Shelter pets defy myths of damage

Shelter animals are not broken or damaged goods. They are wonderful dogs, cats, puppies and kittens who have ended up homeless and in the shelter by no fault of their own.

Your first stop when looking for a new pet should be at an animal shelter. Many animals end up in shelters because their previous family members were unprepared or unwilling to care for the pet.

Some people may be reluctant to adopt their newest family pet for fear they are used, broken, discarded and “damaged goods.” These are just myths.

It is a myth to say that shelter pets are not good pets because their original family got rid of them. The truth is that pets end up in shelters for many reasons, but not this one. Turning a pet over to a shelter is usually done because the pet was purchased or obtained for free by someone who failed to do their homework, taking into consideration all the responsibilities of pet ownership.

This simply means the pet is in the shelter because someone was a bad owner and not because the dog or cat was a bad pet. It also could be the owner passed away and no family members are willing to take the animals. Maybe the pet owners failed to spay or neuter their pet do that so they end up with a litter of puppies or kittens they could not keep or didn’t want. Maybe the pet’s owners were abusive to the animal so the pet was removed from this environment by Animal Services.

Another myth is that animals from abusive homes will never make good pets because they have been mistreated so long. The truth be known: Pets who have been abused are only looking now for someone to love them and give them a good home. Most shelters conduct behavioral and temperament testing to get a good idea of what the pet’s personality is like.

The myth that you never know what you are getting with shelter pets or that all pets at shelters are sick or unhealthy is ridiculous. Really? It is true that the previous medical history and temperament cannot always be tracked down. At Animal Services, our animal care specialists do all they can to make sure every animal adopted out is in the best health possible. Some dogs and cats may have special needs regarding their health; however, most needs are manageable with regular care and attention to check up with a veterinarian.

Adopt your new family member from Manatee County Animal Services today. Don’t forget about our November adoption special. We have falling prices. Adopt any dog or cat for 30 percent off the regular adoption fee. Dogs are $56.00 and cats are $42.00 this month which includes the required license certificate and tag. A microchip is included!

Kris Weiskopf, chief of Manatee County Animal Services, writes this weekly column for the Bradenton Herald.