystem, so the sudden surge of predators and a few prey such as rabbits, mice, and rats, would be a shock to the land and its native inhabitants.

    Breeding would go through the roof, and animals would starve because there would be too many hungry mouths and not enough food to support them. They would all end up dying anyway just like in shelters, but slowly through starvation.

  3. With domestic dogs and cats, they have been domesticated for THOUSANDS of years. They can’t just be released into the wild after being bred to be domesticated for so many years and be expected to survive. We domesticated them, and now they depend on us. I agree that it is sad that animals have to be euthanized because of the huge overpopulation. But letting dogs and cats run free is just going to cause more problems. The dogs and cats are just going to keep reproducing because they wouldn’t be getting spayed and neutered. We would be over run by stray dogs and stray cats. They would die of starvation, diseases, hit by car. They would be fearful and aggressive towards people. Having wild aggressive animals just running loose wouldn’t be safe. There are a LOT of animal shelters that don’t euthanize animals. They rely on foster homes to keep the animals until they find a forever home. And at the vet clinic where I work people will bring in ‘wild’ cats that they trapped in a live trap (it doesn’t hurt them). We will spay or neuter all of the cats that come in. If they are at least semi friendly, we socialized them while they are at the clinic, then adopt them out. If they are exteremely fearful or aggresssive, and unable to be handled, we will keep them for a few days to let them heal from the surgery, then send them back out into the world to fend for themselves.

    What we personally can do to help with the pet overpopulation is educate people. Educate them to spay and neuter their pets. Educate them on how much work it is to actually raise and take care of a litter of puppies and kittens. Educate them about animal shelters. For some people, the idea of adopting a pet from an animal shelter doesn’t even come across their mind. They go straight to a breeder or pet shop. We can also adopt animals ourselves, foster animals, and donate to rescue organizations. If that ever comes up in conversation with someone, that is also educating them.

  4. Hey, thats why we have WILD and DOMESTIC animals. Dogs and cats are domestic and their insticts are to rely on humans. If an old dog was going to be put to sleep and it was “released” into the wild, it would come to people. It could not hunt for itself and would die. If millions of cats and dogs roamed free they would be everywhere! Dogs and cats have been domesticated. That means not wild and to ever think that they can be would be stupid. Its almost like saying that wild animals can be pets! And think about the stray and feral animals out there. The feral animals may be able to survive but thats because they were trained to be afraid of people and never knew what it was like to be fed before. The strays usually end up dead or at peoples doorsteps because most animals at shelters were peoples pets and they have learned to rely on people. I totally agree that its wrong to put animals to sleep. If only people fixed their pets we wouldn’t have to worry about these questions!

  5. americanista_j_a

    i defenetly agree with you because it makes me sad to see so many animals in those shelters because i been to shelters with my dad and when one dog is adopted it makes me really sad that most wont be adopted and be killed to make more space for other dogs. you are a very caring person but no one can do anything about it because many wont care what happens to animals they just live their life on unless someone does some type of petition to stop animal deaths in shelters

  6. No. The reason is because cats and dogs are “domesticated,” not wild animals. The people who drive out in the country and dump their cat or dog out of the car are, for the most part, giving them a cruel death sentence. If they are not hit by cars, or attacked and eaten by predators, they slowly starve and thirst to death.

    The average lifespan of a stray is at the most two years. During those two years they are always searching for food, water and shelter. It is not a very nice existence. Most of them are riddled with fleas and/or diseases, hurt all the time from their sores and bad teeth (lack of nutrition, lack of veterinary care), are chased by dogs and humans, are starving, and on top of all that have to try and find shelter every night, and avoid cars. Most strays are thin due to all these problems.

    As I grow older, more and more I begin to believe that QUALITY OF LIFE is everything; not quantity – for people as well as animals. Think of the last time you had the stomach flu. As you vomited for 24 hours, were you thinking about the latest fashion you just had to have, planning a trip to Disneyland, thinking of moonlight, magnolias and romance? Or were you, more likely, just praying to God to end the pain – one way or the other! Nothing mattered but getting rid of the misery.

    Think of cancer patients. It gets to the point where the doctors give them all the dilaudid or morphine possible – and the pain is still there. They pray for the mercy of death.

    So I would think that once someone has tried to find a home for an animal, and no one ever shows, that rather than be dumped out on the street it is better to be kindly and humanely euthanized. It is, after all, just an overdose of anesthesia. And as a very kind and wise old vet once said to me when we had to put our elderly and cancer-ridden dog down, “You don’t want to keep him in his old hurting body when he has a brand-new one waiting for him. It’s like going from a caterpillar to a butterfly.” Even if you don’t believe in an existence afterwards, it has to be better than just existing and suffering.

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