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Animal abandonment a problem in college

Letter to the Editor

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Every August when we come back to Tuscaloosa from our summer breaks, we are excited to see our friends that we have missed dearly, and we are excited to begin a new semester. As each academic year begins, a growing number of new students are moving to Tuscaloosa to take classes at The Capstone.

This period of intense change often reminds students how much they miss their pets from home, and subsequently leads students to adopt new pets in order to help ease into the transition. As several studies have shown, having a pet in college is in many ways a good idea. Data reveals that students with furry friends tend to perform better academically and live healthier lifestyles. Adopting a pet is also good for the community as it opens up room in the local animal shelters.

Unfortunately, though, there is a dark side to the culture of college students adopting pets, which becomes most apparent around the late spring and early summer months. Although animal abandonment has been and will always be an issue, animal shelters in college towns see a rise in animal abandonment during the warmer months when students go home for the summer break. Frequently, University students choose to leave town without their precious pets.

Many students believe that the pet they have left behind will be picked up and delivered to an animal shelter where someone else can adopt it. Sadly, this is not the reality of the situation. Many shelters nationwide euthanize animals in large numbers simply because they do not have the money, space or resources to care so many animals. Even pets that are “adoptable” are regularly put down in order to free up space for newer arrivals at shelters.

Pets become parts of our family the moment we bring them into our homes, and pets have an unconditional love for their owners. We should not care for them during the nine months that we are at school and then suddenly leave them behind when we can go home. Our pets did not ask to be euthanized, do not deserve to be euthanized and should be protected from euthanasia if at all possible. When we adopt animals, we promise to provide them with love and care for the rest of their lives, and we should do everything within our power to prevent them from being returned to a shelter and euthanized.

It is our hope that through community efforts, students will become more educated on the about what happens when they leave their pets behind. Be a responsible pet parent, and if you realize that you cannot care for your pet anymore, look for non-kill animal rescues rather than releasing your pets on the street or giving them to a kill shelter. With your help, we can put an end to the problem of animal abandonment in our community and help save our beloved pets from euthanasia.

Katie Davis and Katie Gianturco are seniors majoring in communication studies.

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Animal abandonment a problem in college