EDITORIAL: Animal control

Euthanasia reports from June and July at the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society shelter amplify the city’s and county’s growing problems with abandoned, lost and stray dogs and cats.
Despite good efforts by the society and many volunteers, cats and dogs brought to the shelter are not adopted or reclaimed at a rate high enough to make unnecessary the euthanizing of hundreds every month.
During June and July, 1,725 animals were brought to the shelter, and a staggering 1,445 were euthanized.
The shelter cannot afford to indefinitely retain animals, and after a reasonable time, animals not claimed or adopted are humanely put down.
The shelter can neither afford nor can it house such large numbers. Its capacity is 150, and the almost 900 dropped off during June and July stretch its capacity to bursting.
The animals brought to the shelter are a fraction of the abandoned, lost and feral dogs and cats in Lee County.
Many people in unincorporated areas report routinely seeing or finding dogs and cats abandoned by owners who apparently seek roads far removed from regular law enforcement or animal patrols to get rid of unwanted household animals.
Abandoned animals become an immediate problem. In their scavenging for food they often become aggressive toward pets and people who stand between them and food innocently left in outside feeding dishes and bowls.
Animals reproduce, multiplying the feral population.
The feral animals roam not vaccinated, not spayed and not neutered.
Canine and feline diseases multiply unchecked.
The most hostile of feral animals can pose a risk to people as well as domesticated household pets.
People who abandon unwanted animals should consider what happened in Florida with owners of pet snakes, particularly pythons. When the snakes became too big to handle in the confines of houses, many were released into the Everglades. They now number an estimated 150,000, and are at the top of the food chain, higher even than alligators, which they consume. They pose risks to people, especially children, and many animals. Their range is expanding. A recent ABC television report showed a map shaded python green as far north as the Tennessee River in Northeast Mississippi.
Man’s best friends, domestic cats and dogs, quickly become nuisances when not cared for and controlled by human owners.
A time’s coming sooner rather than later for Lee County and Tupelo to further examine animal control practices and facilities.

NEMS Daily Journal