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Pet owners need to be more responsible

Staff Report • Apr 2, 2012 at 9:58 AM

Most people know what it means to be a responsible parent, a responsible motorist or a responsible gun owner, but too many of our neighbors don’t take the time to be a responsible pet owner. If you know one of these individuals, it’s time to gently let them know they should mend their ways.

As we’ve said in this space many times before, irresponsible pet owners are to blame for a large number of dogs and cats killed or injured in this country annually.

A number of dogs and cats might be alive today had they not been allowed to roam unsupervised. And many more deaths could have been prevented had pet owners spayed or neutered their animals.

According to the Dog Owners Guide — an online magazine for dog owners found at www.canismajor.com/dog/ — dogs should always be properly confined when they are not on a leash. Doing so means your pet is not making a nuisance of itself in a neighbor’s yard.

It’s also important for pet owners to sterilize their animals so that there are no unwanted litters. Spaying or neutering pets also means dogs and cats wander less and suffer fewer mood changes.

Spaying or neutering household pets is essential for lowering the population of stray and abandoned animals that end up in local shelters. More than 3 million unwanted dogs and cats are euthanized each year.

Pet owners also should have their dogs and cats vaccinated against rabies. This is particularly important as the region has seen an increase in the number of wild animals (raccoons, skunks and bats) reported with rabies. Tennessee law requires that all pets older than 12 weeks be vaccinated against rabies every year.

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