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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Katarina Rothhorn
Katarina Rothhorn
Features Writer

The first message I ever sent from my Northern Michigan University sanctioned email was to the editor-in-chief of the North Wind asking if there was any way I could join the staff. Classes hadn't even...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Opinion — Its okay to outgrow your college friends
Opinion — It's okay to outgrow your college friends
Megan PoeApril 12, 2024

Animals require responsible ownership

With a few exceptions, I think it’s safe to say that most people like kittens and puppies. They’re cute, fluffy, playful and unconditionally loving, so how could you not?

But what happens when those kittens and puppies grow up to become cats and dogs? Some live out long happy lives with their owners, but for a lot of those animals the future isn’t so rosy. In fact, it’s heartbreaking.

The truth is that America is grossly overpopulated with cats and dogs, and every day they are relinquished by their owners, either to animal shelters or abandoned on the streets. Some face an even worse fate.

The Humane Society of the United States estimates that every year, 3 to 6 million cats and dogs end up in shelters and humane societies. They also estimate that 3 to 4 million of those pets never come out of those shelters alive. That means that millions of otherwise wonderful companion animals that could have had loving families are euthanized.

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Many animals find homes quickly after they arrive at the shelter, but plenty aren’t that lucky. Even with the superb care that most shelters provide, it is easy for illness to quickly spread among animals in close quarters. Upper respiratory infections in cats and kennel cough in dogs are two of the most common, and most visible aliments. More often than not, sick animals are passed over by potential owners, even though they would make excellent pets if given the chance to recover. Black dogs and cats are just as unfortunate. For a number of reasons, they are often the first to be passed over and the last to be adopted, which increases the likelihood that they will be euthanized.

Humane societies do everything they can to ensure that each pet is placed with owners who will provide the care it needs, but pet owners need to do their part too. Both the cause of and solution to the pet overpopulation problem is responsible ownership. Pets rely 100 percent on their owners to provide food and shelter and in turn, they provide unconditional love and companionship. Cats and dogs don’t have the ability to take themselves to the vet to be spayed or neutered; people have to do it for them.

If cats and dogs aren’t spayed or neutered, the consequences are dire . A female cat can produce three litters of up to six kittens a year. Female dogs can produce two litters of up to 10 puppies a year. In just a few short years, unaltered cats and dogs can produce hundreds of offspring.

The current economy has worsened the situation and many people can no longer afford their pets, and even if they love them, may be forced to give them up to shelters. While the shelters do their best, many rely on donations to keep them afloat. When the economy suffers so do non-profit organizations.

Pet ownership is not to be taken lightly, and college students especially need to factor in cost and time into the equation just as much as they factor cute and fluffy. If you aren’t in a position to responsibly care for an animal right now, consider volunteering at the Marquette County Humane Society. You get to enjoy the company of animals, while giving them the attention that they deserve as they are waiting to be adopted — it’s a win-win situation.

Over a year ago I adopted an adorable kitten from the humane society, and now she is a full-grown cat. And although she is sometimes expensive and has the tendency to break things, she is a loving and wonderful animal.

So please, before you consider getting a pet or breeding the one you have, remember those 6 million animals already waiting for homes.

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