Over 7 million companion animals enter shelters nationwide every year, according to ASPCA. Pet problems such as behavior and health are the most common reasons that owners rehome their pets. Tragically, 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized each year.
National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day (Today, April 30) highlights the importance of adopting pets from shelters and bringing them into loving homes. It also supports the efforts of shelters to keep animals healthy and happy while they await their new owners. This can be done in a number of ways, such as promoting education around neutering and spaying, donating to a charity, or becoming a volunteer.
"Homeless dogs and cats need every day to be Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, because many of them are euthanised simply because not enough people open their hearts and homes to them," PETA's director, Elisa Allen, told Newsweek. "Every time someone looking for an animal companion buys a kitten or a puppy from a breeder or a pet shop, a cat or a dog in an animal shelter loses a chance at filling that slot.
"That's why PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that 'animals are not ours to abuse in any way'—encourages people who can commit to offering an animal family member their time, patience, and care to shun breeders and pet shops and save a life by adopting."
If you're not in a position to adopt an animal just yet, then you can support in other ways.
Many charities rely on the kindness and time of volunteers, and for animal lovers who are not in a position to welcome an animal into their home, this is a great alternative.
Normally volunteers need to be 16 years old and commit to a minimum of eight hours per month for a minimum of six months, according to ASPCA.
You can find volunteering opportunities on the Humane Society website.