According to a Léger Marketing poll conducted early this year for the Association des Médecins Vétérinaires du Québec (AMVQ), there were 730,000 cats and dogs adopted in the province of Quebec in 2013. At the same time, 500,000 cats and dogs were euthanized because they could not find a home. This discrepancy in numbers is troubling. Although pets are living beings, they are not offered the same legal protection as, for instance, a used car. When you want a new car, you trade it in or sell your old car. Even if it is very old, you will have it towed to a scrap yard where it will be used for parts or metal recuperation. You cannot just abandon your car on the street or in a parking lot – that’s illegal and would get you fined. Pets have fewer privileges; they are dumped outside, euthanized, or given up for adoption. Here is the breakdown of the number and the sources of new pet adoptions in 2013:
Adoptions in 2013: 458,000 CATS 272,000 DOGS
Sources of adoption:
Neighbor, friend 24% 28%
Found outside 20% –
Shelter 29% 5%
Pet store 6% 4%
Recognized Breeder 2% 22%
Other sources 19% 41%
There are interesting similarities, but it’s the differences I find more interesting. Let’s start with cats. There were a great many cats found outside: one out of five. Almost a third of all cats were adopted from shelters, while very few cats were bought from a recognized breeder (Canadian Cat Association accredited breeder). With dogs, it’s the opposite. No significant number of dogs were found outside (we very rarely see dogs wandering the streets, thank God!), but only 5% were adopted from a shelter. People instead bought them from a recognized breeder (Canadian Kennel Club approved member). They wanted a pet with certain features or of a specific breed, and they were willing to pay for that.
Take a look, however, at the number of animals that come from other sources. Unfortunately, many of these animals come from cat and dog farms. These animals have substandard care and nutrition, and serve only as slaves to generate a profit for their owner. Even pets sold in pet shops that are not accompanied by a pedigree may come from these cat and dog farms.
Let’s try to put an end to this injustice. Adopt your pet from a shelter. You will not only save a life; you will also get great value for your money. All pets will be sterilized, vaccinated, de-wormed, and will assessed for behavioral problems. Cats will sometimes be tested for Feline Leukemia and AIDS, while dogs may be tested for heartworm disease. And they will all be flea-free!
If you opt for a purebred animal, that’s no problem – but get an animal with a pedigree. Don’t buy the argument that if you want a pedigree, it will cost X dollars more. It cost peanuts to register your purebred litter with the CKC or CCA. If the seller presents that argument, you are not getting a purebred animal. The pedigree is the only guarantee of purity of breed.
Whenever possible, try to meet the parents of your newly adopted puppy or kitten, and to see the littermates. Are they healthy looking? Are the premises clean? Do the parents exhibit normal behavior? It may not always be possible to meet the father, since he may not belong to the owner of the mother, but always insist on meeting the mother. If the mother is not present, the pet most likely comes from a pet farm.
Whatever you decide to do, do not buy your pet from individuals on Kijiji. You may just be sponsoring a pet farm. April 30 is Adopt a Pet from a Shelter Day; consider adopting your next pet from a shelter.
At Animal 911, we always have healthy cats for adoption. Give us a call at 514-685-8387 or visit our Facebook page.
– Dr. Wybranowski, B.Sc DVM CCRT