The recent Best Friends National Conference in Las Vegas confirmed that we’re headed in the right direction. Animal welfare advocates from six nations attended the conference to see how we’re saving the lives of healthy and treatable shelter animals here in America.
We’re on the crest of a 150-year-old wave. The modern era of animal sheltering began in the United States when the ASPCA started operating the municipal sheltering system in New York City in 1894. At that time, Americans kept our animals primarily in our barnyards as working stock.
Following World War II and the rise of suburbia, we Americans began keeping pets in our new backyards. And, in the most recent development, our pets have moved into our bedrooms as part of our families. That’s how much American culture changed over the past century and a half: Animals moved from our barnyards to our backyards and then into our bedrooms. Yet the catch and kill business model of animal shelters barely changed during that time.
We’re in the process of bringing our shelters into the 21st century. We deserve an animal sheltering system that equals our values as Americans.
The Best Friends Conference was filled with vivid examples of the wonderful animals who end up in our animal shelters. They’re there through no fault of their own. Pets end up in shelters due to their family’s job loss, illness, divorce or other personal catastrophe. The pets in our shelters are good American pets. And it’s our patriotic duty to make sure these animals find a new home. After all, it’s our country and these are our pets. Be a good American. Adopt a good American pet from your local animal shelter.
On this Veterans Day, it’s time for all of us to do our patriotic duty.