In concert with local animal shelters and welfare organizations, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has embarked on a mission to keep people and their pets together called the “Pets For Life Campaign”. The goals of this campaign are to help pet owners solve pet problems before they feel they have to give up their companion animals and to strengthen the animal-human bond.
To accomplish this, they are focusing on fi ve major areas, the heart of which is to help animal shelters become Community Animal Service Centers, not only a place to bring an animal or adopt one, but a place that empowers citizens to address:
1. Animal Behavior Problems that threaten the animal-human bond.
2. Commitment – unrealistic expectations on the part of the owner is the top reason people relinquish ananimal (NCPPSP, June 1997). That is why the mission of the campaign is to educate people about the realities of pet ownership. For example, dogs require proper training and socialization, cats will scratch furniture if not provided appropriate alternatives, and puppies can grow to become large dogs.
3. Managers and owners of rental properties and condominiums need to be persuaded to put out the welcome mat for pet owning residents and shown that being pet-friendly is good for the landlord’s bottom line.
4. The “Human Health Issue” – Pet owners suffering from allergies, AIDS, cancer, and expectant mothers are often counseled by their doctors to give up their pets. Physicians need to be educated on the incredible health benefi ts pets offer their patients and to counsel their patients about caring for these pets sensibly rather than giving up the animal.
5. The final area is the education of pet owners about the importance of spaying and neutering their animals to prevent indiscriminate breeding. Visit the HSUS website at www.hsus.org and click on pets.