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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Stray and abandoned pets overrunning vets' available space

Friday, January 18, 2013

(Photo)
Lake Animal Hospital employee Miranda Wallace spends some time talking to a patient animal being moved to a kennel in the full facility.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, 8 million stray pets are taken in by animal shelters each year and last year 3.7 million were euthanized because homes could not be found. That's one every eight seconds. There are simply not enough good homes to go around. Why?

Strays may be wild or abandoned, but often locally were simply pets that were lost, and had no tags or microchips to reunite them with an owner.

A percentage of shelter animals are pets surrendered by owners no longer wanting them. Lori Nehring, office manager at the Lake Animal Hospital in Storm Lake says, "we hear everything here: 'she got fat,' 'he's not a good hunting dog,' 'she's not trained.' We even had one woman give us her dog because her house was being remodeled and the dog didn't match the carpet. It's just unbelievable."

A visitor to Lake Animal Hospital could find themselves in a room with the majority of a wall filled with containers full of cats and kittens. At the sound of someone coming in, they all spring to the doors of the cages trying to see who has entered - mewing a harmony for attention. Some reach through the doors to gently bat at fingertips, others shyly hold back. All need homes.

Most strays are the result of irresponsible breeding. An estimated 35% of our population don't their spay/neuter pets. "Many people who breed their pets believe they aren't adding to the pet overpopulation problem if they find homes for all their puppies or kittens. But consider this: every puppy or kitten sold by an irresponsible breeder means there is one more shelter animal that will not find a home." (AmericanHumane.org).

Although it is impossible to estimate the amount of strays in the country, the ASPCA estimates it could be up to 70 million just in cats alone. When stray cats or dogs are found in or around Storm Lake, there is a good chance that they will be brought to the Lake Animal Hospital. In December alone, they had 18 strays brought in and only four were claimed.

Dr. A.A. Stepan, veterinarian at the Lake Animal Hospital, says that the problem is just so out of control "we can't spay our way out of the pet problem."

When a stray is brought in, it is looked over, searched for an identification chip, and checked for any major health issues. The staff does what it can to bring bring the animal back to health and to keep it healthy for its stay. If an animal is brought to the clinic in rough shape, the veterinarian must make a decision what needs to be done.

How expensive the procedure or medicine might be, and what kind of quality of life the animal would have afterwards. Sometimes the choice is not an easy one.

Dr. Diane Johnson has been a veterinarian for 24 years and is currently a veterinarian at the Lake Animal Hospital. Although she has been a vet for so long, she says it is still very difficult for her to put an animal to sleep. She says the least difficult times are when the animal is in pain and suffering and euthanasia is the humane thing to do.

Unfortunately, the Lake Animal hospital is not a no-kill center, if they cannot find a place for an animal after four or five months, the animal may be put to sleep. The staff do everything in their power to place strays with loving homes. Some even go as far as to transport animals nearing their time limit to a no-kill shelter nearby to avoid putting them to sleep.

Part of the animal hospitals' income comes from people boarding their pets. Depending on the amount of available space, if the choice has to be made between boarding a pet and boarding a stray, the stray will have to be sent elsewhere or put down. All pet owners are urged to spay/neuter their pets to help attempt to keep overpopulation down.

There are many benefits when choosing to adopt from a shelter instead of buying pets from a breeder or pet store. By choosing to adopt, you are saving your pet's life, you find yourself with a healthy new family member, and all for less than purchasing a puppy can cost.

With shelter pets, Dr. Johnson believes that there is a higher adoption rate when people are being reminded that there are still animals waiting for good homes. If you're interested in adopting a new addition into your family, call 712-732-2033 or visit their page on PetFinder.com.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, 8 million stray pets are taken in by animal shelters each year and last year 3.7 million were euthanized because homes could not be found. There are simply not enough good homes to go around.

When stray cats or dogs are found in or outside of Storm Lake, there is a good chance that they will be brought to the Lake Animal Hospital of Storm Lake. On average, they can get one stray every day and might adopt one out per week. When a stray is brought in, it is looked over, searched for an identification chip, and checked for any major health issues. The staff does what it can to bring bring the animal back to health and to keep it healthy for its stay. If an animal is brought to the clinic in rough shape, the veterinarian must make a decision what needs to be done, how expensive the procedure or medicine might be, and what kind of quality of life the animal would have afterwards. Sometimes the choice is not an easy one.

Dr. Diane Johnson has been a veterinarian for 24 years and is currently the veterinarian at the Lake Animal Hospital. Although she has been a vet for so long, she says it is still very difficult for her to put an animal to sleep. She says the least difficult times are when the animal is in pain and suffering and euthanasia is the humane thing to do.

Unfortunately, the Lake Animal hospital is not a no-kill center, if they cannot find a place for an animal after four or five months, the animal may be put to sleep. The staff do everything in their power to place strays with loving homes. Some even go as far as to transport animals nearing a time limit to a no-kill shelter nearby to avoid them being put to sleep.

Part of the animal hospitals' income comes from people boarding their pets. Depending on the amount of available space, if the choice has to be made between boarding a pet and boarding a stray, the stray will have to be sent elsewhere or put down.

All pet owners are urged to spay/neuter their pets to help attempt to keep overpopulation down. There are many benefits when choosing to adopt from a shelter instead of buying pets from a breeder or pet store. By adopting, you save your pet's life, you find yourself with a healthy new family member, and all for less than purchasing a puppy can cost.

For example, anyone looking for a pet cat or kitten at the Lake Animal Hospital, you'd find yourself in a room with the majority of a wall being cages laden with cats and kittens. At the sound of someone coming in, they all are instantly at the doors of the cages trying to look at who's come to see them. All of them mewing and eager for a visitors attention. Some reach through the doors to gently bat at fingertips. These are all looking for loving families to call their own.

For shelter pets, Dr. Johnson believes that there is a higher adoption rate when people are being reminded that there are still animals waiting for good homes. If you're interested in adopting a new addition into your family, call 712-732-2033 or visit their page on PetFinder.com.

For those of you who already have pets, a few tips on how to keep your furry family members happy and healthy could be helpful. For outside pets, it is recommended that you invest in a heated water bowl so that the water does not freeze. If the water bowl is empty, some pets have even been known to sleep in the heated bowl for the warmth. Don't be afraid to give them some extra calories to give them energy to stay warm.

"Outside pet owners should also make sure that their pets are up to date on all vaccinations to protect them from outside animals" advises Lori Nehring, office manager at the Lake Animal Hospital.

All outside pets need some kind of shelter, something insulated to protect from the freezing temperatures and harsh weather. Some dogs have been known to get frostbitten ears and tails when circulation declines. Dogs with short hair need to be kept especially warm, some pet owners go as far as a sweater for when making the trek outdoors.

When going outside and on walks, it is best to keep in mind that salt is not good for their feet. The salt dries out and irritates paw pads. Dr. Johnson says "Pads can take a very long time to heel so wipe away any salt and avoid places with sharp ice where they can cut themselves". Should your pet accidently cut a foot pad, it should be looked at and cleaned to prevent infection.

Keep in mind "dogs and cats get colds just like we do" says Johnson. Should your pet get sick, it is best to bring them in to a vet to get looked over and receive treatment.


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I am currently in the process of raising money to open a shelter in Cherokee. The name of the shelter is Out of Harm's Way Animal Shelter. Donations can be sent to the Northstar Community Credit Union, 1030 S Second Street, Cherokee, Iowa 51012. I have a state of Iowa tax ID number and am waiting for the IRS to process the not-for-profit status. All donations are tax-deductible. Thank-you for helping our animal friends. They depend on us!

-- Posted by Jaman Nature on Mon, Jan 21, 2013, at 10:17 PM


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