(1) define and describe a significant political/social/cultural problem(2) justify and frame this problem to convince your audience that the problem you’re addressing and the questions you’re asking are alive and relevant right now(3) describe and decipher the chronological history and historical context of the problem at hand that tie the problem as we see it today to its past. We call these KEY PIECES OF EVIDENCE. (4) summarize and critically evaluate various conversations and debates made by credible scholars and organizations about your topic.
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Overpopulation of Shelter Dogs: A Review of Stray Dogs’ future
Clearly remember how passionately a group of cute dog rush at me when I walk into the
rescue shelter. Every year, I would go there as a volunteer to care for dogs. Even through some
of them lost sights, they still stare at me filled with hope and love. They are the same as home
pet, they are angles. One of which cared by me for a long time is named Lucky. When I thought
about her name Lucky, I wished that she is lucky enough to meet a nice owner. She was saved by
the center one years ago. She has a couple of large liquid eyes and soft fur, unfortunately when
the volunteer found her in the street, she has lost one of her legs. Lucky plays actively when she
is being with people. It seems that she never feels upset because of losing something. One year
passes, nobody chooses to bring the cute Lucky home. She faces the reality to process
euthanasia. Actually, if she has unbroken body, there might be a good person’s eye light. In the
current society, there are a lot of dogs ignored by adopters in the shelter. According to the data
investigated form ASPCA, approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal
shelters nationwide every year. However, the truth is around 3.2 million shelter animals are
adopted by people each year and half of them are dogs. We face the problem that if people would
like to adopt shelter dogs so the pressure of the shelter can be relieved?
Started from 1970, when unwanted dogs’ appearance got worse (Hamer), the HSUS had
paid attention in the euthanasia in the shelter. In the 1973 survey, The HSUS estimated that 13.5
million dogs and cats were euthanized nationwide by shelters, which was equal to around 20% of
the owned dog (about 35 million) and cat (around 30 million) populations at the time. After
caring them for three to seven days, they need to face death. By the data research done in
thousands of shelters, Merritt Clifton and Phil Arkow (ANR) provide the result to prove that
euthanasia rate was decreasing continuously.
With the lower euthanasia rate, the dogs’ protection organization was reasonable to save
dogs by sending them into shelters. An American local group named Animal Welfare
Association in New Jersey sprung up to provide humane shelters for stray dogs and cats (AWA’s
70th Anniversary). The US government is struggling in funding shelters. Known by The Human
Society of the Unite States, Andrew Rowan and Tamara Kartal states that there is an uptrend of
shelters building. There were only 350 active shelter in the USA estimated by Rober Chenoweth
(the President of the HSUS). Then this number had grown to around 3500 in 3100 countries by
2015. Compared with roaming in the street, shelter dogs receive the protection and good caring.
Primarily, why there is overpopulation of shelter dogs?
Pet overpopulation leads increasing shelter dogs
On the one hand, humans are responsible to the abandoned dogs. Trace back to 40 years
ago, overpopulation of unwanted dogs appeared to catch people’s eyes. Why there is the
overpopulation of unwanted dogs roaming in the street? Account for the urban city, the
overpopulation of pet was caused by the 80’s recession. A lot of dog owners claimed that they
cannot afford pets anymore (Hamer). Currently, pet overpopulation is more related to the social
development. Said by Betsy Saul, the the co-founder of the pet adoption Web site Petfinder.com,
the overpopulation problem lies in supply and demand. Also, it is directly related to the
economy. The economic strain surrounded by owners lead to an “overburden” problem rather
than overpopulation (DVM, April 2010). There are various expenditures to young people both
elder people live in this modern society. Some of them would send dogs to shelters to help find a
new owner, the rest less-responsive people choose to discard. And then, the pet becomes stray
dogs and cats. On the other hand, stray dogs’ fertility capacity is better than domestic dogs.
Without the help from animal-loving groups, there would be more dogs roaming in the street.
Limited financial condition to shelter overpopulation
Although the number of shelters gets increasing continuously currently, we cannot regard
building shelters continuously as the solution, because space and finance are both limited, also
labor source is restricted. According to Hamer, the normal expenditure for animal-control
program is around 500 million dollars annually. With the existing overpopulation, the fund
would not be enough to take care of one more dog. At the same time, the labor force is limited.
Successful adoption is always happened with well-behaving dogs. After long time ignoring,
maybe shelter dogs have some behavioral problems. Their aggressive appearance cannot be
restricted. In the article Behavior of dogs adopted from animal shelter written by Eva and
Svatava, according to Wells and Hepper (2000), the most common problem perceived by
adopters of shelter dogs is fearfulness, followed by excessive activity, barking, destructiveness,
inappropriate elimination and aggression towards owners, strangers and other animals.
Overpopulation means less concentration, therefore, dogs’ behavior may not be corrected in the
Limited resources in providing a good adopting condition
From the recent national trend, adoptions have become a factor driving additional
decreases in national shelter euthanasia starting around 2010 (Marsh 2010). If the large number
of dogs live in shelter can be adopted? At least, adoption is a continuously success can be
achieved by people spontaneously. When adopters make a decision, the morphology of the dog
becomes one of the most important considering factor. All owners would like to see docile and
healthy dogs, instead of picking up an aggressive dog would hurt humans, or has no energy
whole day. Because of overpopulation of dogs live in a shelter today, the individual space and
activity are limited for every single dog. At the same time, maybe the shelter staff faces the
shortcomings of food and they only have restricted attention to everyone. The environment
enrichment is a method which provides a better living conditions to animal (BOERE, 2001). It
effectively reduces the stress and behavioral disorders (CARLSTEAD&SHEPHERDSON,
2000). No matter how difficult their roaming journey is, they can receive the good care under the
good treatment. Therefore, their characters may be more active and passionate. The investigation
done by present study shows that dogs would decrease lying time in shelter kennels after
environment enrichment. Time costs three weeks. When the process in 1 or 2 weeks, there is no
obvious change happen in dogs. However, it seems that the surprising improvement would
happen at fixed time.
As the result shows, the whole society and organizations are better to come up with the
idea to enhance the quality of the shelter service rather than to care if the number of shelters are
large enough to hold more stray animals. In the long run, the good caring condition can help cute
dogs find their real owner and sweet home. It is still not considered at all. Living in shelters,
however, which would not be in details enough like live in the individual space.
According to the published article from Brown University (2009), Stephen Coate states that a
recent survey shows a majority of owners view their pets as members of their families (APPMA,
2005). The pet owners’ responsibility has been increasing. Therefore, the pressure of relinquish
dogs would be decreased. Researching by Andrew and Tamara in the Dog Population & Dog
Sheltering Trends in the United States of America, today there are very few “street” dogs and the
euthanasia rate of dogs in shelters has fallen by more than 90%. The overpopulation of dogs
becomes a quite controversial topic. The former research results point out factors which affect
adopters to make a decision. However, in my statement, there is no clear method to deal with the
rest of the shelter dogs. In other words, if there are people are willing to adopt them? It should be
Hamer, J. (1975). Pet overpopulation. Editorial research reports 1975 (Vol. I). Washington, DC:
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Ciência Rural. 2019, Vol. 49 Issue 1, p1-7. 7p. DOI: 10.1590/0103-8478cr20180181.
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Marsh, P. Replacing Myth with Math: Using Evidence-Based Programs to Eradicate Shelter
Overpopulation; Town and Country Reprographics, Incorporated: Concord, NH, USA, 2010.
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