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Pets: Attitude change needed on pets
As residents fortunate enough to live in a very desirable area, we have seen a rapid increase in people, their children and their pets.
Both animal shelters on Whidbey, the county shelter at Coupeville and the City of Oak Harbor shelter, were adequate at one time, but their capacities havent been increased in over ten years. This and several other factors have resulted in both shelters being overwhelmed with adoptable dogs and cats, with more waiting to be surrendered.
The Whidbey Animal Improvement Foundation, WAIF, was formed in 1990 because concerned members felt it was wrong to euthanize healthy adoptable dogs and cats.
WAIF has run the county shelter at Coupeville for about 15 years and this year took over the management of the City of Oak Harbor shelter. In addition to the population growth, changing lifestyles have worsened the problem of recycling pets. Many people do not regard the family pets as a real part of the family. When they move, they all too often leave Fido and Kitty sitting in the street, wondering where their people went. This is not helped by the military allocating an even smaller portion of quarters that will allow pets. Also, we are seeing more cases of older pets, who like people, need more medical care as they age but are being dumped or surrendered by people who, in some cases, want to adopt a kitten or puppy to replace the older pet.
To sum up, more people are surrendering or abandoning their pets than are adopting.
As a volunteer for WAIF, it hurts to see so many beautiful dogs and cats spending extended periods in shelters, waiting for a family.
Expanding the shelters is one answer, but a better one is to change peoples attitudes to becoming responsible pet owners. There are many good people in our community, but we also see far too many who do not accept responsibility.