Homeless pets are a very large problem for large metropolitan areas. Stray dogs and cats tax city animal control services, and in most cases, the animals are put down to expedite savings in holding and feeding them. Cities are not geared to handle the flow of stray homeless animals.
When there are shelters to be had, the animals are turned over, but even local shelters cannot handle the influx of homeless pets. There is a growing alternative that has captured our attention. New No Kill Shelters are being developed around the country to link homeless animals with new pet owners. One of the leading centers in the U.S. is PAWS Chicago. PAWS (Pets Are Worth Saving) has set the bar on no kill shelters. PAWS has been instrumental in bringing the kill rate of animals down in the City of Chicago by more than 50%. The city killed 42,651 animals in 1997, by 2008 PAWS had helped bring that number down to 19,288. PAWS eventually hopes to achieve a no kill scenario in Chicago. Their efforts have garnered media attention from Oprah, who made a contribution to have an animal room named after her recently deceased pet dog. Interestingly, no kill shelters tend to be better established in northern states versus the south. There even is an air taxi service that brings dogs and cats from southern shelters to northern no kill shelters. One air taxi has brought in over 3,000 animals into Long Island, NY alone. No kill shelters make a concerted effort to find homes for abandoned animals. Pet owners that wish to adopt need to go through a screening process prior to adoption. Every animal that is brought into a no kill shelter is neutered prior to an adoption. If you are interested in learning more about the PAWS no kill shelter, or to adopt one of their animals, visit pawschicago.org. Every critter needs a break.