By Phil Snyder, Executive Director of Suncoast Humane Society
Published in the Englewood Sun on July 19, 2015
Unless you work at, or are associated with, a humane society, rescue group or an animal control agency, you probably never wonder why people relinquish their pets to animal shelters. There are many reasons - some understandable and a whole lot not so.
The most frequent reasons given to animal shelter personnel when surrendering a pet are moving where they don't allow pets, experiencing behavioral problems, or facing family allergies and health issues.
These are more understandable reasons, even though you have to wonder if there could have been options that would allow the pet to remain as part of the family. We do live in an impulsive society, and it is true that people do purchase things, including pets, without a lot of thinking ahead.
For example, some of the less-understandable reasons given include the pet suddenly got too large, he is way too expensive, she has too much energy, and he sheds too much. Do you think a little forethought could have avoided many of these problems?
My favorites (not) are we have too many pets (eeny meeny miny moe); he is not cute anymore; and the all-time winner, he does not match the new furniture.
Believe it or not, the first cat I ever adopted was brought to the humane society because a lady had purchased new drapes and her other cat was a better match. The cat she rejected went on to live at my house for the next 15 years, and he never did match the drapes.
Working at an animal shelter admitting office also has its sad moments. Each year, more than 250 pets that have reached the end of their lives are brought to the Suncoast Humane Society by their owners. Requested euthanasia is a service offered to provide a humane ending to the suffering of aged and ill pets.
Although very sad, it is an important service offered when needed. Regardless of the many reasons stated when surrendering a pet, we should be thankful for the animal shelters and rescue groups that are here to accept homeless animals.
Just imagine the problems that would magnify without animal shelters and their compassionate, caring personnel. We would see a definite increase in animal abandonment, neglect and abuse, and dog bites that would create a drastic increase in public-safety and health issues.
If you must surrender a pet, regardless of your reasons, a well-respected animal shelter or rescue group is your safest option. Always contact them first to inquire about their admitting policies and procedures.
The Suncoast Humane Society accepts all animals brought to its animal care center from within its service area. Avoid advertising your pet on social media, Craigslist or free-to-good-home ads.
There are many horror stories and, often, pets DO NOT end up in good homes.