I'd like to think I'm the type of person who keeps up with the times, always staying informed of the current trends and developments in the world. That's not all that hard to do these days, what with information so readily available on our laptops, tablets and smartphones.
So you can imagine my surprise when I learned that the issue of homeless pets and pet overpopulation had been resolved. No longer do the nation's animal shelters have to struggle to find homes for the millions of unwanted dogs and cats! Gone are the days where these unfortunate animals would be euthanized simply because there weren't enough people willing to give them a good home!
I came across this startling revelation when the Best Friends Animal Society, a Utah-based shelter, released a survey last month in which 46 percent of respondents ages 18-34 said they would rather buy a pet from a breeder or pet store than adopt from a local shelter.
We're talking about Millennials here—the ones who grew up with the information superhighway at their fingertips—so you just know they're aware of current events.
As I read this statistic on my tablet, I looked at my dog Banky—whom I adopted from the Anti-Cruelty Society years ago—and said, "It looks like animal shelters are no longer needed! No more homeless pets, girl!"
She looked at me with an expression that said, "What are you talking about?" Or it could have been saying, "When are you feeding me?" Either way, she wasn't happy.
I checked my Twitter lists, Google alerts and RSS feeds to seek out this historic announcement for pet lovers everywhere. Nothing.
I looked at the Chicago Animal Shelter Alliance website to find a press release. Surely they would have news on solving the pet overpopulation problem. Nada.
Finally, a search of the Chicago Animal Care and Control website revealed what remains the disheartening truth: In 2012, CACC took in a staggering 19,524 dogs and cats, placing 55.84 percent and euthanizing 8,149.
National estimates for the number of animals euthanized in shelters annually range from 3 million to 4 million, which should come as a surprise to some respondents of the Best Friends survey, 40 percent of whom said that animals are safe in shelters.
In spite of what some would like to believe, animal shelters still are dealing with a pet overpopulation problem that costs millions of dollars and the lives of millions of animals—all despite efforts to engage the public in every form of social media there is.
It appears that when it comes to companion animals, the generation that should be the most aware—since we have access to more information than any previous generation—has decided to be the most ignorant.
For a generation that can look up the answer to almost any question on their portable devices, there is no excuse. Remember that the next time you ask "How much is that doggie in the window?"
RedEye special contributor Elliott Serrano works in the Anti-Cruelty Society's education and community outreach department.
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