While Elko is doing better than the rest of the state in limiting the number of stray animals on the streets, there is still room for pet owners to show more responsibility.
In the Weekend Edition of the Free Press we examined how the Elko Animal Shelter’s Spay and Neuter Clinic, opened in 2010, has affected the stray dog and cat populations. Both the number of animals being euthanized and the number being adopted are on the decline.
In 2011, 593 animals (292 dogs and 301 cats) were euthanized in Elko out of a total animal intake of 2,100. Last year, 433 animals (174 dogs and 259 cats) were euthanized out of a total of 2,047 — a decrease of 7 percent.
Adoptions also have declined. In 2011, 515 dogs and 321 cats were adopted, totaling 836 animals saved. In 2012, there were 719 adoptions — 429 dogs and 290 cats — or a decrease of 14 percent.
Unlike the state as a whole, the City of Elko is now killing fewer animals than it is adopting out.
The city’s shelter isn’t the only factor helping to decrease the number of strays.
A private group, Animal House Shelter & Sanctuary, also helps people gain access to spay and neuter services for their dogs and cats. The group makes the procedures more affordable to pet owners by paying a portion of the bill. On average, the owners only pay $60 for dogs and $20 for cats to be spayed or neutered.
Despite these efforts by the City and Animal House, the problem of strays has not been completely solved.
Feral cats are still seen throughout the town.
Denny’s employees told the Free Press that people drop cats off in the restaurant’s parking lot. We encourage people to take these animals to the shelter rather than letting them fend for themselves.
Cats are self-sufficient, however, being a responsible pet owner doesn’t end when you can no longer take care of the animal. Whether you can’t afford the animal or just don’t have the ability to keep it, you still have the responsibility to take it to someone who may be able to find it a new home.
If you have a cat or dog and don’t intend to breed it, you should have it spayed or neutered. It only takes once for that animal to breed and create more pets that may end up unwanted.
The city can only do so much. Its shelter has only 30 dog kennels and 18 cat kennels. If you have an unwanted litter and they can’t adopt them all out, those animals have to be euthanized.
Elko should be proud to be an example to the rest of the state that we can all do a better job of taking responsibility for the dogs and cats who want only to be our companions.
Members of the Elko Daily Free Press editorial board are Jeffry Mullins and Marianne Kobak McKown.