By Cesar Millan
Refugees have been all over the news recently — whether it's Syrian refugees in Europe, or tens of thousands of refugee children from Central America crossing the border into the U.S. via Mexico. These are stories I can relate to, because I once made that journey myself, although at least I wasn’t fleeing a situation where my life was in danger.
Now, while some people want to welcome them and others don’t, I haven’t heard anyone seriously suggesting that we should just shoot these people, especially women and children, because there are too many of them and they don’t have homes. That would be a ridiculous, inhumane, and insane suggestion.
But, for another group of refugees, it’s often the first option, and it needs to stop.
Those refugees are the six hundred million unwanted, homeless, and abandoned dogs all around the world and, in far too many places, rounding them up and killing them is exactly what happens. Even in places like the U.S., where we like to think that we treat animals humanely, we still kill them in shelters, by the tens of thousands every single day.
International Homeless Animals Day is celebrated every third Saturday of August to raise awareness about the pet overpopulation epidemic, but we should do that every day. Every day that we reduce the number of unwanted, homeless animals is a day that we allow more of them to live longer, happier lives. Everything that we do to reduce the number of homeless animals ensures that there will be far fewer unwanted animals in the next generation.
I was very encouraged to learn the other day that, in Los Angeles at least, we have made great strides in reducing the number of dogs killed in shelters every year. According to a story in the LA Daily News, in the fiscal year ending on June 30, animal shelters here had reduced the number of dogs and cats killed by almost 35% over the year previous.
That is a very significant reduction, and it’s also very encouraging. But there’s something else behind it. It isn’t just that shelters have decided to kill fewer animals. They’ve also been taking in fewer unwanted animals — more than eight percent fewer than in the year previous.
Every one of us can help to keep reducing the number of dogs killed in shelters, and here are some steps we can take to do it.
My dream is that, one day, there will be no unwanted animals and every dog will have a loving home with a balanced pack. Raising awareness of the issue is the goal of the Cesar Millan Foundation. Working together, we can achieve that dream.
Stay calm and save lives!
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