Several days ago, WECT aired a report on the incredible number of area pets being euthanized each year. Sarah Warlick introduced viewers to Sweet Pea, a loving and gentle pit bull, and showed the animal being put to sleep at a shelter.
We expected an outpouring of negative phone calls and e-mails, but I'm happy to say we underestimated you. You responded, but with hundreds of messages of support.
You asked us to do more on the issue, and we will because the solution is multi-faceted. Owners should choose the right pet in the first place; spay or neuter them; adopt animals from a shelter rather than buy them from puppy and kitty mills; realize that pet ownership is a commitment and that these animals aren't disposable when it becomes inconvenient; and, if it is necessary to put the pet up for adoption, arrange for a private adoption or seek out a no-kill shelter -- don't just drop them off at a kill-shelter to be disposed of like garbage.
County shelters need to make changes as well. Many wrote that Sweet Pea's fate, while very sad, was humane and caring; not at all like shelters in their county where animals are dragged into gas chambers with catch poles and gassed in large groups -- puppies, large dogs, pregnant, sick, and elderly dogs; all fighting each other in an attempt to escape the oppressive carbon-monoxide gas.
Others asked why shelters aren't open evenings and weekends to be more accessible for them to adopt these animals. It's an issue we won't allow to rest. Expect to see more on this in the coming weeks from us -- until the demand for adoptive animals meets the supply; and euthanasia is the exception and not the assumed fate for thousand of pets every year.