Every year, around 100,000 pets are received by the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) alone. This statistic is considerably higher across all charitable animal protection organisations and pet rescue centres, such as the Australian Animal Protection Society (AAPS). According to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), the overall figure is closer to 400,000.
Many pets in shelters have been surrendered by loving families who are unable to access veterinary care or pet-friendly accommodation, while some arrive having been victims of cruelty. Thankfully, the number of euthanizations has decreased considerably in recent years, and this is, in part, due to an increase in people willing to adopt instead of buying from a breeder or pet shop.
Despite an increase in adoptions, many thousands of animals remain in shelters awaiting a loving new home. A large proportion of these animals in need are cats and dogs, although there are also a good number of other animals, such as guinea pigs, budgerigars, horses, and more.
When you adopt from a shelter, you help a pet in need of a safe, loving home, potentially saving them from euthanasia, and creating new space for another animal in need to be cared for in the shelter.
To some, the thought of animal shelters conjures up images of neglected, abandoned animals with behavioural and health issues, but the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. While some animals do find their way to shelters as a result of neglect and abuse, for the most part, they are surrendered due to their owners’ change in circumstances, leaving them with no choice but to make the sad decision to give their beloved pet away.
The majority of animals in shelters are happy and healthy, and just in need of a new, stable, and loving home. In plenty of cases, they are also already well-house-trained and are able to live harmoniously with other pets and children.
It is also often noted by pet owners who have both adopted a rescue animal and bought from a breeder that adopted pets are often more loving than their purpose-bred peers. Some feel that shelter animals have a sense that they have been rescued and are all the more loving for it.
When you adopt a pet from an animal shelter or other animal welfare organisation, you are supporting a non-profit organisation. Every time a pet is adopted from one of these organisations, it frees up a little more of their room and resources to care for other animals in need.
Shelters also work towards improving general community standards. By ensuring that all adopted animals are neutered or spayed before leaving for their new home, the number of unwanted animals that will be born out in the community is reduced.
Believe it or not, puppy farms still exist throughout Australia. In puppy farm facilities, mothers and their puppies are often made to stay in filthy, overcrowded conditions, and forced to sleep, eat, go to the toilet, and even give birth all in the same confined space. The mothers are trapped in a never-ending cycle of pregnancy and nursing, all while living a life of neglect, isolation, and abuse.
To help combat the cruelty of puppy factories and have them shut down, make sure you:
It’s no secret that the cost of buying in-demand puppies and other pets from breeders and pet shops can be high, with many of the most popular cat and dog breeds selling for thousands of dollars each.
While there is some cost involved in adopting a pet from a shelter, they are typically affordable and in most cases, hundreds or even thousands of dollars cheaper than buying a pet from a breeder. Pound puppies, for example, may be a little dearer given their relative value when bought from a breeder, but the costs will still be lower via adoption.
Additionally, many shelters have already provided a considerable amount of medical care to animals before they are adopted, such as vaccinations, spaying or neutering, microchipping, and more. Some of these costs may be covered in the adoption fee, but overall, adopting almost certainly represents a significant saving.
The more people who adopt pets from shelters, the more normalised it will become. By adopting a rescue animal, you are not only providing a safe, loving home to an animal in need, but you are supporting the shelter, helping them to care for other animals, and inspiring others to follow your lead and adopt a wonderful pet of their own.