Be a part of the solution

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By Cindy and Danny Torrence

All-American Mutt Rescue, Inc. www.allamericanmuttrescue.org

    October is Adopt-A-Shelter Dog Month and you’re invited to join area rescue groups at the Bedford County Animal Shelter (1307 Falling Creek Rd, Bedford) on Saturday October 8 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. to meet some great adoptable dogs (and kitties) who need new homes.  Tour the facility, meet the staff and animals that need new homes and maybe find your new best friend!
    Do you know the difference between a pound/animal shelter/animal control facility and a rescue/humane society?
    Your local pound/animal control facility is part of your local government and is funded by taxpayer dollars.  They are holding facilities for animals picked up by Animal Control Officers as strays and they must accept animals surrendered by owners.  They are high-kill facilities because, by law, they must have space open for officers to bring in strays or animals that must be held as part of a court proceeding.  They cannot refuse animals so if they are full, some must be killed to make room for more.  This is not a choice.  This is the law.
    Each year, nationwide 2 million to 3 million dogs are dropped off by their owners at high-kill pounds, and of those, 60 percent are needlessly killed simply because there are not enough homes. Sadly, most of these dogs are healthy, good-natured and perfectly adoptable.  About 25 percent of these dogs are purebred.  Our local animal control facilities/pounds will make adoptable pets available for adoption but they are not primarily adoption centers.  They are doing the job they were created to do … they are holding lost and surrendered pets for a specified time to give them an opportunity to be reclaimed by their owner or adopted.  By law, surrendered animals do not have to be held at all. 
    Your local animal rescues and humane societies do not kill healthy, adoptable animals, but they also cannot take in every animal in need.  These groups take in animals from the area pounds in order to save their lives, but if there is not a foster home available or other space available within the organization, they simply cannot take them. These groups are mostly or all-volunteer and are supported only by donations.
    One of the most rewarding aspects of adopting a pound or rescue pet is the simple fact that you’re saving a life and giving a deserving animal a new home. It feels great to help an animal in need, and after living in a shelter your new dog will really appreciate of the wonderful life you’re going to give him.
    When you adopt your commitment is just beginning.  The first and most important thing you must do is have your new pet spayed or neutered.  As part of their adoption process, Bedford County Animal Shelter provides a voucher for you to take to your vet or spay/neuter clinic to offset all or part of the cost of the surgery.  Rescue groups frequently have the surgeries done prior to adoption.
    So – how can we stop the cycle of animals being abandoned to die?  #1: Spay or neuter your pets and limit the numbers of animals needing homes.  #2: Become more responsible pet owners and make a lifetime commitment to family pets.  #3: Support your local animal pounds and rescue groups.  Please commit to being part of the solution.