As a pet owner, life long pet lover, an animal advocate, and a
former manager of the SPCA of Wake County I know what it feels like to lose a pet. I also know what it feels like to find a lost animal and not be able to locate the owner. Conversely, I have also experienced the "high" that you feel when you see a pet and its owner reconnect. It is an amazing feeling--a high that you never want to come down from.
emotions I speak of combined with the financial impact on the pet owner, the community, and the nation are but two of the reasons I am starting a non-profit organization to address the issue of lost and found animals. Our goals will include quickly reuniting lost animals with their owners, but even before that happens we must educate. There is important information that everyone in our community, pet owner and non-owner alike, should know. Small details that could determine if you will ever see your pet again if it is lost.
One such detail is
what our state says is an appropriate hold time for stray animals. Every state determines how long a shelter must hold a "stray" animal before it can be adopted to a new owner or be sacrificed. In North Carolina that mandatory hold time is three business days! If your pet were to show up at a shelter in this state they only have to hold it three full days after which time it is termed "abandoned" and legally becomes the property of the holding institution. If you had the presence of mind to check the local shelter(s) but decided to wait a few days because "he has gotten out before, and he always comes home," it is conceivable that your pet could have been there but is now gone. There are some communities that extend that 3-day rule, but they are few and far between, and their "extension" is an additional two or three days at best. As the owner, you are usually able to reclaim your pet after the 3-day window if it is still in the facility. The harsh reality is that 55-60% of the animals that enter a shelter locally are not reunited with their owners, not adopted by new owners, and are not redirected to area rescue groups. Locally 55-60% of the animals that enter the shelter system never have that opportunity. Their lives end there! And as bad as that sounds, nationally the numbers are closer to 70%!
are many shelters across our state and I would guess that most of them are challenged by the numbers of animals that come through their facilities. There are considerably more animals than there are adopters,
and given that space and resources are finite numbers, something has to be done with the excess. There are dozens of animal rescue groups in the Triangle Area and very probably a few hundred across the state who
take it upon themselves to help in this effort, but that still isn't enough. Low cost spay/neuter programs have helped tremendously, but still in Wake County alone over 10,000 animals each year are viewed as excess. Over 10,000 animals each year are sacrificed for the greater good of our local community. Nationally, that number is estimated to be between 3 and 4 million, but could be much higher!
I mentioned earlier that I am a former
shelter manager for the SPCA of Wake County. I understand, intimately,
the process. I understand the reasons. I also applaud animal shelters, animal control departments, and rescue groups for the work they do. I also admonish the general and pet owning public for making this work necessary. Regardless of what we think or feel about sacrificing animals, these individuals and organizations have accepted the challenge to help the animals and to help us in the community to the best of their abilities--which often means to the limits of their resources.
Will you help us to help you, to help our community, and to help our nation?
are starting a non-profit that will address the issue of lost animals by creating awareness of the situation and by implementing programs that will more quickly reunite lost pets and their owners. We recently started a community aluminum recycling program to help fund our organization's efforts and, we would appreciate your involvement and support.
Let us know your thoughts. If you are interested and able we would appreciate your help. But simply giving your feedback will help us to address a situation that has been impacting each and every one of us for a very long time.