Adopt pets, don’t breed


By Hayley Devitt

Want a pet? Adopt. It might be tempting to go straight to a pet store and find the prettiest kitty, but consider adopting pets from an animal shelter.

As we see in commercials for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Humane Society of the United States, some animals are subjected to horrible living conditions, giving birth to litter after litter for the breeders to sell.

I will not venture to say that all breeders are horrible animal abusers and all dogs from pet stores come from “puppy mills.” But, there is still a big problem when profit is more to breeders than the animals’ well-being.

Centuries ago, dogs were bred according to what work or task was intended for them. For example, certain hounds were bred for hunting certain prey, and this is why there is so much diversity in dog breeds today. However, now dogs are bred for appearance.

Breeding actually encourages a host of genetic disorders since often the dogs are mated within a limited gene pool. In order to repeat the same bloodlines, sometimes the animals must mate with another of very similar genes, even a relative.

Therefore, puppies and kittens born this way are at a higher risk of posessing a disease or disorder that runs in that breed. Think of hemophilia in the descendents of England’s royal family.

I realize breeders are just trying to earn a living. However, to manufacture animals for sale is ludicrous when there are already many pets without a home.

That is where animal shelters come in.

Tails Humane Society, 2250 Barber Greene Road, does not put a time limit on an animal’s stay nor does the organization euthanize pets that are old, sick or have been there for a long time.

However, as Beth Drake, the executive director of Tails, said over the phone, “Every single animal needs to find a home as soon as possible.”

Since the shelter uses limited admission, the more dogs, cats and “little critters” are adopted, the more can be brought in. Thus, more lives can be saved.

Drake also said all pets are better off being adopted by caring owners rather than staying in a shelter indefinitely.

When I visited Tails I could see that it was very clean, well-staffed with volunteers and not overcrowded.

Although Tails makes a very good temporary environment for about 2,500 displaced pets per year, it cannot take the place of an actual, loving home.

If your apartment allows you to have pets, I think having one would be a good grounding tool for a student. Pets do not carry quite the hefty responsibility of having a child, but think of it as an extremely scaled down version of parenthood.

Having another living creature around that needs your care might lead you to better living habits and better choices.

Why not adopt from a shelter? I see mixed breed discrimination along the same lines as racial discrimination. A potential pet owner should not disregard an animal in need just because it is not purebred.

Buying from a breeder or pet store only encourages overpopulation, which means more animals are born and wind up without a home.