Pet overpopulation has become a nationwide problem. The estimated 80 million dogs and cats in this country are about 20 percent more dogs and cats than can possibly be kept as pets. Putting unwanted animals to sleep cost $125 million in 1975. As a result, there have been increased efforts to have pets sterilized to help reduce the number of dogs and cats to a more manageable level.
But overpopulation is only part of our animal control problem. Even if homes could be found for every dog and cat, we would still have animal control problems because of owner irresponsibility. Many owners allow their pets to run free part or all of the time. And it is those free-running animals that create many societal problems such as bite wounds, the spread of disease, and pollution with animal wastes.
Most of us would agree that dogs and cats like unrestricted movement; they benefit from exercise and fresh air. But we are asking- and in many cases forcing- our pets to Jive in a society not designed for them. Our society can no longer tolerate free movement of animals. More people are living in concentrated areas in the United States than ever before. In urban areas, where people live quite close to one another, straying pets have a much greater chance of trespassing on the privacy of others even though they
rarely stray far from their homes.