PAWS Kibbles: One is Too Many

Published 12:19 pm Thursday, March 30, 2017

By Libby Whitaker

Earlier this month, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) released encouraging new data regarding shelter dogs and cats. In 2016, fewer animals were surrendered by owners to pets shelters, and smaller numbers of homeless dogs and cats were brought into shelters. Deaths by euthanasia have gone from 2.7 million in 2011 to 1.5 million (670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats) in 2016.

Maddie hopes that our community will love and adopt dogs like her from PAWS of Hertford County. | Photos by Libby Whitaker

What are the determining factors for the reduction in numbers? Low cost services as offered by PAWS of Hertford County are credited. The reproduction of homeless animals has been curtailed by low cost spay/neuter clinics, and programs that include pet food in food bank distributions and low-cost rabies vaccinations have helped ease the financial burden of pet maintenance for struggling families. These local outreach services have improved the chances of Hertford County’s very own homeless dogs and cats of getting out alive.

Although the factors are relative to 2016’s improved data, the primary reason cited by Dr. Emily Weiss of the ASPCA, is the major culture shift in how our society views our furry companions. Instead of being seen simply as property, dogs and cats are increasingly thought of as members of the family who can think and feel and experience the full spectrum of human emotions.

In addition to pet adoptions benefiting homeless pets, there is a reciprocal effect for only children. Dana Casciotti, PhD, and Diana Zuckerman, PhD, with the National Center for Health Research found that children with no siblings develop greater empathy for others, have a greater self-esteem, and are most socially and physically active because of the familial role played by family pets.

Because one life is too many to lose to overpopulation and death by euthanasia, please let one of our precious shelter dogs or cats become a beloved member of your family. PAWS has healthy animals for adoption because of the care and medication protocol. PAWS animals are up-to-date on current vaccinations and are spayed/neutered prior to adoption. You will not only be saving one life; you will be sparing two. An opening will become available for another homeless pet in hopes of finding a forever home.

Reggie is thankful for PAWS’ advocacy because he is now healthy and happy.

In addition to adopting a beautiful fur baby, please consider becoming a member of PAWS. You can support this vital work by visiting our website and completing a membership form. Depending on your interest, you can join as an Active Member, Friend of PAWS, or Student Member. If you would prefer to take a more active role, volunteering your time would be an extremely important contribution to the day-to-day operations at PAWS.

Complete details about adoptions, the spay/neutering program, becoming a member, or volunteering can be found by contacting PAWS of Hertford County at 252-642-7297 or visiting