Despite spay-neuter and public outreach programs that educate pet parents about the importance of spaying and neutering their beloved pets, the number of homeless pets in Chicago is still steadily increasing as a result of lost pets who were not neutered or spayed, mating with other lost pets thus creating more homeless pets on the streets. Many major cities including Chicago, has implemented the TNR (Trap-Neuter-Spay-Release) program as a way to help manage the overpopulation of homeless pets but some animal rights organizations such as PETA (People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals) do not advocate this program because feral and stray pets still suffer on the streets regardless of whether or not they have been neutered or spayed. However there is no doubt that the TNR program overall does help reduce the overpopulation of homeless pets for generations to come. The good news is there is promising hope; and proven solutions that are helpful for these precious animals who have ended up on the streets by no fault of their own but it is up to people to help make a difference for these innocent animals.
Encouraging people to adopt a pet from an animal shelter instead of buying from a pet store or breeder is key to significantly reducing the number of homeless pets, because for every animal that is adopted from a shelter, space becomes available for another homeless pet to have a chance of finding a forever home. Also keep in mind that pets in shelters have already been neutered and spayed for no additional cost, unlike the pets in pet stores and from breeders. Chicago alone has a number of animal shelters that are filled to capacity with sweet furry friends waiting to be adopted, including but not limited to, PAWS Chicago, Felines & Canines, The Anti-Cruelty Society, Chicago Canine Rescue, Lake Shore Animal Shelter, Tree House Humane Society, Animal Welfare League and Harmony House for Cats.
Another significant contributor to the overpopulation pet crisis stems from the result of pet parents no longer wanting their pets or no longer being able to properly care for them. Sadly, more often than not, an unwanted pet ends up on the streets because the owner felt too ashamed to bring them to a shelter or did not want to put in the effort to help find their pet a new home and surprisingly, some people still think it is simply ok to forever abandon their pets and let them fend on their own on the streets. Most states, including Illinois, consider the abandonment of an animal unlawful and those who are found guilty of this cruel crime will be tried, convicted and punished. In Ilinois, it is considered to be a Class A misdemeanor for a person convicted of animal abandonment for the for the first offense and a second offense is a Class 4 felony, similarly in New York, animal abandonment can result in at least one year of jail in addition to fine that can be up to $1000.00. What do these necessary enforceable laws mean? It is never justifiable to abandon a pet.
If you seriously care about the welfare of animals, there is no better time than the present to become an animal advocate and help educate your friends, family and the public about the overpopulation crisis of homeless pets on the streets and in shelters by encouraging them to adopt pets from shelters and explain to them the significance of spaying and neutering. There is the promising hope for all animals and now is the time for animal advocates to take a stand and work together to help these innocent souls as much as possible.