2016 is going by quickly; I thought it a good time for some reflection after such a tumultuous Session and a busy summer.
While we carry on in our efforts to enforce animal laws, serve the public and run our facilities we try to get ahead of the game by trying to reduce the numbers of animals arriving at our shelters. It would be a fair guess to estimate that at least half of the
animals we take in are unwanted. We all know “unwanted” covers a myriad of reasons but most assume “unwanted” is a symptom of irresponsibility and most would probably be right. Dogs and cats running at large causing damage, biting and being horribly injured. Along with all of the dangers lurking for everyone when dogs and cats run at large, many of them breed. Dog packs surrounding a bitch in heat is still fairly commonplace and still dangerous. After all is said and done, the dog picked up, the owner fined, signatures and ID gathered, etc, etc, a few month later, we start taking in the litters. With hope and allot of hard work, many leave on a leash or in a carrier, some in a bag and at the end of the year we count them up.
Every year about 80 to 90% of our county jurisdictions tally their animal numbers and send them to the Animal Welfare Section in Raleigh. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the numbers over the years.
I found a few interesting numbers and changes and would like to share them. And since our Spay Neuter program went through some buffeting, I thought I would start with 2001, the year of its’ enactment. We can take a look at 15 years of animal numbers and maybe it played a part in a change.
In 2010, the Michigan State University, Animal Legal and Historical Center reported that 32 states in the US have implemented mandatory spaying and neutering for shelter animals as a method to control dog and cat overpopulation. While NC did not adopt this mindset, it did adopt spay neuter as an incentive, so let’s take a look.
Here is a snapshot of what I found looking over 15 years of our animal totals:
Human Population Dog/Cat intake Other species intake
2001 8.21 million 285,549 6,688
2010 9.56 million 336,286 8,592
2015 10 million 245.436 7,193
It appears we are doing well in reducing the numbers of animals coming into our shelters, with and without other species; 2010 may have been a turning point.
All of us who work the field and the shelter know spaying and neutering doesn’t and won’t do it all. Those of you who enforce your laws equitably, work doggedly (pun intended) to get them out alive, treat the public with respect (regardless) and understand the big picture are making a change in North Carolina. Hopefully, the dog pound has been euthanized, those who remember it thank you for making that happen and for all of the rest of us, all species included.