Adopt Don’t Shop is a campaign slogan that a growing number of animal rights proponents are using to promote adopting pets from shelters, rather than buying them from the pet store. The ASPCA reports that roughly 6.5 million animals enter shelters every year with approximately 3.2 million being adopted, and about 710,000 animals returning to their owners. Most puppies sold in pet stores focus on the profit with little regard for the health and welfare of the animal.
Although puppy mills are legal in the U.S a vast majority are not regulated which can produce animals with serious health problems down the road. Often times female animals are bred at every opportunity with little to no time to recover between litters and these practices and conditions are unethical. According to Dale Neave, the director of
Rather than supporting the exploitation of these animals for the profit of an individual, adopting a rescue from a shelter saves a life. Although many shelters are working towards a no-kill initiative of 90%, this is not always possible. Shelters are often crowded with more animals than they can take which can put some animals who have been there too long at risk of being euthanized. According to the ASPCA, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized which is a decline from 2.6 million in 2017.
The San Marcos Regional Shelter located at 750 River Rd has a volunteer program that is very hands-on. One way you can help out is “Dog’s Day Out” where any volunteer that has gone through orientation and training can sign a dog out for a day and take them out of the shelter. The point of this is to take notes that will help the shelter pair the dog to a family-based on their energy level, obedience training, and any triggers they might have. Lorri Barnett, the leader of the dog enrichment training class says “taking them out can reduce the animal’s stress significantly, we encourage spoiling them with treats and cheeseburgers.” Volunteers are able to check them out and report back notes like “is good on a leash,” “knows how to sit and stay,” or even “not good with cats.” This helps the shelter significantly when trying to find them their forever home. The only stipulations are that they are not allowed into local dog parks for safety reasons. Everything else is free game though, common areas are the square, Starbucks, and Sewell Park, when checked out they are given sweaters that say “Adopt Me” to promote people to go to the shelter.
Adopting an animal from a shelter not only gives your pet a second chance at a happy home but can also save it from being euthanized in an overcrowded shelter. By taking home a new pet, you can also make room at the shelter for another animal with nowhere else to go. Rescue animals are also often microchipped and vaccinated, which can cost up to $60 and $150, respectively.Another perk is that the majority of shelters spay and neuter animals before adoption, which can save hundreds of dollars. Spaying and neutering are routine, affordable surgeries that can prevent thousands of animals from being born. There are too many animals without homes being born only to struggle and survive on the streets.
Pet Fest is an annual event that celebrates animals and saving their lives. This event is hosted by PALS (Prevent A Litter of Central Texas) an organization that strives to end pet overpopulation and pet homelessness by promoting responsible pet ownership through educational, spay/neuter programs and adoptions. They provide spay/neuter services to stop litters of unwanted pets which would likely end up in shelters. PALS has hosted Pet Fest for 17 years, it is a free event, but donations of pet food are greatly appreciated. Jon Ferrel, a student at Texas State University said, “I was able to donate 20lbs of food and it made me feel like I was making a difference.” This year it was located at 401 Hopkins Street in the San Marcos Plaza Park by the lovely San Marcos River on October 19, 2019. The day began with an opening ceremony and consisted of animal parades, live music, a silent auction, merchandise, food vendors, kids’ activities, arts and crafts, a pet costume contest and a K9 demonstration. Everyone was encouraged to bring their pets and have them dressed up in their Halloween costumes. In addition, there were 5 dogs that were brought that were successfully adopted from the San Marcos Regional Shelter. There are so many sweet adoptable animals in shelters that need our help, adopt don’t shop is something everyone should consider when getting a pet.