May 23, 2010
One of the jobs I do for one of the shelters I work at involves some tracking of inventory. I just finished an update and the stats are depressing. The total current inventory 512 animals and this number has been steadily climbing for the last couple of weeks. Summer is a tough time for shelters. So many people bring in animals because they are moving or just going on vacation. Worse yet, they don't bring them into the shelter and just dump them some where and those end up at the shelter hurt, sick, or malnourished.
I get very frustrated sometimes because a lot of people tend to bad mouth shelters. Where do they think shelter animals come from? They come from irresponsible owners. But it is the shelters that try to save them and rehome them that get bad mouthed, not the pet owners that create the need for shelters in the first place.
The shelter currently has 186 kittens under 3 months, many of who have been abandoned and need fostering. As a kitten foster, this always puts me in the dilemma of quantity vs. quality. Do I try to foster as many as possible as quickly as possible, or foster fewer for longer? Combining unweaned abandoned kittens from multiple litters can be risky for cross infections and increases the risk of failure to thrive in the smaller ones. But sticking with one litter means some others probably won't make it because there are too many kittens and not enough fosters.
My wish is that pet owners think through what owning a pet means. That is means a responsibility for the life of the pet. That they not treat them like disposable pens, tossing them out when they become inconvenienced.