This week I began my stint as a volunteer at our local Humane Society. Some people have told me they just could not do that as it's too depressing. I look at it another way: When I spend time with the animals, it makes their time on earth more pleasant; and by socializing them, it makes them more likely to be adopted. Unfortunately, there are too many pets and not enough pet owners. In fact in the few days between when I submitted my volunteer application and when I showed up for my orientation, the shelter director told me they had had to euthanize all the small animals. We have two pet supermarkets in the area so fewer people look to the shelter to supply their "pocket" pets. Shelter's have limited room and unlimited rescues. I've heard some people say they will only do business with a "no kill" shelter. The problem with that is the no kill shelter turns away animals; the "kill" shelters take in everyone and then have tough decisions to make when they run out of room. Either way, the animals suffer.
It grieves me when I talk to people and they give me all kinds of excuses as to why they don't spay or neuter their pets. If they could only realize there are far too many wonderful animals already out there who need homes. And rather than going to a breeder or a pet store, I wish more people would think about all the animals at the shelters. The adoption fees are minimal (and help keep the shelters going) and they offer affordable spay/neuter programs. In addition, if you're looking for a particular breed, don't assume that all dogs and cats at shelters are mutts. There are purebreds available, too. If the shelter doesn't have the breed you want, they can put you in touch with a rescue organization that specializes in a breed.
If you love animals, please spay and neuter. Then when you feel you have a space in your life for an animal, go to your local shelter to adopt.