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Web posted February 17, 2005 Shawnee News-Star
To the Editor:

Pet owners should accept responsibility

People who dump dogs and cats and/or puppies and kittens on others' property in the belief that they are doing God's helpless creatures a favor are making a serious mistake.

They are doing these animals no favor. On the contrary. Those people are causing great suffering, because the odds are the animals will die a most horrible death through starvation, being eaten by a predator, hit by a vehicle or killed by diseases such as rabies, parvo and others.

Pets are a great responsibility in addition to being loving and loyal companions. Each dog or cat will cost the owner/guardian from $800 to $1,500 per year under normal conditions, to say nothing of emergencies. It takes about $200 to get started, to get the animal spayed or neutered, provide first shots, including rabies and test for heart worms, physical exam, etc. Those of us who love these best friends consider this cost to be a great bargain.

Responsible pet guardianship requires that dogs and cats be spayed or neutered at 6 to 7 months of age. Spaying and neutering is the first step in developing a no-kill program in any community. When you do this for your pet, you are not only helping your pet through better long-term health, but you are actually reducing the need for "putting down" hundreds of puppies and kittens in the future who were the victims of unplanned births.

To those people who consider dumping their responsibilities (dogs, cats, puppies or kittens) on others, I would suggest that if you cannot find good homes for them yourself, you take them to Shawnee Animal Control (pound) instead where they at least have a chance to be adopted or as a last resort face a more merciful death at the hands of a skilled veterinarian. There are those of us in the community who are working toward the development of a no-kill policy in Shawnee like many other communities have.

Three important first steps toward this objective are:
1) Spay or neuter
2) Provide necessary shots
3) Adoption by responsible guardians

If you already have a pet, step three is at least partially met. Just be sure you are responsible enough to complete steps one and two if you have not already done so. Even if you keep your pet in a fence or in the house most of the time, it is no guarantee against unwanted births. Spaying or neutering is.

Wes Beck