Before you get a puppy for Christmas, do me a favor and read this post.
Don’t just skim it, don’t watch TV while you read it, and don’t read it while you’re half listening to another conversation.
Give me a few minutes of your complete and undivided attention because what I want to say is something you need to hear.
Before You Get a Puppy for Christmas…
Here are some facts…
In 2016 Animal Care and Control in New York City took in a total of 9,730 dogs.
Think about that for a moment…that’s an average of over 800 dogs a month that enter the three main animal shelters in New York City.
801 of those intakes were euthanized at the request of their “owner” due to poor health or untreatable conditions.
That leaves 8,929 dogs in the NYC shelter system.
Brace yourself because what I’m going to tell you next is stunning.
In the 2016 year, 2,681 dogs were adopted and 1,486 dogs were returned to their owner.
30% of adoptable dogs were adopted out of the Animal Care and Control system in New York City in 2016.
16.6% of adoptable dogs were returned to their owner.
What happens to the rest of the dogs?
43% are shuffled around the local shelter and rescue system…
Less than 1% are shuffled into non-local shelter and rescue systems.
That takes us to 90% of adoptable dogs.
The remaining 10% of dogs…just over 800 dogs, were euthanized.
That doesn’t sound “that bad”, does it? Only 10% of adoptable dogs were euthanized! (said sarcastically)
There is a problem with that statistic though because that 43% of dogs who are shuffled around the shelter and rescue system…no one reports on how many of those dogs wound up being euthanized.
What Does This Have to Do With You Getting a Puppy For Christmas?
So you don’t live in New York City.
So you are going to adopt a dog from your local shelter.
So what does any of this have to do with you?
The fact is that ACC New York is just one example of three shelters in one city in the U.S.
According to the SPCA, 3.3 MILLION dogs enter the U.S. shelter system. On average 48% of those dogs are adopted.
Again…what does this have to do with you getting a puppy for Christmas?
Most families get a puppy for Christmas because…
A) Their child has been asking for one.
B) They’re cute.
C) They make an impressive “gift”.
D) They can be free if you snag one off Craigslist.
In the year that follows, a huge number of these families wind up surrendering those puppies to shelters nationwide because…
A) A child’s sense of responsibility generally falls far short of that required to care for another living thing…there’s a reason we become mature enough to bear children when we do. This leaves an overworked mom or dad holding the bag and after a full day of work, sports practices, grocery shopping, and homework for the kids, many parents just can’t muster the effort to care for what is essentially another child.
B) They’re “not so cute” when they chew your favorite baseball hat or pee on your rug, plus, they grow up. That puppy breath will get you every time, but how cute is puppy breath when your grandmother’s $1,000 vase is broken, your carpet needs deep cleaning, and no one is as interested in playing with that lanky adolescent dog as they were with the “cute baby”.
C) I’m not sure at what point a living thing became a viable gift, but apparently, it did. What most people fail to realize when they gift a puppy is that they carry a HUGE time commitment and financial investment that a lot of people are unprepared for. We’re talking about the possibility of an 18-year commitment and a cost of $1,200+ per year (considering Jet’s vet bills I’d say $1,200 a year is LUCKY). Do you know if your “gift” recipient is prepared for this?
D) A puppy can be free if you get them off Craigslist…the problem here, however, is that no reputable “owner” or “breeder” will give a dog away for free (or, in fact, sell a dog through Craigslist). Why? Because Craigslist is one of the top sources for bait dogs. Free dogs lure dog fighters who use those dogs for BAIT. But you’re not a dogfighter, right? You just want a dog. Sure. But that free puppy on Craigslist encourages irresponsible people to continue breeding their pets because what’s to worry about when puppies find homes? In turn, this continues supplying free dogs to ne’er-do-wells. Eventually, these irresponsible breeders find that their source of homes has run dry and dog fighters are no longer shopping from them out of fear of being pinpointed, so their dogs wind up in shelters. We’ve already talked about what happens there…
But what about you and your free puppy? Well, the chances are good that the “free” puppy you now have in your life is not from certified healthy parents or properly socialized or medically provided for. In fact, the chances are that your free pup is from parents who are permitted to roam, who are highly likely to be heartworm positive and infested with parasites and living in unhealthy conditions. Conditions where illnesses like Parvo run rampant.
So your “free” puppy…if they aren’t already sick when you bring them home, has a high likelihood of developing health or behavioral conditions that will require a serious commitment and make the adoption fee at a shelter look like child’s play.
If That Doesn’t Make You Think Twice…
If the statistics above and the down and dirty on “free to a good home” dogs isn’t enough to make you think twice before bringing a puppy home for Christmas, perhaps this will…
In 2017 the population of Uraguay was a little over 3.4 million people. On average, in the United States alone the same number of dogs as almost the entire population of Uruguay end up in the shelter system every year.
In 2017 the population of Iceland was 335,025 people. On average each year in the United States alone the same number of dogs as TWICE the population of Iceland are euthanized…
Are you really ready for the commitment of a puppy for Christmas?
If so, please help shoulder the burden that your local shelters and rescues are facing on a daily basis and remember, a dog is for life, not just for Christmas.