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Be a responsible owner – sterilize pets

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Social media lit up this week with word of a high number of animals set to be euthanized at the Nash County animal shelter. Sadly, that’s not an unusual event for shelters in the Twin Counties.

As Telegram staff writer Brie Handgraaf reported Thursday, the animal shelter in Nashville is so crowded that animals are euthanized there several times a week. The Rocky Mount shelter fares a little better, but animals there still are euthanized about once a week.

To give those sad facts some perspective, 533 new owners adopted dogs from the Nash County shelter in 2011, but 550 dogs were euthanized, according to records compiled by the N.C. Department of Agriculture. Animal shelter workers returned 231 dogs to their rightful owners.

New owners adopted 790 cats from the Nash County shelter in 2011, but 753 were euthanized.

At the Rocky Mount shelter, 869 dogs were adopted in 2011, and 373 were euthanized. Cats fared terribly – 276 were adopted by new owners, but 1,307 were euthanized.

The story is even sadder in Edgecombe County, where only 48 dogs were adopted in 2011, and 1,090 dogs were euthanized. Only two cats were adopted from the Edgecombe County shelter for the whole year – 909 were euthanized.

The biggest tragedy related to animal euthanasia is how unnecessary it would be – if only pet owners were more responsible. Sterilization is a cheap, foolproof way of stemming the population of unwanted animals.

The Nash County shelter will even reimburse new owners the $50 adoption fee it charges if the owners can provide proof that they’ve had their new friends sterilized.

There’s no good reason for some 5,000 animals to be euthanized in the Twin Counties annually.

Be a responsible owner, and do your part to stop this horrible epidemic.