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Cyann Meredith
Issues in Community Final
19 September 2016
Save a Life, Adopt from a Shelter
Giving an animal a loving home is the goal, so does where you adopt the animal from
make a difference? All across the valley, animal shelters are becoming increasingly congested.
The Arizona Human Society currently takes in more than 17,000 animals per year (ASPCA). The
overcrowding of shelters in Arizona leads to morbid living conditions, limited health care, and
the termination of animals.
Living conditions in shelters are inadequate for the needs of the animals. Overcrowding
in shelters creates less living space for each individual animal. Dogs and cats alike are territorial
animals and have their own individual needs of what space suits the type of breed. Kennels in
general, are not the ideal living space for animals, so what makes an overcrowded kennel any
better? Overpopulated animal shelters breed uncomfortable living situations for the animals and
in a way, can be considered abuse. When walking into a shelter, the aroma of urine and feces hits
the nose first. Over packed shelters do not have the man power to keep all the kennels clean, bath
each individual animal regularly, and keep the animals from constantly wading in their bodily
matter. The unclean and unhealthy living conditions in overcrowded shelters affects the health of
the animals.

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Along with unhealthy living conditions, overcrowding in shelters leads to the health care
of the animals being boarder-line negligible. With shelters being state funded, and with the
funding being so insufficient, the caretakers do not have the ability to regulate the
administration of medication to all those animals that need it. Just because an animal is rescued
off the street and put in a shelter, does not mean that the medical needs of the animal will be met.
For many dogs, living in an overcrowded shelter is worse than living on the streets. Shelters
cannot afford the medical expenses of every animal that lives in the kennels, whether they have
heart worms, parasites or even a puppy cold. Animals in overcrowding shelters have a higher
chance of actually obtaining illnesses like parasites and kennel cough through the contact of fecal
matter from the sick individual. Animals with medicational needs are met with the bare
minimum of standards. Overcrowded shelters in Arizona lead to the neglect of each animals
health care.
Adopting from kill-shelters specifically, will decrease the number of animals that get
scheduled for euthanization. Shelters can only be built so big and can only be funded so much
before the time comes when shelters have to make room. The American Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals comments that, Each year, approximately 2.7 million animals
are euthanized in shelters (1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats) (ASPCA). The overcrowding
of animal shelters makes euthanizing animals seem like a good solution, but it is not! Adopting
from overpopulated animal shelters will decrease the number of occupants, thus eliminating the
need for terminating animals. When people opt to purchase pets at for-profit pet stores, they are
not being part of the solution and, in fact, are contributing to animals being euthanized at shelters
all across the nation (Arizona Senora News Service). Animals at shelters

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are waiting for their forever home just like the animals in pet stores, the difference is, their lives
are at stake. By adopting from any one of Arizonas teeming animal shelters, a life can be saved.
The hideous living conditions, pitiful healthcare and euthanization of animals are all
effects of overcrowding in animal shelters. Adopting an animal from a shelter not only gives this
animal a loving home and a chance at life, but it also impacts the life of animals within the
shelter. Buy from local shelters instead of buying from a pet store.

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Works Cited
Lauren Ikenn. "Arizonas Animal Shelter Epidemic." Arizonas Animal Shelter Epidemic.
Arizona Sonora News Service. N.p., 2016. Web. 20 Sept. 2016.
"Pet Statistics." ASPCA. ASPCA, 2016. Web. 20 Sept. 2016.