Shelter concerned with number of stray pets

By Raya Tahan

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Many students begin the year by adopting an animal. And while the commitment people make to a pet should be lifelong, many pets will be abandoned by their owners at the end of the school year.

The number of animals brought in to The Tucson Humane Society peaks annually in April, May and June, said the shelterıs senior adoptions counselor, Jay Brown.

Brown said while the increase also represents family vacations and army transfers, it is largely a reflection of UA students who give up their pets.

Jody Burns, public services coordinator of Pima Animal Control Center, also said there is a slight upswing in the number of animals abandoned at the school year end, most of which have to be euthanized.

She said in June, 1,756 animals were turned in. Of those, 230 were re-claimed by their owners, 292 were adopted and 1,056 were euthanized.

An animal without tags is kept at the shelters for three days before being euthanized. Animals with tags are given seven days. Burns said chances are low that a pet brought to the center will live.

A large part of the problem, Brown said, is that many students assume their pet will be welcomed at their parentıs home when it actually will not.

³People, before they get animals, need to think,² Burns said. ³It is a 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year job. It is a total commitment‹day in, day out.²

Burns said that on average, 1,750 animals per month are brought to the Animal Control Center, and Brown said the Humane Society receives an average of1,000 animals per month. Most of those animals are dogs and cats. A small number of rabbits, ferrets and birds also come in.

Burns said cats are often left behind when people move. This results in a huge stray cat population near the campus.

Brown said, ³I think that usually students believe, when adopting a pet, that they will keep it for life. But it is expensive to have it shipped on a plane after graduation or for summer vacation.²

Students move often, Brown added, and it can also be very difficult to find a home that allows pets.

Holly Reck, marketing and media manager of The Tucson Humane Society, said ³there is a fallacy that pets are disposable commodities.

³In my estimation, there is a lack of foresight, a spontaneous Œthis is cute and funı attitude,² she said.

Reck said, ³These animals are companions. They need people. A dog or cat gives unconditional love, which is what people always say they want. However, people are not willing to take responsibility.²

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