THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Thursday, May 26, 1977
Pet plague: Overpopulation
By NANCY MEINKE
Last year, the nation spent
an estimated $2.5 billion on dog
and cat food. Americans also
spent approximately $500,000 to
destroy 20 million dogs and
It has been said that there
is no nation, with possibly the
exception of England, that cares
more for its pets, dogs, cats,
and birds alike, than the U.S.
SO WHY does a nation that
cares so much for its anicals
turn around and destroy millions
of their beloved pets every
Kathy Flood, director of the
Huron Valley Humane Society
in Washtenaw County, says the
problem is simple - "overpop-
The overpopulation problem
is caused by negligent pet own-
ers, who think it is kind to let
their pets "run free" and allow
their female dogs and cats to
"STUDENTS are some of the
worst offenders of negligent pet
care," says Doris Dixon, local
field agent of Fund for Animals,
the most active anti-cruelty-to-
animals organization in the
"Students give little fore-
thought to the consequences of
their animals 'running free.'
They try to attach human attrib-
utes to the animals. This great
gift is hardly worth the resul-
"As far as animals running
loose, Ann Arbor was the worst
city I had seen," adds Flood,
THE PROBLEM of loose ani-
mals in this city got so out of
hand last year, that the city en-
acted a "leash law."
"The leash law has had some
impact upon loose animals in
the city," says Flood, "but 17,-
000 animals will pass through
the Washtenaw County animal
welfare facility this year."
Some of those strays and aban-
doned pets will be fortunate
enough to be adopted into new
homes. The rest - nearly 75
per cent - will have to be de-
To prevent this tragedy pets
can be spayed or neutered.
Spaying is a simple operation
performed on the female to re-
move the ovaries, making re-
production impossible. Neutering
is an operation performed on
the male animal to sterilize
ACCORDING to animal wel-
fare agencies, this is the most
humane way of cutting back
the pet overpopulation problem'
"The Huron Valley Humane
Soviety's spay and neuter clin-
ic performs 18 surgeries per
day," says Flood, "and we have
probably done over 5,000 since
we began the program." transient and have less money
The low cost of spaying and - than other segments of the popu-
neutering dogs and cats at the lation. Flood strongly advises
Humane Society makes it af- students to own cats, as opposed
fordable for most pet owners in to dogs, unless the dog is al-
the county. Neuter surgery for ready housebroken.
a male dog or cat is $12. Fe- "Cats are better able to en-
male cat spaying is done for $18. tertain themselves while the
Spay surgery for female dogs student is gone most of the day
under 50 pounds is $20 and for and t h e y are automatically
females over 50 pounds, $25. housebroken," s h e explained.
"Just give them a litter box!"
THE HIGHER COST for heav- Although the Huron Valley
ier dogs is due to larger doses Humane Society has a 20 to 25
of anesthetic needed for sur- per cent adoption rate of pups
gery. and kittens, the adoption rate of
Fox considers pet ownership older cats and dogs is a mere
a serious business. five per cent.
WHEN A pet is adopted from
"Students should think about the Humane Society, an $11 fee
a 12 to 14 year responsibility, is charged, which includes an
when considering acquiring a ID. tag for the animal. A free
pet," she said, "A pet owner health check and informational
must not only consider the fi handouts are also given.
nancial needs of his or her pet, The potential sdopter must
but also, how the pet will affect agree to take the animal to a
their lifestyle." vet for the initial series of dis-
temper shots and rabies vaccine
STUDENTS are usually more required by law. The cost of the
distemper and rabies vaccines
is approximately $34. The Hu-
mane Society does retain the
right to refuse an adoption,
people who can:
Jim Palmer of the Baltimore
Orioles has won the Cy Young
pitching award in the American
League three times.
The St. Louis Cardinals his 63
home runs in 1976, lowest total
in the National League.
Casey Stengel was the man-
ager in more World Series
games than any other pilot in
baseball history. Casey was at
the helm in 63 contests.
Bob Wellman is the new man-
ager of the Jackson, Miss.,
team in the Texas League.
If you can spend some time, even a few hours, with someone who needs
a hand, not a handout, call your local Voluntary Action Center.
Or write to: "Volunteer;" Washington, D.C. 20013 Weneedyou.
adnrtivng onatw d for the ph oaod The National Center for Voluntary Action.