The ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States estimate that 3 to 4 Million animals are killed in US shelters each year. 3 to 4 Million! When I was a kid living in Central America I was always outraged by the way people treated animals. Dogs are usually not considered family members by any means. They are guard animals, or cute pets until they grow to big and require to much food. Street dogs are considered a pest – not only by restaurant owners that have to constantly run them off their properties. Most people are poor by our standards and many of them can barely support themselves, so often the first one to suffer is the dog who can’t say ‘Excuse me, I’m hungry too!’. I never understood how you could just close your eyes to that situation.
In the US tough, the problem seams to be of a different nature. Dogs are liked, generally. It seems schizophrenic to me to read those numbers and see pampered little over-bread-purse-dogs. People that buy diamond collars for their little darling when on the lower end of the estimates there is over 8000 animals being ‘put down’ on a daily basis. Don’t get me wrong, I get pampering your super cute tiny or large dog, just… well it should be your adopted dog! In Central America people are very aware of the situation, they see starving dogs and kitty litters in the gutter, but here the streets are usually ‘clean’. Animal Control, what are we controlling exactly? Our perception maybe.
Fortunately there is hope. Organizations and Individuals trying to make a change not only for homeless individuals but for future generations as well. Here is one of my favorite projects. NKLA is a coalition of animal welfare organizations, city shelters and passionate individuals. Led by Best Friends Animal Society, they’re dedicated to ending the killing of healthy and treatable pets in L.A. city shelters. This is a great example of team work and what you can achieve if you set your mind to it! Is your city next?