-By Robert Shapiro

As the director of a new non-profit West Village animal rescue, “Stray Pride”, I have to deal with a lot of injustices, so I respectfully offer this plea:

If you are a dog or cat owner, please have it neutered, because over-breeding results in thousands of unwanted pets being euthanized annually at NYC shelters.  Many folks think it’s ok to let them breed, because they’ll find homes for the kittens and puppies, but that spells doom for shelter pets that could have been adopted instead.

 When acquiring a pet, bypass a breeder or pet shop, because hundreds are available from local shelters for a small fee—and they all come tested, vaccinated, de-parasitized and “fixed”.  Never get a puppy or kitten. We were raised to envision a Hallmark Moment with the family blissfully visiting a pet shop or breeder to buy a companion for their child, but here’s the problem: A staggering half of all puppies and kittens end up at “kill shelters” before they are a year old, because, 1) as they grow, many play too rough with children, 2) they can grow to be jealous of the child and become aggressive, 3) they aren’t properly trained or housebroken, or 4) didn’t turn out to have the “right personality”.  When you adopt an older animal (six-eight months and up) its personality won’t be a mystery. You can also test it to see if it’s gentle with kids or other pets. It will likely be housebroken. Win, win, win, plus it’ll cost a fraction of what a pet shop, breeder or boutique shelter charges. 

Despite the overwhelming evidence against doing so, a pet shop or breeder will sell you a single kitten, which is likely to play too rough as it grows. A cat needs at least one other to play and roughhouse with as it grows. The advantages of two kittens are many. They will play with each other during the day when the household is active, and sleep at night—a frustrated single kitten will often cry all night or attempt to play with its humans while they are trying to sleep. They will grow to be healthier and live longer, because they exercise regularly. But what really keeps them out of the kill shelters is that by being less frustrated, they tend to be calmer and gentler toward humans.

    Cats live three times longer when kept indoors, and you’ll have fewer vet bills from car accidents, disease, parasites or injury from other cats. There will also be fewer bird killings by the hundreds or thousands per cat.

In shelters worldwide, more black cats (and dogs) are euthanized every day than all other animals combined. The reasons are multiple.  In the 21st Century, many folks still think that black cats are bad luck. This creates a problem at the pounds.  Since black cats don’t get adopted as quickly as others—or at all—they take up valuable cage space, so they are often “put down” to make room for more adoptable animals. In addition, many shelters refuse to adopt out black cats, for fear they might be sacrificed during pseudo-religious rituals, so they’d rather end their lives humanely. So if possible, adopt black cats or dogs first and always remember, it’s bad luck to be superstitious! 

If it is overweight, reduce your pet’s meal size and never leave food out all day.  There is a pet-obesity epidemic. You will not only save on food, but avoid huge vet bills from type two diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Please check out Westview News’ website (westviewnews.org) to see the adoptable animals of the month. We also sell tee shirts to support animal rescue. Stray Pride specializes in the underdogs, like black cats, black dogs, mixed breeds, reptiles, spiders and pet rats, but also have other homeless pets in all categories. More on this next month!

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