Overpopulation Lesson Plans - VOL.1 NO.2 2000/1...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
AnimaLessons Teacher Newsletter of The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals T he tremendous affection that Americans have for puppies and kittens helps fuel the acquisition of pets. Various esti- mates put the number of pet dogs at about 56-58 million and the number of pet cats around 63-65 million. Millions of people acquire companion animals each year, and most of these animals and people form long lasting, loving bonds that enhance the lives of people and pets. Unfortunately, far too many pets leave their homes each year, relinquished to animal shelters, given away to friends, relatives, neighbors and strangers, or simply set free as strays. Some of these are pup- pies and kittens that are the result of accidental or unplanned breeding, and others are young adults that were acquired during their “young and cute” stage then discarded as the novelty and attraction waned. A number of these animals will be rehomed with new families where they will live out their lives as valued companions. Others will die of sickness and injury as strays. Still others may end up in animal shelters where they have a chance at new life or where the final kind act they experience may be a gentle hand ending their life. Presently there are no national reporting agencies for animal shelters though projections would put the numbers in the range of 5-8 million dogs and cats entering shelters annually and the number euthanized estimated at 3-6 million. Several factors, both biological and social, combine to cause the reality of homeless pets and the conse- quences they face. As domesticated species, dogs and cats differ from their wild ancestors in several key characteristics. First and foremost, they have been selected to socialize with people. In addition, like other domestic animals, they were bred to have higher reproductive rates. Dogs and cats become sexually mature at an earlier age than their wild counterparts, are able to mate more often and typically have larger litters of young. Cats for example can repro- duce as young as 5-6 months of age, are capable of breeding twice per year and may average 6 young per litter. As a result a single pair of cats can give rise to a population as high as 2,048 in two and half years, assuming litters are equally divided between male and female kit- tens. A pair of African wildcats, the likely ancestor of the domestic cat, would produce a population of about 18 in the same time period given their Pet Population: Behind the Numbers P uppies and kittens are undeniably cute. Their small round bodies and little faces bring smiles to just about everyone. Psychological research suggests that this magnetism is no accident. We are “hard wired” to like babies, both the human and non-human kind. Advertisers take advantage of our attraction to baby animals to sell everything from shoes to computers. Regrettably, this natural appeal has tragic consequences, contributing to the death of millions of dogs and cats each year.
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 04/10/2008 for the course ANSC 215 taught by Professor Lutgen during the Spring '07 term at University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

Page1 / 8

Overpopulation Lesson Plans - VOL.1 NO.2 2000/1...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online