In general, the first of the month is always a big moving day, as that is typically when new leases begin. However in the Boston Area, Sept 1st is by far the largest moving date in the entire year. It’s even nicknamed “Allston Christmas“.

But did you know that millions of pets in the US are abandoned every year? One of the causes being owners leaving their pet(s) behind when they move to a new place.

According to the ASPCA, every year in the US around 7.6 million companion animals enter shelters; 3.4 million cats, and 3.9 million dogs.

While 35% of dogs entering shelters are adopted, 31% are euthanized. That means that almost 1/3 of shelter dogs are put down each year. And of the cats who enter shelters, about 37% are adopted and an alarming 41% are euthanized. Every year, more cats are put down than they are adopted. Additionally, homeless animals outnumber homeless people 5 to 1.

As published by the American Humane Society, the most common reason that animals are abandoned in the US is due to the owner’s place of residence not allowing pets.

Here are some other reasons pets are abandoned:

  • Owner can no longer afford the pet
  • Owner has lost interest
  • Owner finds having a pet to be too much work
  • Owner becomes sick or immobile and is unable to take care of the pet
  • Owner gets evicted
  • Owner passes away
  • Owner doesn’t want the pet when it begins to need medical care
  • Owner doesn’t want the pet once it becomes old

What you can do to help

  • Adopt pets from a shelter, not a breeder
  • Do not breed animals for sale
  • Spay and neuter your pets (if your pet gets out, you do not want to add to the stray population problem if they were to mate with another animal)
  • Apply to be a pet foster parent
  • Volunteer for a pet organization
  • If you notice a stray animal, try to safely catch and bring the animal to a local shelter, or call the local animal control agency
  • Spread awareness on pet abandonment

While abandoning a pet is illegal in the US and considered a misdemeanor, the penalty varies by state. Regardless of the ramifications if caught, there is still a huge pet abandonment problem. If you run into a situation where you can no longer care for your pet, it is always better to bring the animal to a shelter rather than just leaving it on the street. Other than the danger to the animal, if they are not spayed or neutered, they can reproduce and increase the already high stray animal population, leading to more euthanization. And most importantly, ADOPT DON’T SHOP! You have the power to save an an animal’s life.

Photo Credit: Care2