Dumping animals a problem here
Many of Fayette County’s challenges are addressed in letters to the editor. I would like to mention an issue that is unknown to many residents and not discussed much publicly, but is well known and experienced by animal rescue groups as well as by residents who have experienced the problem first hand.
There is a serious overpopulation of cats!
In the past, cats have typically produced two litters per year, but that seems to be increasing, perhaps due to Georgia’s mild climate. Kittens as young as four months can get pregnant, often surprising their owners.
When unexpected litters appear, humane groups are flooded with desperate pleas to take them but most are already at capacity. Many people end up keeping the litters and the litters have litters. In just six years, one unspayed female and one unneutered male, along with all their offspring, can produce 66,088 kittens.
Dogs can produce exponentially also, but Georgia’s overpopulation of dogs is not as severe. If you have room in your home and your heart, please consider adopting a rescue pet now. If you already have pets, get them all spayed or neutered.
Dumping has become prevalent for desperate pet owners overwhelmed with litters. Trash dumpsters, farms, mobile home parks, woods and parking lots are dumping grounds for large numbers of animals whose only crime is to have been born unwanted.
All these animals have the capacity to be sweet, loving, playful additions to anyone’s family, but with 10,000 humans being born in the United States every day and 70,000 cats and dogs, there will never be enough homes.
Everyone needs to understand the importance of spaying and neutering their pets. If you feel you cannot afford this, ask yourself how you can afford to not do it.
Check with your own vet, the schedule for mobile veterinary units or use low-cost spay/neuter clinics such as H.E.L.P. and Life Line. Through grants, donations and fund raising, the Fayette Humane Society has assisted with the spay and neuter of almost 700 cats and dogs so far this year, but it is a drop in the bucket compared to the overall need.
I am told Georgia leads the nation in number of animals put to death in animal shelters. Our wooded areas are filled with evidence of our shameful disregard for the welfare of animals. Feral and stray cats that have been abandoned often hide during the day but come out at night to look for food.
Harsh conditions with no shelter make them a prime target for predators and disease, but even so, these cats can reproduce at an alarming rate and can quickly form large colonies.
TNR, a term for trap, neuter and return, is a humane technique that has been proven to reduce cat overpopulation, since feral and stray cats have a typical life span of only two – three years. Although overpopulation of companion animals is widespread, regions of our country that have enforced spay/neuter laws do not have the problem we have.
“A true measure of the character of mankind is how we treat the most helpless among us.”
We are proud of our state and our community for many reasons, but we have fallen short when it comes to concern for the treatment of helpless animals.
Linda White, animal advocate volunteer
Fayette Humane Society