What Is the Best Way to Deal with Stray Pets?
by Audrey R. on September 29, 2017 - 8:34pm
(Photo by Ron Holman) If you check the facts, animals are being abandoned all around the world at an alarming rate. The statistics prove this: there are five homeless animals for one homeless person and only one dog out of ten will find a home for life. Although the numbers are shocking, some countries have found successful ways to deal with the stray animal overpopulation. One of these countries is Costa Rica, where a no-kill policy is implanted and animal sanctuaries are extremely helpful in dealing with the large number of homeless pets.
Quebec is far from being exemplar on this matter. In fact, we have one of the highest rates of abandoned animals being killed. According to an article on Animal 911, over 500,000 cats and dogs were euthanized in Quebec shelters, only in 2003. This can be attributed to the fact that the animal shelters we have in place, despite their effort in rescuing as many pets as possible, are overflowing with abandoned animals.
On the other hand, Costa Rica can be considered one of the best places in the world for abandoned pets. In 2003, the Costa Rican government put in place a law that prohibits the killing (euthanasia) of stray animals. The linked article explains that Costa Rica follows a "recipe for success", which includes solutions for low-cost and local spaying and neutering clinics that do not require financial help from the government. Another way that this South American country deals with stray pets is through enormous animal sanctuaries. The most well-known sanctuary in Costa Rica is the Territorio de Zaguates, or "Land of the Strays". It is a dream-like place where 900 stray dogs are free to run around the mountains of Santa Bárbara all day. Not only does this sanctuary keep track of every dog in their care, they make sure all of them are spayed or neutered. The Territorio de Zaguates is open to the public, even allowing people to take a free hike with the dogs and offers the opportunity for visitors to adopt a furry friend.
Although the harsh Quebec winters do not allow the province to run such institutions, there should be more thought put into solutions for animals left without homes. This issue is a real one, with numbers that keep on growing. In the meantime, we should all keep in mind that we should keep encouraging the animal shelters that we do have, such as the SPCA. There is no need to support breeders, who contribute to the overpopulation problem, when there are thousands of perfectly good and loving dogs and cats waiting to be adopted into a forever home. There may not be a perfect solution to dealing with stray pets, but I have hope that we will find a way to eliminate, or at the very least diminish the mass murders of homeless animals in Quebec.