Today is World Stray Animals day, a remembrance occasion that should be better-known. It is a time to show compassion and care for homeless animals over the globe.
This occasion named by dog and cat owners from Holland. They decided on this date because it’s half way between two other known and related days in the year. Also, it seemed there was no other special ‘day’ on this date. That is perhaps a surprise, as on most days there is a ‘day’ of something or other!
What is a stray?
Rather than simply being a feral animal, a stray is one that was at one time a pet and has since been abandoned or lost (Animal Welfare League).
Worldwide stray animals
There are a lot of stray animals in the world, including over 200 million homeless dogs (the most domesticated animal). Even in the US (a nation of dog lovers), 3.3 million of them enter homeless shelters every year.
There are even more stray cats throughout the 7 continents – approximately 600 million of them! Of course, there are also stray farm animals such as pigs and turkeys as well.
Why are there stray animals?
In difficult times, people are more likely to give up their pets. An earlier article looked at the organisations people could support who are helping animal shelters in the Ukraine. The reality is, that with each humanitarian crises, pets suffer too. They can become malnourished, and weak, and the lifespan of stray animals is considerably shorter than homed ones.
Sometimes, people give up their pets because they are forced to move, but it can also happen when owners are not in a responsible frame of mind, or haven’t taken on board the needs of the pet before owning.
Animal shelters, voluntary organisations and charities.
In the UK, there are a variety of voluntary and charitable organisations who do brilliant work in finding, and temporary housing dogs and cats who have become strays and who have been abandoned. One example of these is All Dogs Matter – one of our charity partners.
Anyone who decides to adopt a stray is doing a great thing for that animal. If you haven’t but are considering it, should you decide to, you’ll be giving them a new life. Although this can be challenging, due to various pasts of the animals, owners often express how better their own health is, as well as their pets, after adoption. Want to see more benefits? Check out our earlier post 10 Reasons why you should adopt a dog
One way to to ensure that your animal can be more easily located if they go missing is get them microchipped. In fact if you have a dog in the UK, this is compulsory by law. Therefore, microchipping is one of those important first considerations for new owners. A dog from a shelter will already come microchipped, though.
How the Netherlands solved a street dog situation
At the turn of the 20th Century, the Netherlands had a stray dog problem, one started to turn after 1962. This is because the Dutch government passed a law. It stated that a large fine and a three-year jail sentence would be dealt out to anyone who could not provide the necessary care for their pet(s). Today, this problem is greatly reduced. The Netherlands societies for protection of animals and dogs play an important role in maintaining this reduction, and also in advising other nations on how to tackle the stray problem.
There are today many parts of the world could use the Netherland’s advice, so let’s spend a moment today to consider pet homelessness!
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