Pet Care: Why Don’t We Care Every Month of the Year?

April has more pet-awareness events than any other time of year. It is the ASPCA’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, [the] American Red Cross’ National Pet First Aid Awareness Month, National Heart-worm Awareness Month, National Animal Control Officer Appreciation Week, National Pet ID Week, National Kids and Pets Day, National Hairball Awareness Day, World Veterinary Day, International Guide Dog Day, and National Adopt-a-Shelter-Pet Day. Why do we care so much about our animals for us to celebrate them so often in just one month?

[Nearly every day], the news [reports] a bizarre story of humans’ disregard for animals. Today, it may be the 100 animals rescued at a home in Howell, N.J., or the 20 horses in Larimer County, Colo., rescued from a ranch; tomorrow, it could be the 60 malnourished dogs rescued in Monroe, Conn., or the pet groomer accused of aggravated animal cruelty in Slidell, La. County by county, state by state, human cruelty to animals happens every day, everywhere.

According to the ASPCA, there are 5,000 community animal shelters nationwide, and close to seven million animals enter these shelters each year. Sixty percent of the dogs and 70% of the cats are euthanized. Only 2% of cats and 20% of dogs are returned to their owners from shelters because they are identified with tags, tattoos or microchips. More than 20% of people who leave a dog at a shelter adopted [the dog] from a shelter.

Now consider that 62% of American households have a pet. We own 78.2 million dogs and 86.4 million cats. The average cost of basic food, supplies, medical care and training for dogs and cats is $750 each per year. Inc. magazine reported that in 2012, the pet industry did $52.87 billion in sales, and [the publication] rank[s] “pet care” as the seventh best industry to enter if you are an entrepreneur looking to start a business. This industry includes grooming, pet hotels, online sales, retail pet stores, innovative pet product manufacturing and even pet funerals.

So how come such a large industry can’t step into our daily lives and help all these poor animals in need? Why do we even need to have a month like April, filled with reminders […] cruelty to animals [is still at] the forefront of the news? I don’t have the answer to this because it cuts to the core of human nature, and it’s not only about how we treat our beloved best animal friends but […] how we treat each other.

If the pet industry can’t step up and use some of their profits to help the less-fortunate animals and to help fund the 5,000 animal shelters, then it falls back on all of us. […] The people of Dallas County, Texas, have stepped up and […] funded a [new] unit in their District Attorney’s office that strictly focuses on cases involving harm to animals. All the major animal rights groups—the ASPCA, the Humane Society and the American Humane Association—gladly will take your donations to support their humanitarian causes. […]

The majority of us own pets. […] The unconditional love our pets give us transcends work issues, family conflicts, death and divorce, [s]o, during this month-long celebration honoring our best friends, do the right thing. Give […] your money to help these shelters and caring organizations ease the burden for these defenseless animals. Volunteer at your local shelter to help these animals cope with being alone. None of us want to be alone, and your simple act of kindness goes a long way for animals who can’t talk for themselves.

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