The Adopt don’t Shop philosophy has a minority but vocal support to ban dog breeding and the retail sales of puppies in favor of the pet adoption and rescue model, claiming that shelter animals are dying everyday due to an overpopulation of dogs. Outspoken Orange County Commissioners like Nicole Wilson and Emily Bonilla have been mimicking those sentiments during recent public meetings, making claims that local dogs would be at lower risk of euthanasia and have a better chance of finding a home if pet stores and breeders were banned in the Orange County.
But statistics provided by the Orange County Animal Services shelter shows that this isn’t the case. The yearly summary reports available on the taxpayer run shelter website shows that NO dogs in the shelter were euthanized due to lack of space OR excessive time spent in the shelter for the last 3 years.
The reasons for euthanasia of dogs at the shelter was overwhelmingly done at the request of owners. Just last year, of the 1,267 dogs surrendered to the shelter by their owners, a whopping 46% of the dogs were surrendered specifically for the opportunity to obtain euthanasia services from the County run shelter (585 in 2020, 706 in 2019, and 725 in 2018). In fact, the only other reasons why dogs were euthanized at the shelter was for poor temperament (98 dogs in 2020, 217 in 2019, 252 in 2018) and medical reasons (60 dogs in 2020, 131 in 2019, 169 in 2018).
Dog breeders and retailers are not to blame for any dogs that were euthanized at Orange County Animal Services, but that doesn’t stop animal rights activists from trying to muddy the waters and place blame where none belongs, and convincing local governments that shelter pets would better served if breeders stopped breeding their dogs and selling their puppies.
“We are spending taxpayer’s dollars as of today, this week, last week and the week before to euthanize dogs.”
Commissioner Wilson is lying to her constituents. The vast majority of dogs that are euthanized are not adoptable dogs looking for homes, they are dogs that have homes but are humanely euthanized at the shelter at the request of their owners. Wilson is attempting to blame dog breeders and retailers for a problem that doesn’t exist. Taxpayers are indeed footing the bill to provide euthanasia services for pet owners, but that has nothing to do with dog breeders and the consumers and retailers that support purpose bred dogs.
The Orange County shelter claims a 96% live release rate of adoptable pets in 2020. A number that has been ticking up every single year, not just in Orange County but around the country. Dog adoption rates are rising at a fast rate, and have been for decades, a direct result of better public education of responsible pet ownership and access to low cost spay and neuter services for pet owners.