This month is Adopt a Shelter Pet Month. There is a misconception that something must be “wrong” with an animal if it ends up in the shelter. The fact is, most pets land there through no fault of their own.
Nearly 10,000 healthy and adoptable companion animals are euthanized every day in shelters across the country because there are not enough adoptions. But why are they given up? Here are some reasons:
Behavioral Problems: One of the top reasons for surrender is a behavioral problem. These problems generally stem from a lack of attention or socialization from the owner. A pet also can act out if it is not getting enough nourishment, love and exercise.
Pets need attention and care to stay mentally happy and physically healthy. Dogs can be destructive if they are bored and not exercised properly. A dog left unattended in the yard with little human interaction is a recipe for boredom, loneliness and ill health.
The Newness Wears Off: Once the excitement of getting a new puppy fades, or that 10-pound puppy turns into a 50-pound dog, some dogs are put in the yard or taken to the shelter. The percentage of people who acquire animals who end up giving them away, abandoning them or taking them to a shelter is 70 percent. Making the decision to get a new pet is a lifelong commitment and should be thought through.
Lack of Spay or Neuter: An estimated 40 percent of owned pets in the greater New Orleans area are not fixed. This is not because of a lack of low-cost resources. There are programs and grants operating year-round that offer low-cost or free spay and neuter surgeries for both owned pets and community cats.
The LA SPCA and the Jefferson SPCA both offer low-cost options. An average of 10 percent of animals surrendered to shelters in this country have been spayed or neutered. Unaltered pets are less healthy, particularly in their senior years, and can exhibit behavior and health problems.
Not just “Mutts”: Ninety percent of all animals entering U.S. shelters are both healthy and adoptable. Out of that 90 percent, purebred cats and dogs make up 25 percent to 30 percent. So if a specific breed is desired, visit the local shelters. There are even breed-specific rescues in the area such as Louisiana Boxer Rescue. However, keep in might that a good mixed-breed is just as loyal and fun as any purebred animal.
Visit a local shelter or rescue to find your new family member. Rescued pets are the most grateful, adoring kind you will ever meet!
Animal Rescue New Orleans Adoption Event: ARNO is holding an adoption event from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday at Sephora in Lakeside Shopping Center that will include a puppy kissing booth, adoptable dogs in Halloween costumes, adoption and foster information, and information about volunteering opportunities. Donations accepted. For more information, email adopt@ animalrescueneworleans.org
Off-site Pet Adoption and Bake Sale: The Louisiana SPCA will sponsor an event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Clearview Mall, 4436 Veterans Blvd. Louisiana SPCA adoption counselors and volunteers will be on hand to help you select the right pet for your family. Call (504) 368-5191 or visit www.la-spca.org for more information.
Petco National Adoption Event: Jefferson SPCA will attend the event with adoptable dogs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Petco, 3520 Veterans Blvd., Metairie. For information, email jacob@ jeffersonspca.org.
BARKtoberfest Canine Costume Contest and Trick-or-Treating: The event for dogs and kids will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at Canine Connection, 4920 Tchoupitoulas St. Costume contest registration fee is $5, with all of the proceeds benefiting the Louisiana SPCA. Music by the Hurricane Levee Band, prizes, games, giveaways, raffles, scavenger hunt, rubber duck derby, rescue dogs and snacks and refreshments are available for a donation to the Louisiana SPCA. Also, meet Gumbo, the Saints mascot, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Call (504) 218-4098 or visit www.la-spca.org or www.canineconnectionnola.com for more informationrmation.
OVERNIGHT Critter Cinema Extravaganza: Louisiana SPCA will sponsor this event from 4 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. Saturday through Sunday at the Louisiana SPCA, 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd. Great fun for animal-loving, pizza-eating, movie-watching kids! What better way to celebrate Halloween than with kitties and puppies, enjoying a G-rated creepy critter movie, crafts, games, ghost stories and s’mores. For kids ages 5-10; bring a sleeping bag, pillow, toothbrush and pajamas. $65 per child. Preregistration is required; call (504) 368-5191, ext. 207, or email email@example.com. For information visit www.la-spca.org/crittercinema.
Pet First Aid/CPR Course: The Louisiana SPCA will sponsor this class from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday at the Louisiana SPCA, 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd. This hands-on training course will teach you the basics in animal handling, restraint, pet first aid and CPR using realistic animal mannequins. Taught by a Red Cross-certified instructor, you will learn what to do in common emergency situations prior to seeking veterinary care. Course fee is $65, and preregistration is required to secure a seat at www.la-spca.org.
LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish you can send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org. In Jefferson Parish, send to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, and in St. Bernard Parish, send to email@example.com.
Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.animalrescueneworleans.org or call our recorded informationrmation line at 504.571.1900.