Animal Shelter (copy)

A dog perches on the edge of the wall of his cage at the Guilford County Animal Shelter.

Nearly 56,000 savable pets were killed in North Carolina shelters last year simply because they didn’t have a safe place to call home. Shelters are overcrowded and when they can’t adopt or foster out pets fast enough, they are often burdened by the last resort: ending the lives of pets to make room for incoming animals.

No animal lover who works in a shelter should be put in the situation to have to make that painful decision.

So, what can you do to help end the problem?

Adopt, volunteer, or donate to your local shelter. Give a shelter pet a temporary break in your home when the shelter is full. Ask your shelter what it needs and spread the word on social media. Talk with local government officials and ask them to support programs that will save lives.

More than 70% of the pets dying in North Carolina shelters are cats. For this reason, getting legislation passed or changing local ordinance so shelters can implement and support TNR (trap, neuter and return initiatives) is imperative.

Find out where your county stands on progress toward becoming a no-kill community by visiting this interactive community lifesaving tool,

Makena Yarbrough

Lynchburg, Va.

The writer is Mid-Atlantic regional director for Best Friends Animal Society, which seeks to eliminate the homeless pet problem.

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