October is “Adopt a Shelter Pet Month.” One thing that may stand in the way of such adoptions is a misconception that something must be wrong with an animal if it ends up in a shelter. The fact is, most pets land there through no fault of their own.

Nearly 10,000 completely healthy and adoptable animals are euthanized every day in shelters across the country because there are not enough adoptions.

So, why do pets end up in shelters?

1. Behavioral problems: One of the top reasons for surrender is a behavioral problem. These generally stem from a lack of attention or socialization by the owner.

A pet may also act out if he is not getting enough nourishment, love and exercise. Pets need attention and care to stay mentally happy and physically healthy. Dogs can be very 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, ill health and destruction.

2. The newness wears off: Guess what? Puppies grow up to be dogs. They also require house training and go through chewing stages. Once the excitement of getting a new puppy or kitten fades, or once the 10-pound puppy becomes 50 pounds, they sometimes are put in the yard or taken to the shelter.

The percentage of people who acquire animals and end up giving them away, abandoning them or taking them to a shelter is 70 percent. Pet ownership is a lifelong commitment and should be thought through before making the decision to bring an animal home.

3. Lack of spaying/neutering: An estimated 40 percent of owned pets in the greater New Orleans area are not fixed, and that means animal populations remain high.

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/neuter surgeries for both owned pets and community cats. The Louisiana SPCA and the Jefferson SPCA both offer low-cost options.

An average of only 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.

4. Shelter pets are not just “mutts.” Ninety percent of all animals entering U.S. shelters are both healthy and highly 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 local shelters.

There are even breed specific rescues in our area such as the Louisiana Boxer Rescue and Creole Poodle Rescue. However, keep in might that a good mixed-breed pet is just as loyal and fun as any pure-bred animal.

Visit a local shelter or rescue to find a new family member. Rescued pets are the most grateful, adoring kind there is.


THURSDAY: Join the Louisiana SPCA for Cat Café, hosted at NO Fleas Market on Magazine Street. Cat Café will allow visitors to snuggle with cats and kittens while enjoying refreshments and discounted shopping. Space is limited; advance registration is required. Visit www.la-spca.org/catcafe to learn more and reserve your spot.

SATURDAY: From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Animal Rescue New Orleans and New York Pizza team up for a fundraiser and adoption event at 4418 Magazine St., New Orleans. “I Love New York” collars and leashes will be given with a $5 donation, and 10 percent of food and beverage sales will be donated to ARNO. Adoptable dogs will also be on site. For more info: adopt@animalrescueneworleans.org.

SATURDAY: The sixth annual BarkAID, which raises funds for animal shelters and rescues, will be held at Vanguard Paul Mitchell School (3321 Hessmer Ave., Metairie). Hairstylist Patrick Lomantini and his team will provide haircuts, with donations of a minimum of $20 going to the Louisiana SPCA. Call (504) 212-3321 to schedule an appointment. Also, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Louisiana SPCA animals will be available for adoption for $10. For more information, go to www.barkaid.org

SUNDAY: Help the Louisiana SPCA clear the shelter during the ASPCA & Subaru Loves Pets Fee-Waived Adoption Event. All animals will be available for free adoption during the event. Each will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped, and come with a small bag of pet food and free trial of pet insurance.

LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact info to lostandfound@la-spca.org. In Jefferson Parish, send to molsen@jeffparish.net and bbourgeois@jeffparish.net, and in St. Bernard Parish, send to cluna@sbpg.net.

Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at animalrescuecolumn@gmail.com or visit www.animalrescueneworleans.org.